Former Governor Blames Political Interests for 2012 Fuel Subsidy Protests

Former Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi has asserted that the 2012 protests against fuel subsidy removal during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration were driven by political interests. Speaking at a national dialogue event celebrating the 60th birthday of Professor Udenta Udenta, Fayemi suggested that the protests were politically motivated.

Fayemi’s keynote address was attended by notable figures such as former President Jonathan, former Minister of Education Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, and former Minister of Aviation Osita Chidoka.

In January 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan announced the removal of fuel subsidy, causing the pump price of petrol to skyrocket from N65 per litre to N141. This decision ignited nationwide protests, known as ‘Occupy Nigeria,’ in major cities across the country. Following more than a week of demonstrations, the government eventually readjusted the fuel price to N97.

Jonathan faced severe criticism for the fuel price adjustment, particularly from leaders of opposition parties, including the All Progressives Congress (APC) factions at the time, such as the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressives Congress, All Nigeria Peoples Party, and All Progressive Grand Alliance.

Fayemi criticized what he termed the “winners take all” approach to Nigeria’s democracy. He argued that the country’s challenges could only be effectively addressed through proportional representation, where election outcomes are distributed among contestants. He cited Jonathan’s administration as the last period of notable economic development in Nigeria.

Fayemi stated, “Today, I read former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interview in The Cable saying our liberal democracy is not working, and we need to revisit it, and I agree with him. We must move from the political alternatives. I think we are almost on a dead end.”

He continued, “What we need is alternative politics, and my own notion of alternative politics is that you can’t have 35 per cent of the vote and take 100 per cent. It won’t work! We must look at proportional representation so that the party that is said to have won 21 percent of the votes will have 21 percent of the government. Adversary politics bring division and enmity.”

Fayemi proposed a more inclusive approach, suggesting that political parties should collaborate on selecting individuals to lead various programs based on their manifestos, rather than concentrating power in one party.

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