Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State, claimed on Tuesday that political interests were to blame for the demonstration that followed the elimination of fuel subsidies in 2012 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
Fayemi made this statement in his keynote speech at a national forum held in Abuja to honour Professor Udenta Udenta, the founding National Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy and Fellow of the Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, who turned 60 years old.
The programme was attended by Jonathan, former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili; former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, among others.
Reports has it that on January 1, 2012, President Goodluck announced the removal of fuel subsidy and adjusted the pump price of petrol from N65 per litre to N141.
The decision sparked mass protests, tagged ‘Occupy Nigeria’ across major cities of the country.
The price was later re-adjusted to N97, after more than a week of protests.
Petrol price was later reduced to N87 in 2015.
Jonathan faced serious backlash for the fuel price adjustment, especially from leaders of the All Progressives Congress, who were then in different opposition parties, including the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressives Congress, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and All Progressive Grand Alliance.
While condemning what he described as the “winners take all” style of Nigeria’s democracy, Fayemi said the challenges facing the nation today cannot be solved unless the country embraced proportional representation, where the spoils of elections are shared between contestants.
According to him, the last time Nigeria experienced economic development was during Jonathan’s administration
Fayemi said, “Today, I read former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview in The Cable saying our liberal democracy is not working and we need to revisit it, and I agree with him. We must move from the political alternatives. I think we are almost on a dead end of that.
“What we need is alternative politics and my own notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 per cent of the vote and take 100 per cent. It won’t work! We must look at proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 per cent of the votes will have 21 per cent of the government. Adversary politics bring division and enmity.
“All political parties in the country agreed and they even put in their manifesto that subsidy must be removed. We all said subsidy must be removed. But we in ACN at the time, in 2012, we know the truth Sir, but it is all politics.
“That is why we must ensure that everybody is a crucial stakeholder by stopping all these. Let the manifesto of PDP, APC and Labour Party, be put on the table and select all those who will pilot the programme from all parties.”