Posts Tagged ‘ federal Government ’

Occupy Nigeria on the International Scene

During the whole occupy Nigeria protest period, how many of us actually expected #occupyNigeria to trend worldwide, a large sum of us. Did it happen? No. For a couple of days, it wasn’t even trending in Lagos. Irrelevant you might think. We all went to CNN’s page to fill the i-Report thing, hoping that by bringing the information to the dinner table of the international audience, we would have some aces in our deck. Did CNN show it? Was it on their front page? No. They did not cover the protest; rather they concentrated on the bombings happening in some areas of the country. They didn’t take notice, until…..

The naked untrained eye might not read too much to this, but do you think it is pure coincidence that the government actually didn’t take the protest seriously until PENGASSAN decided to join the strike? Nah, I think not. And I kid you not, that singular act has brought international eyes on us. International = America.

Nigeria supplies America an ample amount of crude oil, the stocks of these American companies hinge on oil field activities in Nigeria. It’s a case of our leaders’ insensitivity to its people, but eye wide attention to the foreign audience. America never intervened and never said anything about it, until people threatened to sell their shares in their oil companies and fuel prices started increasing marginally, knowing that with the impending shutdown of the oil fields, the companies will lose money. Even their government had to reassure the people that they would look into Nigeria’s matter and urged them not to sell their shares (maybe our government could learn something about communication from them). Our government quickly asks for NLC to come and negotiate (I hate that word in this context) so that there could be a resolution earlier than later and the next thing is, CNN put the protest news at the home page of their website. Finally, we got what we needed, the attention.

Do we know the import of these series of events? Definitely or maybe. What the occupy Nigeria movement has been about is not only the fuel subsidy issue, it’s about wastage, corruption and some comical rounds of spending (white dinosaur budget). What do we need to achieve our aim of good governance, get the government to listen to us while we have their attention. Right now, we hold the aces; we have to make demands about what kind of government we want. If Labour should agree a deal with the FEC tomorrow that does not address corruption and wastages, we are back to square one as it were. If the strike goes on by Monday, we have all the right moves in all the right places. What we need is not fuel only subsidy reinstatement, at the very least; we need our refineries working, we need electricity, we need corruption thrown away and past corrupt office holders prosecuted, we want to be able to trust the government again, we need transparency, we want their excessive spending to be slashed and we certainly deserve a better Nigeria.

Airing an unpopular view here, subsidizing isn’t healthy for the economy whatsoever, but before the removal is done if the refineries are fixed and new ones are built. That way, removal of subsidy would make premium sense and the people will enjoy it. But that policy won’t cut it when 80% of the population depend on this particular commodity daily. Knowing that the oil in Nigeria has a shelf life (estimated 5o years), we need to thread on the egg shells carefully. The average man on the street do not want to know economics, he needs fuel. If all necessary things are put in place, I would personally demand we stop importing fuel.

Kathleen Ndongmo shared on twitter that we need to articulate our demands. We really need to do that (nigeriansdemand@gmail.com I believe). What I believe is, right now, the government will listen to us because they cannot afford the oil field to be shut down, it doesn’t come back on at the pull of a switch, lots of money would be lost and their credibility would be called into question, but it would be known in this country and beyond that the people cut of its profitability to fight corruption. Our dignity restored.

America do not want their company shares to sink, neither can they afford any increase in the price of gasoline. We do not want our country to drown in corruption; we have a chance to hold out for a greater future provided the oil fields get shut down. I do not in any means want my country to lose money, but if that is the only way to get their attention, then we will maximise it. We now have all the right friends in all the right places.

God Bless Nigeria and God bless our leaders (I really mean that)

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