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APC would have lost 2023 presidential poll, if Buhari removed subsidy – Ex aide



A former presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, has said that the last administration could not have removed the fuel subsidy in his last days in office, knowing that his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress, had a presidential election ahead to win.

According to Shehu who was President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, explained that they were faced with a delicate situation as “poll after poll showed that the party (APC) would have been thrown out of office if the decision as envisaged by the new Petroleum Industry Act was made.”

Shehu said the strategy was that “with the election now behind us, a capable leader as we now have in place is best positioned to move forward.”

The ex-presidential spokesman made the assertion in a statement on Monday titled: “Why did it take the new Tinubu/Shettima Presidency weeks to remove the petrol subsidy when Buhari didn’t do so for years?”

In the statement posted via his official Twitter handle, @garbashehu, Shehu said Buhari realised that tension was high in the country and he wouldn’t want to add “fuel to the fire”.

Read Also: Paris Summit: Subsidy removal, FX policy essential for survival – Tinubu

He said he had all along refrained from speaking on the issue till now because “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.”

Shehu said, “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.

Read Also: My friend profiting from subsidy scam complained about making too much money -Ex Gov

“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. That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves – and all those who have conveniently forgotten – that the Buhari administration had been on this pathway from the very beginning in 2015. Removing subsidies for the naira and PMS was cued and put on hold. Look for example 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 in 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.”

He expressed confidence that “the new administration will carry the nation and all its constituents into a stable future in the aftermath of these major economic and financial decisions.”


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