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FG, Obaseki Square Off Over Fuel Subsidy



Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has strongly criticized the federal government’s approach to the removal of subsidies, as the adverse impacts of this decision continue to affect the Nigerian population. During a press conference held in Benin City, Governor Obaseki expressed his deep concerns regarding the lack of a comprehensive and viable strategy for ensuring the nation’s economic stability.

Governor Obaseki’s statements resonated with the growing frustrations among Nigerians who are grappling with the challenging consequences of subsidy removal and the alignment of foreign exchange rates. He voiced his dismay and apprehension over the government’s apparent failure to anticipate the aftermath of subsidy removal, which has resulted in significant hardships, particularly for the most marginalized segments of society.

Regrettably, Governor Obaseki emphasized that the brunt of these policy changes falls heavily on the weakest and most vulnerable members of society. He remarked, without ambiguity, that these policies would disproportionately burden those who are least equipped to bear them.

Furthermore, Governor Obaseki characterized the distribution process of relief measures as tainted by fraudulent practices. He boldly asserted, “The administration seems to lack a coherent plan or effective solutions to address the repercussions arising from the policy measures it has implemented.”

Responding to Governor Obaseki’s pointed critique, Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, stood in defense of the federal government’s actions. Minister Idris pointed out that these actions had garnered broad-based support from various quarters, including Nigerian citizens, state governors, and international institutions.

Idris noted that the removal of these subsidies was not a hasty or ill-considered move but rather a long-overdue step that aimed to rectify the chronic fiscal imbalance engendered by the subsidies.

He said: “Nationally, decisions led by President Tinubu are based on foresight, with the primary aim of engineering a resilient and sustainable economy. This vision is consistently echoed within the National Economic Council, where significant economic decisions are made.

“We want to clearly state that Edo State, alongside other 35 States plus FCT, can access more FAAC revenue, due only to the bold and courageous economic decisions taken by President Bola Tinubu since he assumed office. These decisions have been applauded across the globe because they are the decisions that need to be taken to reposition the national economy for better output”.

The Minister also highlighted the tangible benefits that Edo State, under Obaseki’s leadership, had derived from the subsidy removal, stressing that the state had experienced a substantial increase in financial allocation, which could be channelled towards critical developmental projects.

He urged Governor Obaseki to use these resources to drive impactful initiatives that would uplift the people of Edo State, rather than seek easy diversion from his own political challenges within the Peoples Democratic Party.

Idris who questioned the timing and motive behind such an attack on the federal government’s policies, noted that Governor Obaseki had been conspicuously absent from crucial meetings of the National Economic Council (NEC), where economic decisions were made.

The Minister suggested that Obaseki’s participation in these meetings could provide valuable insights and foster alignment with the collective vision for Nigeria’s economic future.

“The Nigerian Government understands the current difficulties Nigerians are facing and is working very hard with the states and local governments to bring succour to our people.

“President Tinubu is guiding our country through very challenging times. We are supremely confident that we will soon turn the corner into a prosperous future,” Idris said.

“What is required at this time is for leaders at all levels to cooperatively bind together to make life better for Nigerians, not to play cheap politics that serves no better purpose,” Idris said.