- Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan said he fully discussed the subsidy removal plans with state governors and all other relevant stakeholders
- The former president said all the state governors and others briefed supported the subsidy removal plan
- The Bayelsa-born politician, however, said he was surprised at the protests that erupted after the announcement of subsidy removal, alleging that Lagos govt and others instigated the protests
Former president Goodluck Jonathan has revisited the controversial issue of subsidy removal that his regime introduced in January 2012.
In My Transition Hours, his new book launched in 2018, the former president accused the opposition state governments of betraying him to instigate and support the protests that erupted after the announcement of the subsidy.
In chapter three of the book, Jonathan explained why his administration decided to remove subsidy.
He said: “Considering the best global practice and the toll subsidy payments were taking on government resources, I felt we had no option other than to completely deregulate.
“It was clear that if government continued to subsidise petroleum products, it would affect economic growth and may even collapse the economy completely. I was of the strong opinion that Nigeria has to devote the bulk of her revenue to capital development.”
The former president also alleged that the subsidy plan which was reportedly discussed at the Executive Council of the Federation meeting had the support of the National Assembly, all the state governors, labour unions, civil society organisations, youth groups, etc.
“We held several meetings with state governors. At one of those meetings, it was agreed that the governors would conduct town hall meetings and media enlightenment campaigns in their various states.
“The state governors needed additional money to boost their receivables from the federation accounts. They wanted subsidy removal to commence immediately. But I objected. They agreed when I explained that end of the year activities including Christmas and New Year celebrations usually bring a lot of financial pressure on Nigerians. I then advised that since there would be no provision for subsidy in the 2012 budget, it would be better to start the complete deregulation from January 2012,” the former president said.
He, however, expressed surprise that all the bodies, including the governors, allegedly turned against his government and started staging protests immediately the announcement of the subsidy was made on January 1, 2012.
“Almost immediately, organised protests erupted in some states including Abuja. The demonstrations began mostly in states controlled by the opposition.
“Even the Nigerian Labour Unions that were exhaustively consulted joined the protests. Also, some sections of Civil Society that were properly briefed which we thought would go along with the idea joined the protests. The then main opposition party had a field day. In fact, security reports I received showed clearly that they instigated the protests,” Jonathan wrote in the book.
The ex-president further specifically claimed that the Lagos state government instigated the protests in the commercial nerve-centre of the country.
He said: “In Lagos state for instance, it was like a carnival. Musicians, comedians, and other celebrities were engaged by opposition elements to join the protests. Refreshments were served to protesters. Every morning Lagos state government workers cleaned up the Gani Fawehinmi Park and prepared it for the day’s protest. It appeared as though the protesters were special guests of the Lagos state government. Similar scenarios played out in other opposition controlled states.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, criticised former President Goodluck’s new book, My Transition Hours, barely a day after its public presentation in Abuja,
Governor Shettima alleged that the former president lied about the issue of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted in 2014.
The Chibok issue was included in the content of the new book.
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