No one doubts that there could be a long-term benefits for all
Nigerians from the massive oil price deregulation but the ill-timed
manner by which executive decision was made showed poor management
This leadership blunder has not only resulted in a state of economic
and social confusion but it has equally received tensed response to
split-minded way with which the government reached its decision.
The ineffectiveness behind the fuel subsidy removal order remains clear
as evidenced in the people’s painful reactions.
Certainly, in an economy like Nigeria which is marked by severe
economic gap and class division among the people, the President and his
advisers could have fully prepared the nation, and should have
anticipated the people’s reaction.
A reaction that could have been less hostile if the government had in
the last few weeks and months talked openly about the grave need for
oil subsidy removal.
The President could have made sure that everyone or targeted groups are
informed of the full benefits of the deregulation of oil by carrying
out vigorous campaigns across the country.
Today the President is faced with split opposition both at home and
abroad. An opposition that is further complicated by the President’s
close agents which include ministers and other executives. They who
grossly failed to campaign for public preparation and change in this
They failed for habitual and selfish reasons. And they appear to be in
a state of ineptitude due to fear—a fear caused by the need to avoid
the people, a fear surrounded by insensitivity in regards to the
people’ day-to-day burden and plight.
Instead they are known to travel overseas wastefully and within the
country ride in a convoy of cars to work, residence, market, church,
mosque, and restaurants.
A better approach leading to the removal of the oil subsidy could have
been more helpful if the administration had done what it is doing now
in terms of offers—buying sufficient numbers of mass transit vehicles
duty free, reduction of salaries of political office holders, opening
up employment and other sweet incentives!
The sudden announcement of these compromises has in an ironic way fired
up the already exiting bubbling relationship between the administration
and labor organizations.
It could have been more psychologically healthy for the administration
if before now it had made operational declaration of fully fighting
fraud and corruption, and if it had assured Nigerians of better ways to
enhance their economic safety.
Now this mindless act of not passing out public information on time in
regards to their subsidy plans is being complicated by a reported court
order to stop the strike. But it appears that this tactic came too late
as the bitterness and rage has grown too deep in the people.
Now there could be threat to public peace, to national security and
even to the demonstrators.
No matter how this trouble ends, one great lesson from this lack of
good time management and poor information/sensitization campaign to
policy issues is that the President and his persons will learn to use
less desperate and harsh moves to address Nigerians on realities like
the subsidy removal. This is essential in order to avoid any future
abrupt, hasty and underhanded announcement like the subsidy removal
Let us hope that the proposed people’s mass protests does not result in
a state of harm and evidence a show of injustice from both sides in
order to reduce more trouble, woe and discomfort to the nation.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, is the Secretary-General of the Nigeria
Psychological Association (NPA), Abuja, email@example.com
we are not complaining of oil deregulation, but let the benefit be with an immedite alacrity,