By Felix Ugboja
No one opposed former President Goodluck Jonathan’s fuel subsidy removal and fuel price increase like the current Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. He was a very prominent voice against the policy because of its perceived untold hardship on the masses and the economy.
Most of the reasons advanced by people like El-Rufai in their opposition of the policy then were that appropriate plans had not been put in place to cushion the effect of such decision. Appropriate plans and actions like building or fixing the country’s refineries, eliminating the bottle-neck procedures in the oil sector and an allowance for transparency, among other plausible alternatives.
Jonathan’s administration has come and gone with those problems unsolved. And suffice to say that same problems persist till date; even after a new government has taken over.
So, when the Minister of State for Petroleum in the current Buhari-led Government, Ibe Kachikwu announced the removal of fuel subsidy and the increase in fuel pump price on Wednesday; many where eager to see the reaction of people like El-Rufai who uncompromisingly condemned and protested against the same decision 4 years ago.
But El-Rufai’s response is far from a protest, but that of support and perhaps commendation. El-Rufai has promptly appealed for calm a day after the Federal Government scrapped fuel subsidy and increased the price of petrol from N86.50 to N145 a litre.
Many Nigerians have condemned the price hike and have questioned the sincerity of politicians who opposed the policy in the past but, as members of the present administration, They appear to be in support of the latest decision.
In what appeared to be his first response, through a Kaduna State government statement, Mr. El-Rufai urged calm and praised the orderly response of Kaduna people to the new policy.
“The Kaduna State Government wishes to appeal for calm. It commends the people for the orderly response to the fuel price adjustment by the Federal Government, and requests their continued patience for the supply of petroleum products to improve,” the statement said.
This begs the question; what has changed?