President Bola Tinubu on Friday admitted that his May 29 swearing-in speech had no fuel subsidy address but he had to mention it because fuel subsidy was a “scam” and disincentive to growth.
Tinubu made the assertion during a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in France, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, later that day.
According to the statement, addressing Nigerians in France, Tinubu explained that the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun and Alake had excluded fuel subsidy removal from his inaugural speech, “but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day”.
This marked the first time the President would publicly comment on his May 29 inaugural speech, in which he declared that “fuel subsidy is gone.”
“We have transport challenges, electricity challenges, infrastructural challenges and others. I let out the giant elephant of fuel subsidy without bringing down the house,’’ he said, adding, “Our diversity is our asset, if we know how to use it.’’
“We must promote unity and stability for all. Whether you voted for me during the elections, or not, I am your President. I will work on your behalf to ensure a turning point of prosperity,” the President told the gathering of professionals, including David Alaba, a footballer.
The statement added that Tinubu said “the Special Adviser on Monetary Policy, Wale Edun and Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communication and Strategy, Dele Alake, had excluded fuel subsidy removal in his inaugural speech, but he felt it was expedient to stop the subsidy on the first day.”
“It was the next day I called the GMD of NNPL,” Tinubu said.
The comment on fuel subsidy had sparked a near-instant hike in prices and hoarding, leading to calls for protests by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). This is despite former President Muhammadu Buhari’s early moves to end the payment of fuel subsidy by June.
The President promised to reposition the education and health sectors, adding that ongoing reforms on the economy would be sustained and expanded, with a view to relieving families struggling with the burden of poverty and insecurity.