Founder of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare has explained why he and other pro-democracy groups did not protest against fuel subsidy removal by President Muhammad Buhari.
Bakare, alongside his Save Nigeria Group had in 2012 kicked against the removal of subsidy by the then president Goodluck Jonathan.
The cleric said they protested because they wanted former President Jonathan to investigate the subsidy regime and recover stolen funds before commencing the discourse on subsidy removal.
The cleric addressed journalists in Lagos on Sunday over the fuel price hike.
Bakare, who was running mate to Buhari in 2011 presidential election in his address, entitled, “The courage to do the right things,” said those who alleged that he kept quiet on the fuel price hike were not sincere.
According to him, the current situation differed significantly from the “corruption-ridden 2012 subsidy crisis” that he condemned then.
He said, “In 2012, we were not against the economic arguments behind fuel subsidy removal. Instead, we wanted the government to investigate the subsidy regime, bring culprits in the maladministration of that regime to book and recover stolen funds before commencing the policy discourse around subsidy removal.
“We have not changed our earlier conviction in spite of a change in government. We have only acknowledged that the new government has persistently demonstrated its anti-corruption stance while seeking policy solutions to the economic crisis, though there have been gaps in policy management.”
“We had expected that, in response to our call earlier in the year, the government would have consulted extensively with stakeholders and embarked upon extensive communication and enlightenment campaigns across the social spectrum, with particular attention to the middle class and the grassroots, on the new price regime prior to its introduction.
“This would have been a better-received sequence than the sudden policy introduction and the after-the-fact approach to informing and enlightening Nigerians.”