Abiodun meets Obasanjo, begs Nigerians to endure pain of subsidy removal

Abiodun meets Obasanjo

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his residence in Abeokuta on Tuesday.

Abiodun, who arrived at the penthouse residence of Obasanjo, located within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), at 11:58 am, went straight into the private meeting with the elder statesman.

One hour after the meeting with Obasanjo, the Ogun State governor was accosted by newsmen who asked him what the meeting was about.

He, however, refused to disclose the subject of his discussion with Obasanjo.

“It is a private meeting. A son does not have to have any particular reason to come and see his father. So, I have come to see our Baba, and it is a private meeting,” Gov Abiodun said.

The governor, however, spoke on fuel subsidy removal, lamenting that Nigeria lost about N4 trillion annually to the subsidy regime and insisting that there was no better time to remove the subsidy than now.

Abiodun assured Nigerians that the government would put the funds saved as a result of oil subsidy removal to better use in revamping the country’s economy.

He said: “We all know that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration started with a bang. On 29th May, he reeled out a few initiatives, one of the most laudable of those initiatives was his decision to remove subsidy on petroleum products.

“As controversial as that initiative has been, no one can deny the fact that it was a very welcome initiative. That was a subsidy that Nigeria could no longer afford; it was a subsidy that was not in the budget beyond June 2023.

“More importantly, it was costing Nigeria about N4 trillion per annum—N4 trillion that Nigeria did not have, that we have had to borrow, that could be better expended to other uses that the common man can feel, so it was a very right decision.

“Of course, it was a decision that also came with a bit of pain, but like they say, there is no gain without some pain.”

He urged Nigerians to endure the hardship of increasing fuel prices, saying the benefits of the subsidy removal outweigh the pain.

The governor said his administration had rolled out a series of palliatives for civil servants, pensioners, and the people of the state to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

Part of the palliatives included the approval of the payment of N10,000 in cash for each public servant and pensioner in the state.

The government also approved the payment of hazard allowances for all health and medical personnel in the State, adding that the implementation of the palliative would take effect from July.

Speaking on the palliatives, Abiodun stated: “What you heard us announce for implementation in Ogun State yesterday (Monday) is part of the initiatives that the Federal Government has designed for implementation at the various state levels.

“What we have just done is to immediately begin that implementation because as soon as the President announced deregulation, we had sat down with members of our labour unions—TUC, NLC, and the JNC—to discuss the different options that will be acceptable for all of us. That allowed us to fast-track our own policies.

“We believe that these initiatives should immediately ameliorate the pains our people are feeling, and I’m sure that you will see that other state governments are doing the same.”

 

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