Fiery former general secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), Chief Frank Kokori, has described the current situation of Nigerians in the face of hike in electricity tariff and pump price as helpless.
Kokori, it will be recalled, plagued the regime of the late General Sanni Abacha with industrial unrests over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections, admittedly won by late Chief MKO Abiola.
The Ovu-born labour leader told Tribune Online on Thursday that the only way out of the current situation is for the labour and civil society organisations to take the lead to rescue Nigerians.
Kokori, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, admonished Nigerians to exercise more patience while awaiting the next action of the labour unions.
“People should just have patience and let’s see what the Nigerian Labour Congress will come up with.
“From the way it is now, it seems Nigerians are helpless,” Chief Kokori lamented.
The septuagenarian, however, advised the Federal Government to accede to the request of the masses to ease their sufferings.
Chief Kokori projected that the FG might be heading to N200 per litre of PMS if it eventually came up with full deregulation of the downstream sector.
“Everything depends on the government. The level they are going to now, the price may likely go for N200.
“Normally without resistance, you can’t do anything. Not that resistance can do much,” he enthused, blaming the cabal for the woes befalling the country.
On whether the hike was justifiable the masses having really directedly benefitted nothing from the government during the last COVID-19 lockdown, Chief Kokori said Nigeria was much more a primitive capitalist state, unlike a more welfarist western world.
He called on the FG to continue with the subsidy regime since that appeared as the only largesse the masses enjoy from it, adding that managing the subsidy regime well should be its main concern.
“I’m just against it, it’s too high. Nigeria is not a Western state like Europe. Western Europe is a welfare state, where the government gives you a lot of palliatives to quench down the poverty of the ordinary and jobless people.
“Nigeria is not a welfarist state; Nigeria is a primitive capitalist state. So, the masses are left alone, nobody takes care of them.”
Chief Kokori added that “The government has to. It’s just that they mismanaged everything in Nigeria. When you allow them to subsidize, they mismanage. The whole fault is the government.
“If I’m the president of this country, you can’t mismanage the subsidy I give to the people. A strong government doesn’t allow resources to be pocketed by some billionaires.
“Nigerians need subsidy. You must always subsidize for a Nigerian if not Nigerians cannot survive. But the subsidy should be properly used.”
Continuing, Chief Kokori added that “The subsidy in Nigeria is not properly used. That’s the issue. They say landing price when you don’t have refineries, build refineries.
“How can a country for more than 20 years, you have not built a refinery. The last refinery was built over 30 years ago. The last refineries were built in 1980,1981, what I’m saying 30 years, almost 40 years.
“And they’ve not serviced them. So, we don’t have refineries. You import all your fuel and when you are campaigning, you will be boasting, you will repair all the refineries, you will put them into use, you will do this, you will do that.
“Every government will tell you that, and after everything, they will abandon all the refineries and be importing fuel from abroad.”