The Presidency on Sunday, said past administrations in the country lacked the courage to remove fuel subsidy, saying President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated right courage to take the decisions that led to hike in fuel price and electricity tariff.
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Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement titled “History will be kinder to President Buhari than his critics are prepared to be.”
Shehu said this in reaction to criticisms that have trailed recent hike in fuel price and electricity tariff.
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He described the reforms that led to the hike in prices as “necessary and overdue.”
Shehu claimed that the Buhari regime has worked hard to meet many expectations within its five years, but that there are still “certain tough decisions” that must be taken to reposition the country.
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“The All Progressives Congress came to power in 2015 defeating an incumbent administration amidst very high expectations from President Muhammadu Buhari ”, the statement read.
“Five years on, the administration has worked hard to meet many expectations, but still, there are certain tough decisions which had to be taken to put back the country on the path of sustainable development.
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“To stop the mismanagement of taxpayer money, eliminate corruption associated with subsidies on petroleum products, power, fertilizer among others, the administration took the decision to implement long-delayed reforms, withdraw and allow the market to determine their prices.
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“Subsidy removal in these sectors had long been foreseen by successive administrations as game changers in search of solutions to move forward with the nation’s development. These are reforms that are necessary and overdue. Blueprint upon blueprint, timeline upon timeline had come and gone but courage to take bold decisions was not there”.
The presidential aide stressed that in the last few days, there have been claims within the online community, sections of the labour movement and the opposition, that Buhari’s actions are ill-timed and ill-advised.
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He said the country is currently fighting multiple challenges along with COVID-19, including low earnings, near-collapse of the oil market, floods, threats of terrorism and banditry.
He insisted that the government must take tough decisions for the benefit of Nigerians.
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“As President, Muhammadu Buhari takes these difficult decisions, both popular and unpopular and as a leader because he is demonstrating the right courage to take such decisions as they become necessary in view of present circumstances.
“History will be kind to President Buhari because in addition to his amazing ability to command votes, he will be remembered as the President who made real contributions to economic and overall national development by eliminating the evils of corruption embedded in subsidies.
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“In any democracy, the most important certificate in governance is acceptance by the people and, with the support of ordinary Nigerians, President Buhari has shown a rare determination to carry out the bold initiatives as these ones driven by nothing other than the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
“In carrying out the reforms, the President needs the support and understanding of all citizens-inclusive of the opposition parties, the labour movement and civil society groups.
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“In these challenging times, the President is pushing development goals not politics and history will judge him in favourable terms rather than his critics in the new media and the opposition,” he added.