Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has called for the improvement in infrastructure in the country to reduce the suffering of Nigerians even when it is totally avoidable. Obi was speaking to journalists in Lagos on Monday.
The former Anambra State governor, who spoke extensively on subsidy, described it as one of the exemplifications of cumulative leadership failure in Nigeria. He said that when proper empirical studies are carried out in Nigeria, Nigerians would discover that they are not enjoying subsidy of any kind in the country, rather they are enduring the tragedy of successive leadership that had failed over the years.
“When you talk about subsidy in Nigeria, you are talking about government actually financing inefficiency on their own part under the guise of ameliorating the suffering of the masses,” Obi said.
Explaining, Obi said: “I have a friend who lives in a city in India. He drives 250 kilometres from where he lives to his place of work. Because he works from home, he visits the office about three times in a week. It takes him about three hours. He pays a toll that is equivalent of N1,500. His car consumes about 16 litres of fuel. If it were to be in Nigeria, due to bad road and probably driving back and front because of highway robbers, he would use three times the same fuel for the same distance. At the end of the day, though he pays toll, he spends far less in India, without subjecting his car to wears and tears, and endangering his health.”
Obi went further to use a Nigerian example to buttress his point. He said: “Likewise, I have friends who commute from Lagos to Ibadan, a journey of about 130 kilometres. They are not even sure how many hours it takes them – sometimes one hour, sometimes two, three, or four. Some have had cases to even sleep on the road because of the presence of all negative factors on our highways. Such journey ends up using four times the normal fuel. Where then is the value of the so-called subsidy?”
Obi concluded by saying that the same logic applies to the so-called subsidised fuel Nigerians use in powering their generators, asking if Nigerians would buy fuel if the power sector was working. “This is another case of subsidising the failure of the State,” he submitted.