I just learnt that NLC has called off the strike with petrol now at 97 Naira.
I think we have been “had” again (as usual).
The question to ask is what exactly have we gained from the one-week mass strike action? My belief was that NLC’s mandate was to spearhead/coordinate the movement to force the FG to see reason and return the price to N65? Based on the history of increases in this country (either by decree/announcement or otherwise), it is common knowledge that the FG always announces a much higher figure than it’s (animal!) real intended figure knowing fully well that Nigerians will kick and scream no matter the size of the increase. A parallel can be drawn from the African’s basic trading practice of haggling which Westerners find odd and don’t understand unless they have lived here for a while. A fact that’s exploited by a lot of people to part these visiting Westerners from their hard currency over and above the reasonable costs of the products being sold.
– Who is to say 97 or 100 Naira is not the actual price decided upon by the FG before announcing the 141 Naira increase.
– Who is to say they have not already (with whiz-women and whiz-men such as Sanusi and Okonjo-Iweala in charge – yes, we thought they were clueless – but it seems that’s what they set out to do – scoff at their inability to understand basic Economics) calculated what they stand to make from the 32 naira increase and found it acceptable for their “pains”?
– Also, who is to say that Labour (NLC) has not sold us out as usual with the higher echelons having pocketed sizeable sums for their dramatic performances?
I though the goal was to get the FG to go back to N65 and then start working on all the other issues “we” decided they needed to address before considering any increase in the pump price of petrol. Issues that were necessary for us to have faith in this government’s sincerity and also ensure transparency in future dealings with Nigerians and the operations of bodies such as the Senate, the PPPRA, the FG, the NNPC, etc?
Since we have sold ourselves short (the FG has got away with making very little concessions or the necessity to make any real lasting changes), all we seem to have acheived is making ourselves feel better temporarily by calling our leaders and their cohorts “theives” – and you know what they say about “sticks and stones” and “words”.
Now that we have shouted ourselves hoarse on the streets and accepted defeated before the real prize was won, what have we really achieved? Lots of private citizens have lost lives, properties and income from the strike, while the people in government will just dip in the usual accounts to make up for any “perceived” losses they have made due to masses inconveniencing them my shutting down the country for a week.
Well, we can expect the following people amongst others to revert to the status quo:
– the FG will revert to milking the country’s coffers
– the Senate will feel they have contributed their quota by appearing to oppose the government and siding with the masses and then relax back into their usual practice of haggling over who gets on which committees and taking home their undeserved 200million naira salaries
– the NNPC will continue to get foreign exchange prices by phone and award the licenses as they see fit
– all the people whose name have been mentioned (which is not news anyway) as being the faces behind the Oil companies enjoying the subsidies (who are indeed the cabal members alongside the people in government) will take a small decrease in the obnoxious figures they were making before at the expense of the Nigerian populace (with the active participation of the government at all levels.)
– the state governors will continue to pocket majority of their state allocation while still raising funds by armed robbery tactics such as illegal tolls, raising tenement rates with no real development to show for it – talk about eating your cake and having it too.
The only people to have lost anything in “real terms” is the average Nigerian on the street.
So if we think we have won anything, I am sorry to say, No! The categories of people listed above are the ones having the last laugh. A year down the line, we will be back at N140 (unless the 97 Naira is still able to satisfy their unreasonable cravings for wealth and the BlackMan’s unlimited capacity to squander resources once he is in a position of power) And not to worry, a few of the roads would have been shoddily repaired at overinflated costs, the Power minister or whoever is responsible will announce increased power production figures based on the dissolution of PHCN with no real permanent improvement experienced by the people, and these will be the FG’s performance scorecard to back its request to reduce more of the non-existing subsidy on Oil products.
There may be some talk of fixing the refineries but no increase in output – unless of course the government says there is (which we have no independent means of verifying)
It would make me not sad, but happy if nothing works out as I have described above (which means there is true improvement in the country), but I won’t keep my fingers crossed.