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ACN to President Jonathan: Listen to the voice of the people



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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on President Goodluck
Jonathan to listen to the voice of the people, as expressed through
the ongoing, widely successful nationwide protests, and revert to the
old petrol price of 65 naira per litre.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the President should by
now have realized that he had been deceived, or allowed himself to be
deceived, by unscrupulous advisers into removing a non-existent
subsidy and inflicting unnecessary pain on Nigerians, hence he should
fire such advisers and retrace his steps.

It said that in spite of the underhand tactics employed by the
government to divide labour, using some renegade union leaders without
followership; and to misinform the public by wasting public funds
through radio, television and newspaper adverts, Nigerians from all
walks of life came out in large numbers to protest against the
obnoxious fuel subsidy removal.

”If the government needed a referendum on this ill-thought-out
policy, it got one in the massive protests by Nigerians against the
subsidy removal. This happened despite the massive frittering away of
scarce resources to sponsor a myriad of shady groups to force
Nigerians to swallow the bitter pill of subsidy removal.

”It it clearer than ever, now, that no good advert can sell a bad
product. The tactics being employed by the government has never worked
and will not work in this case. In fact, it has backfired!” ACN said.

The party commended the House of Representatives for showing that they
are indeed the true representatives of the people, by cutting short
their recess to take a stand on such a burning national issue as fuel
subsidy removal, among others, and asked the Senate to take a cue from
the House.

It also hailed organised labour, civil society organisations,
professional groups as well as ordinary Nigerians for engaging in
peaceful protests across the country, despite provocation by some
security agents in a few states where peaceful, unarmed protesters
were shot dead.

”Nigerians have shown that they can indeed make their case on
whatever issue without resorting to violence. We believe this is an
indication of our growing democratic culture and we hail the citizenry
for this. We must however warn the authorities to reciprocate this by
bringing to justice the trigger-happy cops who shot innocent Nigerians
on Monday.

”We advise organised labour and their civil society partners not to
allow themselves to be railroaded into making a compromise that will
not be in the interest of the people. Perhaps the labour unions did
not know it, but their successful management of the ongoing protests,
so far, has redeemed their image. Many had expressed doubt at their
(labour’s) ability to lead the people against the subsidy removal.
Labour has now dispelled any doubt about their resolve and they should
see this to the end,” ACN said.

The party said the way forward is for the President to jettison the
well-worn but unconvincing argument of subsidizing fuel, work with
organized labour and other stakeholders in removing the corruption and
inefficiency in the downstream petroleum sector, ensure that local
refineries work at installed capacity and build new ones, and put in
place the necessary policy to ensure a successful deregulation (not to
be confused with subsidy removal) of the sector.

”The government must also stop its fruitless propaganda on this issue
of fuel subsidy, stop deceiving Nigerians with meaningless palliatives
and begin what is sure to be a long and tortuous journey to win back
the trust and confidence of the Nigerian people,” it said.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Lagos, Jan. 10th 2012

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