The African Action Congress disagrees with Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi’s position on economic privatisation.
In a statement released by the AAC’s National Publicity Secretary on Tuesday, Adeyeye Olorunfemi claimed that Obi would privatise the top echelons of the economy, declaring that this was against the beliefs of the Labour Party and the Nigerian Labour Congress and pleading with organised labour to oppose such a stance.
In his Friday appearance on the Cable News Network, Obi discussed his plans for the economy and securing the country if he were to win the 2023 presidential election.
When asked in the interview what he would do to resolve the issue in the Nigerian oil industry, Obi responded that there was “no reason why we should not encourage the private sector to build refineries and operate them.”
It’s not rocket science, according to Obi, who said it could be completed as quickly as feasible.
“It can be done as quickly as possible. You can use today to decide to remove fuel subsidy and use the resources to develop a critical area of production, from critical infrastructure to education to supporting investment in a refinery,” he said.
In reaction, the AAC scribe said, “It is more than clear to all now where Mr Obi and the new Labour Party stand on the removal of fuel subsidies and the privatisation of the commanding heights of the economy. Live on CNN, Obi stated clearly that all subsidies should be removed and the private sector should start refining fuel.
“This contradicts the NLC Charter of Demands and the Congress position since the January uprising against fuel subsidy removal in 2012.”
The AAC said the organised labour should withdraw support for Obi based on principles, stressing that “the NLC and TUC must note that millions of Nigerians rose against the Goodluck Jonathan regime over fuel subsidy removal, with the fear of the hike in petrol and cost of living. As of today, the subsidy removal protests have been justified.
“With the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) government’s off-and-on removal of subsidies and payment of fake subsidies, petrol price has risen ridiculously to N250 today. Gasoline is N800, while Kerosene and diesel sell for the same N800. Airlines are beginning to pack their loads as the business is being stiffened as aviation fuel now costs about N1000 per litre.”
“We call on President Ayuba Wabba and Festus Osifo to withdraw their support for Obi as he is driving the Labour Party away from its pro-worker’s ideas,” Adeyeye added.
In the alternative, Adeyeye said, “the AAC believes that the answer to the subsidy issue is to make all the refineries work, while three more are built within three years. Our party believes that Nigeria has to refine locally and put the management system into the hands of workers themselves, not multi-nationals or the so-called expatriates.
“This will naturally stop the waste in fuel subsidies while not allowing selling or any commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and other collective assets.
“Petrol price will automatically reduce drastically as we refine and export locally, instead of exporting crude oil with over 200 minerals while getting only fuel imported.
“Omoyele Sowore’s presidency will also stop, immediately, the flaring of gas. It will clean up Ogoni and other polluted waters in the Niger Delta and review the Petroleum Industrial Act, which is gearing to take away the ownership of crude oil from Nigerians generally to only a few individuals.”