Why Buhari didn’t remove fuel subsidy – Garba Shehu

The erstwhile Senior Special Assistant on Media to former President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has given reasons his administration could not do away with fuel subsidy.


Shehu claimed that only a new administration with goodwill that fills a warehouse could attempt to remove fuel subsidy, insisting that only President Bola Tinubu enjoys such.


In a statement via his verified Twitter handle on Monday, Shehu said Buhari’s administration in its last days could not also have done away with the controversial policy because the All Progressives Congress, APC, had an election to win.


He argued that the party could have been thrown out of office if it had implemented the new Petroleum Industry Act.


Part of the statement reads: “So no, Buhari didn’t remove the petrol subsidy–but in vitally important stages, he removed every other budget-busting, egregious, economic-growth-crushing subsidy along the way.


“So far I have refrained from answering these repeated questions on the removal in Nigeria of subsidies on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and that arising from the dual rates of the Naira in the Central Bank and the parallel market: Why did Buhari “fail” to do these?


“First of all, my thinking is that instead of the former President answering this question, it is the Party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, that is best suited to speak, and failing to do this, we are forced to say what will follow here.


“Secondly, we are mindful of the fact that with a Tinubu/Shettima presidency now in place and for which there is a “New Sheriff in Town, we do not want to distract them from the onerous tasks facing them and the nation. Neither is it our wish to take the spotlight away from them in any way.


“In terms of the timings of the decisions to remove fuel subsidy and unify the currency, the Tinubu/Shettima administration has done overwhelmingly well. Even more importantly, they have been most dexterous in managing the aftermath of the decisions by successfully avoiding any crisis.


“The decision to remove subsidies, as in our case—and we believe in all situations—was not for the President to take all by himself.


“Removing subsidies for the Naira and PMS was cued and put on hold. Look, for example, in the Petroleum Industry Act. The important decision was kept for a better time.


“It could not have come at a time when tensions were high in the country, and no responsible leader would have added fuel to the fire.


“In the view of many—including those in the security circles—only a new administration with a goodwill that fills a warehouse can attempt this, and here now comes the wit and grit of the Tinubu government.


“Finally, we must be politically honest with ourselves. The Buhari administration in its last days could not have gone the whole way because the APC had an election to win. And that would have been the case with any political party that was seeking election for another term with a new principal at its head.


“Poll after poll showed that the party would have been thrown out of office if the decision as envisaged by the new Petroleum Industry Act was made.”