I cannot help but laugh out loud when I read the scandalous report that President Goodluck Jonathan has discarded the so called palliatives he employed as an alibi to effect mind bogging increment in the price of petrol by New Year. I cannot help but sneer at what I see as the president's cheeky way of avoiding a foretold prophecy; to the effect that the increment on the price of petrol is not for the purpose of enacting the Eldorado that freely flowed from the mouths of the fawning knights and courtiers and the rabid South South ethnicists that propagated what is seen as a big scam by robbed and duped Nigerians but was a mere free fund for the government and its hirelings to steal. The president and his handmaidens were on yet another heist as they carried out what was seen as a scandalous act of sadism on New Year's Day by hiking the price of petrol by over a hundred per cent in a country ravaged by terrible leadership, endemic poverty, unbridled corruption, death, diseases and want.
I don't know who, perhaps apart from those who indulge in the rape of our country at present, believed that this government that has been slumbering all over in pitiable mediocrity and corruption was up to something when it carried out the price increment. I don't know who actually believed the hurriedly assembled promises of an ensuing paradise being within sight once petrol prices are revved up with a regime that has shown that it is incapable of the simplest of tasks, since its regrettable advent happened. I don't know who believed the kind of recycled mantra that was employed to force down this bogey; better known as fuel subsidy removal, was practically possible in a country that has gone through rough times in the hands of a consistent string of lying, shameless, duplicitous and imbecilic leadership. I don't know any right thinking Nigerian that fell for the horrendous lie that a country that officially rakes in over N16 trillion from crude sales each year is capable of making earth-shaking difference with a contrived rent it pays out to its hirelings, cronies and subalterns. I never believed the hastily assembled lies Jonathan, his horses and men and his ethnic warriors employed to force down what is popularly seen as official extortion of the masses. Majority of Nigerians never believed the free lies told in a desperate effort to carry out that act of mass punishment so I don't know why Jonathan wants to waste his saliva on this predictable volte face.
But we must come to the ruddy fact that in conceiving the idea of inflicting the latest act of fuel price increment, there were no provisions for palliatives. If there were, the government and its hirelings would have unveiled them in the many expensive but futile road shows they made to sell this hemlock to a people wisened over the years by governmental duplicity. So the palliative bogey was a mere fluke. It was a phantom act, forged on the eve of the people's revolt against an unpopular government policy, scripted in a desperate effort to stave off mass resistance to this crude act of extortion-for that is what the so called removal of oil subsidy is all about. It was a farce, a forgery, a baloney! It was a huge joke programmed for mass enfoolment. The real and original idea is that the so called subsidy retrieved from petrol will be stolen the way every other revenue to the Nigerian government has been stolen. The grand ideas and projects the so called subsidy was programmed to finance were a huge lie to force through an umpteenth policy of stealing from the Nigerian poor to enrich the gluttonous cabal that has controlled Nigerian government for a very long time now. So in talking of not enacting any miracle from the subsidy allegedly recovered from the price of petrol, Jonathan was not making any earth shaking recant. He was merely living true to type and confirming the fears of Nigerians all these while that there was neither subsidy nor any effort at prudence by the Nigerian government.
Come to think of it, if the Jonathan was sincere from the onset on using the so called money realizable from this phantom subsidy, why did it take the daring of Nigerians for him to fangle the palliative he has now officially discarded? If Jonathan and company intended to perform miracles with the so called subsidy retrieved from petrol, what did it do with the one retrieved from diesel for over a year now? What of the one retrieved from kerosene which has gone out of the reach of the Nigerian poor for which it serves tremendous energy source?
What was obvious from the mass angst that attended the recent fuel price increment provoked amongst Nigerians and the stiff resistance that attended that sadistic exercise was that the cheated and robbed Nigerian masses have outgrown their rulers and this was the reason no one was convinced by the many desperate antics the regime employed to force an unpopular policy, grown and luxuriated in corruption, down the throats of groaning Nigerians. That the same government was to con a hefty N32 from Nigerians on every liter of petrol consumed, in the name of fuel subsidy was enough for it to give some teeth into the planned New Jerusalem it promised to turn Nigerians into with this latest increment.
Two months later, the story has changed and Jonathan has pleaded that there would be no more palliatives because Nigerians did not lie back and agree for him and his corrupt lackeys that have turned the oil sector to one lush garden of illicit rent collection to rape them to their fullest pleasure by agreeing to the annoying increment he imposed on January 1. He is saying that since Nigerians did not agree to his mad increment, there would be no more palliatives to cushion the contrived effects of the latest increment. Perhaps, Jonathan and his crowd are thinking they are so smart and so dandy before Nigerians, that Nigerians are dunces who can take anything dished to them by their janus-faced leaders. But it may interest them to know that Nigerians did not believe their feckless promises when they were hit by the attractive heat of greed to rev up the prices of petrol. It may interest Jonathan that majority of Nigerians have made up their minds on him and the unseemly, chaotic charade he runs in the name of government and it may interest him to know that they lay no positive expectation on his capacity to navigate the country out of the woods he has careered us deeper into since he came, even if he is given all the money in the world.
With the scandalous putrid emissions from the House of Representatives probe, it could be gleaned that Jonathan and his government created this subsidy bogey as a means of funding the dubious enterprise and greed of his friends and fixers who finance his obnoxious enterprises. It was obvious that he would do anything to protect this carnivorous cabal and their ways. It is obvious that he is very comfortable with the odious stench from the subsidy scandal and will do nothing to fumigate the sordid cove that finances his dirty projects and provides slush funds for such other fonts of corruption as exemplified by the humongous Neighbour2Neighbour and the many South South groups that mutated from his presidency. But Nigerians now know that Jonathan is ready to live with this scandal for as long as the symbiotic chord that binds them lasts. He is ready to sustain them for as long as he reigns and that is why no resignations, no removal will be experienced in the noxious oil industry as would probably be the case with the ear tingling scandals that came out of the House of Representatives probe.
So, let Jonathan save his breadth about what he plans to do with the hefty N32 increment in the price of petrol-the highest ever in the history of the country. Let him keep mute on what he did with the over a hundred per cent increment in the prices of diesel and kerosene. We are not expecting anything from him. If anything, we expect the huge sum realizable from the recent petrol price increment will end the way our foreign reserve went in just few months Jonathan came to power. We know the latest extortion will end up like the unaccounted excess funds from the sale of crude, like the trillions that are yearly budgeted for projects that are never executed and to finance presidential inanities. Jonathan should save his saliva for it is not worth the current travails of Nigerians as official dubiety widens.
Peter Claver Oparah.