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2012 subsidy protest against Jonathan was political – Fayemi


2012 subsidy protest against Jonathan was political - Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the former Governor of Ekiti State, has characterized the protests that erupted in response to the removal of fuel subsidy during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2012 as mere political tactics.

Fayemi made this assertion on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at a national dialogue held to commemorate the 60th birthday of Professor Udenta Udenta, the founding National Secretary of Alliance for Democracy and Fellow at the Abuja School of Social and Political Thought. 

The event, which took place in Abuja, was attended by former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Aviation Osita Chidoka, and other dignitaries.

In January 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the removal of fuel subsidy, resulting in an adjustment of the petrol pump price from N65 per litre to N141. 

This decision triggered widespread protests in major cities nationwide, known as ‘Occupy Nigeria.’  After more than a week of demonstrations, the price was eventually reduced to N97 and further decreased to N87 in 2015.

Critics, especially leaders of the All Progressives Congress and opposition parties like the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Congress, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and All Progressive Grand Alliance, vehemently opposed the fuel price adjustment and protested against it.

Fayemi, while condemning Nigeria’s ‘winner-takes-all’ style of democracy, argued that the country’s challenges could only be effectively addressed by adopting proportional representation, where election benefits are shared among contestants. 

He also highlighted that Nigeria’s last significant economic development period occurred during President Jonathan’s administration.

He stated: “Today, I read former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview in the cable saying our liberal democracy is not working and we need to revisit it”

“And I agree with him; we must move from political alternative. I think we are almost on a dead end of that. What we need is alternative politics, and my notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 per cent of the vote and take 100 per cent.”

“It won’t work. We must look at proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 per cent of the vote will have 21 per cent of government. Adversarial politics bring division and enmity.”

Fayemi also emphasized the importance of involving all political parties in policy decisions by encouraging a collaborative approach, stating,

“All political parties in the country agreed, and they even put in their manifesto that subsidy must be removed. We all said subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time in 2012 we knew the truth, sir, but it is all politics.” 

“That is why we must ensure that everybody is a crucial stakeholder by stopping all these. Let the manifestos of PDP, APC, Labour Party be put on the table, and select all those who will pilot the program from all parties.”


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