Must they kill us with subsidy removal? FEMI ADEOTI COLUMN,.



We are genuinely worried. We are sincerely scared. We’re baffled, pained to the marrow. And beyond measure. Who would not in this unkind clime?
Our apprehension is authentic, honest. Why? These queer elements in power still pretend not to feel our pains. Or see our plights. They are still in doubt of our precarious situation. They insist we have not had enough of bad times.
Calamities ought to be part and parcel of our existence. So? They intensify their dastardly efforts. They keep on inflicting more afflictions on us. Our sufferings jump in leaps and bounds. And still counting countlessly!
They do it with utter recklessness from their comfort zone. Far away from us, we the madding crowd. That’s what we are in their sight. And it got registered in their sordid psyche.
They have highly flawed mind-sets. Their thought process is warped outright. The reason they reason the way they reason.
They believe we’re insane in questioning them, our rulers. They derive maximum pleasure in our misfortunes. The more the merrier and the better for them.
Imagine! A self-professed caring government toying with removal of electricity subsidy? Even at any time. But it did. It amazes and amuses us at the same high speed.
Adebayo Adelabu was their spokesman this time around. A hatchet job needed to be done. The lot landed on his lap. He messed it up with all his strength and ability. Big time!
He was apparently eager to deliver. He hurriedly set out to fly the kite. No other minister would have risked it. He supervises the Ministry of Power for President Bola Tinubu. He’s well cut for the job, so they claim.
Adelabu was furious the way he chose to address us. He invariably talked down on us. He swore: Take it or leave it, removal of electricity subsidy must be.
That jaundiced argument couldn’t have held a drop of water. It filtered away the very manner it came, wasted. Every word he pronounced that Wednesday missed the point:
“What we have made provision for in the 2024 budget for subsidy is N450 billion and we will require N2.9 trillion for subsidy. We must be realistic. Can we afford it?”
That question is misdirected. Adelabu is in the best position to answer it. We’re not in the know. Not even faintly. He then resorted to their usual, ugly template:
“Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic pay much more than Nigeria for electricity. Government cannot to continue funding electricity subsidies.” Really? They will always reach out to what’s convenient and comfortable for them.
Aren’t they tired of this cracked singsong? Are they not ashamed of chorusing it many times over? Must they kill us dead with subsidy removal? Where’s the electricity? This is ridiculous, laughable.
Removing subsidy on electricity is absurd. What we have at hand is “darkness,” not light. He can only remove his subsidy on that darkness. For us to have the light we direly need. Tampering with “subsidy on electricity” is criminal. It amounts to gross incompetence. Because we have never felt we ever had one. Adelabu should go back to his drawing board. That’s if he has any.
This huge laboratory called Nigeria is in an island unto itself. It’s the appropriate place for all kinds of despicable experiments. Where’s the electricity they provide, that they are adamant in removing?
It’s their delusion mixed with illusion. And that’s dangerous. They’re frustrated they couldn’t fix anything yet. So? They gamble and gallop on. In the process, they fumble and stumble all the way.
They rule us on impulse. They are panicky, unsettled and restless. They reign in anxiety and great fear. The reason there is unending disquiet in the land. They don’t even know the next step to take. God help us if they wake up from the wrong side of their bed one day.
What’s in stock for us after removing the subsidy? Excruciating pains, gnashing of teeth, of course! Every caring government subsidies. It’s the norm all over.
Some pick on food. Others opt for energy. Yet some others choose transportation, health or the likes. Here in our clime, the exact reverse is the case. Our government keeps being irresponsible and irresponsive. They take utmost delight in their so-called subsidy removal endlessly.
Great pity! Government is out of touch with our aspirations. It rubbishes our expectations to our face. They refuse to see what we see and elect not to feel what we feel.
They are deeply interested in our wailing, howling, hooting. They want them louder than ever before. But heavens won’t oblige them.
Government jumps from one inclusive decision to the other. It loses focus at will. So also its critical agencies and arms. The Customs and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are in the forefront of this mess. They are classical exemplars. They have lost their bearings.
Within two, three weeks, Customs jacked up import duties 13 times! Which economy does that? It does not make economic sense. This Customs is reckless, unpredictable, unreliable. It makes honest business cumbersome and unattractive. Risk of huge losses is extremely high.
Under CBN’s watch, the naira is experiencing its worst times. It is collapsing by the seconds. Its situation is under critical alarm. And the apex bank feels there’s no need for urgent control. It is perplexed and helpless.
See the hardship these dual agencies are visiting on us all. They are in an unholy agreement: To injure, maim and kill us. These are the terms of the deal. Help, we are in for a tortuous journey.
Our maximum rulers are truly “ruinners.” They refuse to cave in; electricity subsidy must go. They can’t understand our pains, cries. The widespread angst in the land jolts them. They’re stunned. What the heck?
We make bold to say. These are mere sweet arguments as always for removal of whatever subsidy. But we can see between the awful lines. We can equally read their unstable lips. We can’t be swayed
We know where this is coming from. Adelabu is playing to the gallery. He allowed himself to be used. His latter-day logic is absurd. It’s in tandem with the International Monetary Fund’s killer pill. We’re not shocked. It’s what IMF knows how to do best.
It’s good government is not seriously listening yet. It is reluctant, dragging its fragile feet. The reason Adelabu should not push further. He should just stop at that.
Governors’ intervention is critical at this juncture. They should evaluate the new Electricity Law. President Bola Tinubu has accented to it. Its provisions may knock off darkness and all sorts of subsidy.
Those provisions may set us free, if faithfully implemented. State governments have the Herculean task to make that law happen. It must work effectively and efficiently. It must be impactful.
Two of the provisions stand out: “Empowerment of states, companies and individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.
“States can regulate their electricity markets by issuing licences to private investors who can operate mini-grids and power plants within the state.”
The law is the way to go. It provides a viable window. No resetting is better than this. It can boost, nurture restructuring to maturity. And in no distance future.
State governments and investors should grab it, run speedily with it. It’s the one strong choice we have. Let’s make it viable and doable. It’s what we direly need. Not deceit of the past.
Now, our collective resolve. Stop this incessant threat of subsidy removal. We won’t be perturbed, cowed or cajoled. We cannot be broken either. We are resolute.
Damn it! Remove whatever subsidy. And on whatever item you deem fit. We dare you. We care less. Our mind is made. We’re hardened. You can as well attempt removing subsidy on the air.
We will still breathe the breath of life freely. Even more than ever before. It is God-given. We can promise you that. We swear: It is beyond your crudest and cruelest imagination.
Let there be light! And there will be…

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