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The African Action Congress has disagreed with the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on privatisation of the economy.
The AAC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Adeyeye Olorunfemi, Tuesday, said Obi would privatise the commanding heights of the economy, saying this was against the principles of the Labour Party and the Nigerian Labour Congress, asking the organised labour not to back such position.
Obi had appeared on the Cable News Network, Friday, where he spoke on his security and economic plans, among others, if he won the 2023 presidential election.
In the interview, Obi, while addressing questions on what he would do to solve the problem in the Nigerian oil sector, said there was “no reason why we should not encourage the private sector to build refineries and operate them.”
Obi said this could be done as soon as possible saying it wasn’t a rocket science.
“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 refinery,” he said.
Reacting, the AAC scribe said, “It is more than clear to all now where Mr Obi and the new Labour Party stands 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 is a contradiction to the NLC Charter of Demands and the Congress position since the January uprising against fuel subsidy removal in the year 2012.”
The AAC said the organised labour should withdraw support for Obi based on principles, saying, “the NLC and TUC must note that millions of Nigerians rose up 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 as well as 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 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-workers’ 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 nor 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.”