Senator Bukola Saraki Urges Federal Government To Remove Subsidy On Petroleum Products To Save Nigerians From Hardship
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
A top contender in the race to the Senate Presidency, Senator Bukola Saraki yesterday urged the Federal Government to take the bull by the horn by completely removing the fuel subsidy, and restore normalcy to the sector.
Saraki, who described the oil subsidy as a huge racket, added that the marketers and the government officials use it to rip off the national treasury.
While fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on his current Senate presidential ambition and other critical national issues, Saraki maintained that he has the capacity, competence and the will power to drive the Eighth Senate to reposition the country towards rapid socio-economic development.
He advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) senators-elect to focus on competence, capacity and merit in their choice of the next Senate President and other principal officers rather than on sentiments.
Saraki argued that it would be better to remove the fuel subsidy and deliver the sector and the citizenry from the grip of racketeers in the industry, who would never allow things to work well because of their personal aggrandisement.
He stated that subsidy in itself is never a problem to the country, but the bad management of the subsidy, which he said has been turned into a huge racket created the lingering crisis in the oil sector.
On his political ambition to become the next Senate President, Saraki revealed that he has observed with dismay that Nigerians were not receiving the needed services from their elected representatives in the last many years of democratic governance in the country because leaders usually emerged through ethnic, religious and sectional sentiments rather than on the basis of qualification and competence.
He noted that the electorate had been complaining that they were not feeling the impact of the National Assembly because many things were not done right.
He stressed further that Nigerians should de-emphasise sentiments and go for those who could deliver the desired dividends of democracy to the people.
The former Governor of Kwara State also noted that the APC won the last general elections because the people were tired of the old retrogressive way of doing things and resolved to vote for change, in order to usher in new and better ways of running public affairs to yield the desired result.
“We need to review the way we have been doing things and start doing things right. I will ensure that the Senate makes impact on the lives of the people. The people are not feeling the impact of the Parliament and they are asking what their elected representatives are doing there.
“I will provide quality direction on how to run the affairs of the country. We have to give Nigerians value for their money. The Senate must have a national agenda that will effectively address the multifarious problems confronting this country at the moment.
“Nigerians voted for APC for change so that things can be done differently. We need to allow internal democracy to take place in electing the leadership of the next Assembly so that people can elect their choice candidates without interference. Let us not base choice of leadership on sentiment. The PDP lost because Nigerians were tired of the failure in the system,” he added.
On whether the high turnover of legislators will affect the performance of the next Senate, Saraki, who allayed the fears, observed that the situation would not affect their performance because many of them had acquired experience from other areas where they previously served the country, if the newly elected senators would demonstrate political will and commitment.
“If there is political will and interest, the high turnover of Senators will not affect the 8th Senate because many of the new senators have acquired experience in other areas where they served Nigeria,” he noted.