- Attacking Buhari won’t save you from defeat, Atiku mocks Tinubu
- Marketers may sue NNPC over inability to deliver PMS
As the Nigerian presidential election draws nearer and many months since the lingering fuel scarcity, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has alleged that there is a plot by some ‘powers-that-be’ to sabotage his chances at the polls through the fuel scarcity and naira redesign policy.
In a speech reminiscing his famous Emilokan address at Abeokuta, Ogun State, days leading to the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu, again, returned to Abeokuta for his presidential campaign, where he dropped the bombshell that the fuel crisis and the scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes were artificially created to discourage people from voting for the ruling party.
President Muhammadu Buhari is the current Minister of Petroleum and Nigerians have been lamenting the scarcity of fuel that have since seen the price fluctuating between N185 to N600 per litre across the country.
The Abeokuta salvo came a day after President Buhari constituted a 14-member committee to address petrol supply and distribution challenges.
Considering that the candidate’s party is currently in power and runs the affairs of the country, there are concerns about the allegation and indirect affirmation of concerns by Nigerians about the state of the economy. The APC government has struggled to keep the economy running in the last six month, leaving serious issues and debts for the next administration.
Whoever wins the election, has to contend with the issue of subsidy, which is currently draining the purse of the nation, despite being inefficient.
The APC presidential candidate called on the people to remain resolute and resist any attempt by anyone to stop the election from holding.
Tinubu said: “We will use our PVCs to take over the government from them, if they like, let them say there is no fuel, we will trek there. They are full of mischief, they want to create fuel crisis, they have started creating fuel crisis, but forget about it, put your mind at rest, I’m assuring you, I, Asiwaju will end fuel scarcity.”
“Let the price of fuel continue to increase, they are the ones that know where they are hoarding it. They are hoarding naira notes, they are hoarding fuel, we will vote and we will win.”
“If they like, they can change the ink in the naira note, we will shock them, we will win the election; the opposition (the umbrella party) will be defeated.”
“I’m a youth, I’m here for you and you will not be put to shame. We will take over the government from them; they are traitors that want to wrestle the government from us.”
“This is a revolution, this election is a revolution. They are creating artificial fuel scarcity, they are saying they want to increase fuel price to N200, but let your mind be at rest, we will end fuel scarcity, we will end fuel crisis. They don’t want this election to be held, they want to scuttle the election, will you allow them?”
“They think they can create problems; they are sabotaging fuel. Whether there is fuel or not, we will go and vote and we will win. This is a superior revolution and when I tell you, you know what I mean, you know me, we are going to go there and win,” Tinubu said, addressing the crowd partly in Yoruba language.
Tinubu, therefore, charged Nigerians not to allow the fuel scarcity to dampen their spirits against exercising their civic responsibility, particularly at voting for his party to victory in the elections.
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said his APC counterpart has become frustrated by his inability to stop the cashless policy and currency redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that will curb vote buying and enhance the credibility of next month’s election.
Atiku, who spoke through his Special Assistant, Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said: “The Holy Bible says in Proverbs 28: 1 that ‘the wicked runs when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion.’
“Even though the CBN policy affects all 18 political parties, Tinubu is the only one frustrated because his plan to deploy bullion vans and bribe poor voters and security agents on the day of election has failed woefully.”
He recalled that on the eve of the 2019 presidential election, two cash-laden bullion vans were pictured entering Tinubu’s premises located on 26, Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi. “Several petitions were written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but nothing was done.”
“Tinubu, frustrated by President Buhari’s unwillingness to attend some of his insipid rallies, launched an attack against the President who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum. For a man who claimed to have singlehandedly made Buhari president, it is funny that he is now running from pillar to post all in a bid to save what is left of his failed campaign.”
Meanwhile, new facts emerged, yesterday, on the lingering fuel crisis as industry stakeholders allege hoarding of product by marketers, who now hide under the revised directive of the Lagos State government to sell the product only when they desire.
Though the Lagos State government has said it will no longer go ahead with the restriction fixed for major and independent petroleum marketers operating on major roads, many of the retail stations only dispense the product whenever they deem fit, leaving motorists at the mercy of black market operatives.
In some areas in Lagos, including Surulere, Abule-Egba, Isolo, Agege among others, different conditions were given before petrol could be dispensed. While black market operators got preference, motorists were mandated in some stations to buy engine oil from the stations before they could access the retail stations.
Similarly, the nonchalant attitude of the regulatory agency— Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) – in monitoring retail stations and their activities, has also led many stations to sell the product at unregulated prices.
Also, marketers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) yesterday, said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has been unable to supply the product paid for over the past three months.
The marketers said they may resort to legal action as a series of dialogue over the development has yielded no positive action while their businesses remain idle amidst indebtedness to commercial banks.
Under a monopolistic system, where the Federal Government pays fossil fuel subsidies to itself through NNPCL, the state oil firm has been the sole importer of PMS into the country and wholesale supplier to marketers.
With the import arrangement tied to direct sale direct purchase deal between NNPC and oil importers such as Vitol Group and TotalEnergies as well as domestic groups such as Sahara Group Limited and Oando Plc, the inability of Nigeria to pump enough crude to swap for product with the dealers meant that marketers won’t be able to import products directly, nor compete.
The prevailing situation also meant that a new contract signed by NNPC with Sahara, Oando, MRS Oil and Duke Oil, a subsidiary of NNPC to ensure that the contractors wait for about three months before being paid with products has remained a mirage.
President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry said: “We are marketers, we want to sell products but our stations are idle. We have taken loans from the banks, which we need to pay.”
Gillis-Harry said members of the association have paid for products for months but NNPC has been unable to supply the product, adding that the marketers are helpless.
Going by the revelation of the marketers, Nigerians may be in the lingering fuel crisis for a longer time as Gillis-Harry said: “We are not getting product because there is a supply challenge from the source.
“We can only sell what we have been given. NNPC is the only one selling products to marketers. We have paid for over three months.”
He, however, assured that dialogue is being deployed to deal with the situation including a meeting, which was held yesterday, but stated further that the last option could mean taking legal action against the state oil company.
“Worst case, we drag them to court. We have to dialogue first. We owe the banks. Our stations are idle,” he said.