The Need For National Revolt


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The Need For National Revolt



Gani Fawehinmi



September 8, 2005


The latest increase in petroleum product prices in Nigeria is the most ungodly and criminally insulting act of the Federal Government against the Nigerian people. And there is need for a response. Nigerians must revolt against it.

General Olusegun Obasanjo gloated over the debt relief of $18,000,000,000.00 (Eighteen billion US Dollars). General Obasanjo has been beaming with smiles from ear to ear since the price of crude oil has been skyrocketing at the international market and Nigeria has been collecting unprecedentedly high revenues from the sale of our crude oil. As at Sunday, August 28, 2005, it was $68 per barrel of crude oil as against $20 per barrel of crude oil in January, 2002 that is, more than 100 per cent increase. Everyday the Federal Government makes at least $100,000,000 (One hundred million US Dollars) from the sales of crude oil abroad. Our foreign reserve has been bulging. The Federal Government is astronomically rich.

Why should Nigerians be made to suffer for the buoyancy of our economy through increased revenue to the Government? Afterall, 2005 budget was predicated on $30 per barrel but today it is $68 (Sixty-Eight Dollars) per barrel of crude oil that is, more than 100 per cent increase.

The Nigerian situation is very odd. Take the analogy of a tenant who owed the landlord three years rent. Suddenly the tenant's salary was increased by his employer from N10, 000.00 (Ten thousand naira) per month to N50,000 (Fifty thousand naira) per month. In addition, the landlord forgave him the debt of three years rent. The tenant was so overjoyed that he called his wife and his two children and told them that he would now reduce the food allowance of the family by 50 per cent. Is that not madness?

Something must be done to this Government before it scuttles our hard-earned democracy. The only feasible action is to sack Obasanjo's government by mass protests - preparatory to the invocation of Section 143 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 by the National Assembly for the removal of President Olusegun Obasanjo from office.

General Olusegun Obasanjo is a stubborn brute who is totally opposed to Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which provides: "The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government". By this latest increase in petroleum product prices, General Olusegun Obasanjo has defied and defiled the Constitution he swore to defend, observe and uphold. If we do not react by mass revolt against General Olusegun Obasanjo's latest move, we would lose our moral authority to oppose his next gamble: third term bid as a monstrous dictator.

Finally, I consider it insensately unpatriotic for General Olusegun Obasanjo to make Nigerians bleed with groaning pain while the oil companies including the marketers rip us off only for them to unconstitutionally and illegally compensate President Olusegun Obasanjo as they did when they gave him billions of Naira for his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library; a private project at Abeokuta on Saturday, May 14, 2005 - an event which violated the Code of Conduct for Public Officers in Items I and 6 (1)(2), Part 1of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and breached Section 46 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act as well as Section 8(1), 9(1), 10, 17 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. 31, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Fawehinmi is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.



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