Weekend Ginger: Nigeria, President Jonathan and sliding petroleum prices

President Jonathan Goodluck

Gasoline prices further crashed in the United States this week, as it on the average,  sold for $2.47 per gallon, even as the Naira got weaker, and on the average, exchanged for N190 per Dollar.


It was the first time gasoline has been under $2.50 since 2009; and by January, according to Keith Kohl, Editor of Energy and Capital, it is expected to be as low as $2.25 for a gallon of regular. Similarly, it was also the first time that Naira would exchange this low, just as it could further slide southward, to N200 per Dollar, by January!

Speaker, Tambuwal
Speaker, Tambuwal

In the ancient Yoruba history, some men were described as the “Abobaku”, meaning those who must die, with the King. In so far as the King reigns, the Abobaku can enjoy. The day the King dies, the Abobaku would be killed. It is his lot! Nigerian successive governments elevated the crude petroleum to the status of Kings; and inadvertently relegated the people to the humbled hopeless ranks of “Abobakus”. 

Capt Labinjo Dada, NISA Secretary General
Capt Labinjo Dada, NISA President

Or, how come the fate of about 96 percent of over 170 millions of Nigerians have suddenly become not just attached, but seemingly, totally dependent on the continuing demands for it?! No thanks for warped minded planners and managers, who were comfortable, planning the economy on a monolithic consideration: crude petroleum!

A Public Relations Officer with the Bahrain Maritime Authority, (something akin to our own NIMASA) was asked, how come their country ran a taxation regime which provided foreign investors easy access to land, coupled with about two years tax moratorium status at inception.

The guy said they knew one day, that the demand for crude petroleum would crash in price; and so wanted to entrench a sufficient industries-based economy, before the doomsday. Now, that is foresight! No wonder their money is three times, stronger than a Dollar.

Nigeria exported its crude Free on Board (FOB) and yet imported her cargoes, wet, general or bulk, on a Cost Insurance Freight (CIF). It is worse than crass ignorance. It is far worse than myopic recklessness. It is a curse!

It robs the country of any value-added services. It denied the youths of the desired employment opportunities, either in the shipping sector or through its supportive ancillary factors.

This was definitely, not Goodluck Jonathan’s making. It was a system a powerful cabal initiated. It was a system each head had freely and “parasitically” nurtured and passed on. It was a system that Jonathan had inherited and retained!

If Naira at 165 to a Dollar was hard luck; what would be the fate of Naira at 200 to a Dollar, to a gargantuan population which imports virtually everything, from pins to palm oil!

Perhaps, for Government, there may be no better time than now, to employ more people who would educate her people presently. The Government needs urgently, those who would come down to the battered level of the populace, to enlighten us, on several things,   particularly, the issue of subsidy!

It must tell the people how it has “judiciously” expended the kerosene subsidy, while the masses mournfully bought it, at purely market rates.
It must educate the people, on why the authorities have commissioned several mega KVAs and yet, most of those who enjoy electricity supply merely have it mostly in the nights, as if it was meant to only fuel procreation!

And beyond these, the Government must educate the people, as to new efforts being pursued, to protect the masses who neither benefited from her subsidy nor any truly, free health treatment, from the adverse effects of the continuing, southward slide in petroleum prices; apart from porous assurances of increasing taxation of those with private jets!

The Government, nay the President must understand that some of the masses, despite the odds, still loves him. And should this remaining dwindling group gets hungrier, they too may become despondent too and stop praying for him. Or, is that not what the social contract theory teaches: that the leader must continue to enjoy the absolute loyalty of his people, in so far as he protectively, leads them well?

But those who must assist the President to do this job must be first cautioned, to do it with grace and candour; not the present set, who have in their belligerence, seemingly done more harms than good to Mr. President. They are gradually, but consistently ruining President Jonathan’s chances for 2015.

The President, must also take decisive measures, to pump funds into the education sector, particularly at the tertiary levels. A situation where the public institutions are perceived  as deliberately sabotaged, so as to enable the private universities prosper is not in the best interest of his Second Coming!.

Finally, a President who as a boy could not afford any shoes to wear, must fully appreciate the fact that soon enough, if the Government fails to protect the masses, they would become poor. ; thereby compounding the problems of the original poor class who had hitherto, depended on slightly, less poor. 

The “poors” cannot sleep, if they are hungry. The rich, even if they have acquired bullet proof helicopters may also not be able to sleep, if the “poors” are permanently awake.

There is however another alternative which Mr. President may consider as an option: refuse to invest a little in education and enlightenment and spend times 3 of it, on security and Boko Harams!