Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Fuel Subsidy Zero Hour: Jonathan Confers With Civil Society Activists; Meeting With Political Party Leaders Fails
President Goodluck Jonathan is tonight at the presidential villa in Abuja holding a contentious meeting with activists from around Nigeria.
The meeting, which was still going on of at the time of filing this report, followed another Mr. Jonathan held with leaders of political parties. That meeting, SaharaReporters gathered, stubbornly refused to endorse Mr. Jonathan's planned removal of fuel subsidies.
Presidency sources said the party leaders insisted that that the Jonathan government should first explain to Nigeria how budget allocations to fuel subsidies were spent.
The only exception to those objections, our sources said, was the APGA chairman, Mr. Victor Umeh, who reportedly stood up and shouted at the top of his voice that Jonathan should ignore growing opposition to the plan to remove subsidies. He told Jonathan he “owns” the country and should do what he likes with fuel subsidies.
Tonight’s meeting with civil society leaders and activists included such prominent figures as Barrister Femi Falana, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Innocent Chukwuma, Festus Okoye, Emma Izeazu, and Ankio Briggs.
The meeting was arranged by Jonathan's Special Adviser on Research and Policy, Mr. Oronto Douglas.
Jonathan has announced he will withdraw the subsidies next month. Nigerians across all ages are vehemently opposed to the idea, especially following last week’s revelation by a Senate committee that trillions of Naira has been swindled through political patronage.