In a keynote address delivered at a national dialogue celebrating the 60th birthday of Professor Udenta Udenta, former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, asserted that the protests that erupted following the removal of fuel subsidy during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2012 were primarily fueled by political interests.

The event, attended by notable figures such as President Goodluck Jonathan, former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, provided a platform for Fayemi to express his perspective on the historic fuel subsidy removal announcement made on January 1, 2012.

President Jonathan had announced the removal of fuel subsidy, leading to an adjustment in the pump price of petrol from N65 per litre to N141. This decision ignited widespread protests, collectively known as ‘Occupy Nigeria,’ which took place in major cities across the country. Eventually, after more than a week of protests, the price was readjusted to N97.

Fayemi further pointed out that the backlash against President Jonathan’s decision, particularly from leaders of the All Progressives Congress and other opposition parties, was largely driven by political motives. He criticized what he termed the “winners take all” approach in Nigeria’s democracy and emphasized the need for proportional representation to address the nation’s challenges effectively.

The former governor opined that Nigeria last witnessed significant economic development during President Jonathan’s administration. He urged a shift away from adversarial politics and towards a system where parties share government roles based on their electoral performance.

Fayemi stated, “What we need is alternative politics, and my own notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 percent of the vote and take 100 percent. It won’t work! We must look at proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 percent of the votes will have 21 percent of the government.”

He called for transparency in governance by putting the manifestos of political parties on the table and selecting individuals to lead programs from various parties, thus involving everyone as crucial stakeholders in the nation’s progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *