The Need For
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.