OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
Supporters of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, are currently engaging each other in the war of words as whether the nation’s oil and gas sector should be privatised or not.
The former vice president and a presidential aspirant on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had said that he would embark on privatization excercise, including NNPC if he is elected President in the 2019 elections.
But responding in a statement on Tuesday by the pro-Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), signed by its coordinator Austin Braimoh, and secretary Cassidy Madueke, said the proposal by Alhaji Abubakar Atiku to privatize oil and gas sector, especially the country’s refineries, was “callous and anti-people.”
The group says it is “rather simplistic for any presidential contender with avowed love of the mass of the Nigerian people to join the advocacy for the sell-off of our national assets, especially the ones that most impact the standard of living of the huge population of Nigeria’s poor and struggling middle class.
“Obviously, Alhaji Atiku is merely amplifying the long condemned International Monetary Funds (IMF) recommendation for commercial pricing of petroleum products when, in fact, it is established that such products must be socially priced.”
But responding to the statement, another group loyal to the Wazirin Adamawa, under the aegies of All-Atiku Support Group (AASG) blamed the criticism by the Buhari Media Organisation “as a display of poor knowledge about modern economic management.”
The AASG in a press statement signed by its coordinator, Oladimeji Fabiyi said that the Buhari administration was least qualified to pass a remark about ideas geared towards modernizing and optimizing the operations of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, and indeed of any other sector of the economy.
“What the BMO has done by its criticism of Atiku’s proposal is to further expose its lack of knowledge in the ways modern economies are run. As it is today, the NNPC is unprofitable, unwieldy and not accountable. Compared to its contemporaries like Petronas of Malaysia and Petrobras of Brazil which have since liberalized and modernized its operations, the NNPC still riddles in inefficiency and obvious lack of capacity.”
Continuing, the group said: “There are clearly good examples of how liberalization of some sectors of the economy had benefitted Nigerians such as in the telecommunications industry and the banking industry. If the Obasanjo/Atiku administration had held on to NITEL, we wouldn’t have had the GSM revolution. If our commercial banks were not recapitalized, we still would be having failed banks. It is important to note that similar groups to the BMO had opposed the banking consolidation and telecoms revolution as anti-people, but history has shown that they were wrong.”
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