President Goodluck Jonathan says he will definitely raise gas prices again, but will “discuss” with the public the easiest way to do it.
On New Year’s Day 2012, Jonathan greeted Nigerians with the shock of new oil prices as he attempted to scrap so-called oil subsidies, leading to widespread strikes and protests that almost toppled his government. He solved the problem at that time by partially revoking the effort.
He raised the price to 97 Naira a liter, up from 65 Naira. Speaking at a press conference in Lagos today, Mr. Jonathan said, “We cannot continue to waste resources meant for a greater number of Nigerians to subsidize the affluent middle class, who are the main beneficiaries.”
He did not make any reference to the mammoth corruption and manipulation in the oil sector, and has kept in place Petroleum Minister Diezani Allison-Madueke, who has been serially accused of corruption and self-enrichment, as well as other officials. Mr. Jonathan has also failed to implement the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force which last year made important recommendations on how to correct problems in the sector, just as he has throughout his presidency failed to implement various anti-corruption and good governance reports.
Critics denounce him as weak and indolent, and say he has done more than any of his predecessors in office to boost corruption in the country. Last week, he granted state pardon to Dipreye Alamieyesegha, his predecessor as governor of Bayelsa State who was convicted for corruption.
Alamieyesegha is also wanted in the United Kingdom to answer money-laundering charges. Meanwhile, members of Occupy Nigeria have told Sahara Reporters they will be ready for Mr. Jonathan if he gives them the opportunity to again unite Nigerians in street demonstrations. “We promise never again to be deceived or derailed by organized labor or any pro-government group which may want to sell out,” one organizer said. “So if Jonathan is ready, we encourage him to bring it on.”