A former special assistant to Chief MKO Abiola, Olu Akerele, has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to back down from his hard stance on the removal of fuel subsidy so as to prevent the disintegration of the country during his tenure.
Mr. Akerele who gave the advice in a press statement in Abuja on Wednesday also called for the sack of the attorney-general of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati.
Mr. Akerele urged the president to reconsider his present position on removal of subsidy in tandem with the National Assembly which has called for the suspension of increase in the pump price of petrol.
He said that it was apparent that the environment was not yet stable for an increase in the cost of petrol, advising Jonathan to revert the pump price to N65 per litre and consult more widely on the way forward.
He noted that it was apparent from their statements that presidential advisers such as Messrs Adoke and Abati were out of tune with reality as they constitute the architects of the president’s current stance, urging him to dispense with their services in the interest of the nation.
Taking a look at the mass rallies across the country against the removal of subsidy, Mr. Akerele said it was an indication of the populace’s disenchantment with the increase.
“Barely eight months ago, the people voted massively for Jonathan to become their president. That the same people have turned against him in less than one year of his presidency shows that there is something awfully wrong with his policy on removal of subsidy,” he noted.
He pointed out that in the history of trade unionism in the country, no agitation has been as effective and successful as the current one, adding that “the president should take the escape route offered by the National Assembly to land softly by reverting petrol price to N65 per litre.”
He advised the president to “cultivate the masses’ trust by eating the humble pie and reverting to the December 31, 2011 pump price,” maintaining that “history will be lenient on him if he applied the break now and pull the country that has offered him so much back from the brink.”
Mr. Akerele said it was apparent that the likes of Adoke and Abati were those “drumming the war tunes for the presidential macabre dance of impunity,” and called for the immediate sack of the duo due to their various unacceptable and unstatesman-like press statements.
“While Adoke has threatened workers on strike with non-payment of salaries, Abati had dismissed as irrelevant the passage of a motion by the House of Representatives calling for the reinstatement of subsidy. If the House which represents every community in the country can be so dismissed by a mere aide, we shudder to ponder the sort of advice he has been availing the president with,” Mr. Akerele added.
He said that “at times like this, members of the Federal Executive Council should exhibit statesman-like attributes in finding solution to the impasse instead of pandering to the ridiculous to fuel the crisis.”
He advised the police and other security agencies to exercise restraint in executing of their duties in controlling the protests.