LAST week, the wind of nation-wide opposition to an unpopular agenda finally exposed the ugly hind place of Nigeria’s political (economic) fowl, when Nigeria’s Senate named beneficiaries of the much-vaunted fuel subsidies.
Thanks to a surprisingly responsive Nigerian Senate, we now know that between 2006 and this year, Nigeria spent N3.655trillion on subsidising IMPORTATION of fuel, and as Senator Magnus Abe, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream revealed, some of the beneficiaries include construction companies who “have no business importing petroleum products”.
Furthermore, Abe added that the process which brought them on the “subsidy” gravy train was faulty as they did not follow proper guideline.
But who will reject freebies offered on a platter when it is the sweetest way to cream off billions of naira from a prostrate country? It is particularly instructive that the list of beneficiaries looks suspiciously like members of the clan regularly mobilised by the ruling PDP for donations at fund-raising dinners of the party.
Crooks in politics and business
This strengthens Nasir El-Rufai’s recent observation that Nigeria provides a classic expression of “clique democracy”. Nigeria is held in a bear hug by an alliance of crooks in politics and business whose ‘shock therapy’, neo-liberal capitalism has allowed the creaming off of huge resources from the country.
The direct consequence is the deepening of anti-state acts of terrorism and the general insecurity which prevails. So, the politico-economic cabal systematically rapes the country; bandits prowl the highways and households and terror groups explode bombs with citizens caught up in the middle.
Determined to uphold this criminal economic enterprise they refused to build new refineries since 1999. Their preferred solution to the unsustainable ‘subsidy’ regime has engendered a typically ruling class one: Transfer the burden to the Nigerian people so the gravy train can keep rolling! Luckily enough, last week, the House of Representatives again threw out the subsidy removal clause from the Jonathan administration’s expenditure proposals for 2012 to 2014.
That stiffens national resistance to the criminal economic project and sharpens the contradiction between an increasingly incompetent and unpopular government and the people of Nigeria.
The exposure of beneficiaries of subsidies complicates matters for President Jonathan. Now that we know the sacred cows creaming off fuel subsidies, he certainly has a lot coming, attempting to ram his project down the throats of Nigerians!