Subsidy: Garba Shehu’s Comments Suggest Buhari Delayed Key Policy For Political Gain – Okey Ikechukwu

A professor of strategic management and human capital development, Okey Ikechukwu, has faulted the comments by ex-presidential aide Garba Shehu on the protracted removal of fuel subsidy by his principal former President Muhammadu Buhari before his exit from office.

Last Monday, Shehu said he wanted to be “politically honest”, disclosing that the Buhari administration, in its last days, could not have gone ahead with economic reforms such as the subsidy removal “because the APC had an election to win”.

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President Bola Tinubu, under the All Progressives Congress to which Buhari also belongs, would go on to triumph at the February 25 elections. 

At his inauguration on May 29, Tinubu declared that “fuel subsidy is gone”, dousing speculation about the possibility of a reversal of the June 30 subsidy deadline.

Ikechukwu, in an interview Monday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, was critical of the former presidential spokesman’s remarks.

“For me, at least on the level of professional public communication, I would have been reluctant to make that kind of statement as the media aide of the former president because it brings up issues,” he said.

“It would suggest – and it does suggest – that my boss was more interested in, if you like, electoral victory; in other words, that he’s the kind of person that would see a necessary policy decision and hold it back in order to gain something.”

The strategic management expert also raised doubts that it was a conscious decision on Shehu’s part “because of the current president”. 

He cited Tinubu’s pre-election complaints about “those in Aso Rock working against him”. 

“We also heard that the naira redesign was targeted against his candidacy and a lot of people from within the party who were ‘his boys’ came out to contest against him,” said the Development Specs Academy executive director.

“And at some point, the view was very strong that the president himself [Buhari] didn’t give it endorsement, particularly with his reaction to the naira redesign, so that Tinubu, in my view is somebody who emerged in spite of the forces within the APC and outside the APC.”

Ikechukwu took issue with the thought that the former presidential aide would “suddenly turn around and say that the single factor of not reducing fuel subsidy was done deliberately to ensure that he won”.

The professor further argued that, if any one of the other “sabotage measures” had worked, Tinubu would not have been president.

“So, I’m not sure this statement by my good friend, Garba, is very helpful. To begin with, I didn’t think it was necessary,” he added.


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