President Bola Tinubu’s delay in introducing CNG buses as an alternative to petroleum-fueled vehicles has triggered the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) decision to organise a nationwide strike. The economic problems that result from the loss of fuel subsidies have been endured with far too much patience by the people of Nigeria. It is past time for the government to take prompt action to resolve this problem.
The decision to eliminate fuel subsidies was definitely difficult, motivated by the necessity to transfer funding to important sectors of the economy. However, it came with the promise of switching to CNG buses to reduce the impact on the public. Unfortunately, this transformation has been painfully slow.
Rightfully, labour unions have been outspoken in their opposition to the elimination of fuel subsidies. The working class has borne the brunt of rising transit expenses, which have a direct impact on the cost of living. It was hoped that the promise of CNG buses would help to lessen this strain. It is still unfulfilled, though.
The delay in implementing CNG buses has not only strained the relationship between the government and labor unions but has also eroded the trust of the Nigerian people. It raises questions about the government’s commitment to its promises and its ability to deliver on critical infrastructure projects.
CNG buses are not just an economic necessity; they are also environmentally friendly. Their adoption would help reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, a pressing global issue. Nigeria, as a signatory to international climate agreements, has a responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint.
Furthermore, the economic benefits of transitioning to CNG are substantial. It would create jobs, stimulate local industries, and reduce the country’s dependency on imported petroleum products. This would strengthen Nigeria’s economic resilience and reduce its vulnerability to global oil price fluctuations.
President Tinubu must recognize the urgency of the situation and expedite the deployment of CNG buses. The longer the delay, the greater the risk of escalating labor unrest and social tensions. Additionally, the economic and environmental advantages of CNG cannot be ignored any longer.
To make this transition a reality, it is imperative for the government to collaborate with stakeholders, including the private sector and international partners, to fast-track the procurement and deployment of CNG buses. Adequate infrastructure, such as CNG refueling stations, must also be developed to support this transition.
Therefore, the procrastination on CNG buses by President Tinubu’s administration is fueling labor unrest and tensions within the country. It’s time for decisive action to fulfill the promise of CNG buses, not only to ease the economic burden on the Nigerian people but also to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. The government’s credibility is on the line, and the time for action is now.
Residents in Enugu Lament Soaring Transportation Costs, Urge Government Intervention
Enugu residents are grappling with the escalating transportation expenses within the metropolis, leading to widespread hardship and a surge in pedestrian commuters. The removal of fuel subsidies and the absence of palliative measures in the past five months have compounded the challenges faced by the people.
A recent observation by a correspondent from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that many residents are now resorting to daily treks covering considerable distances due to the prohibitive cost of transportation. The removal of fuel subsidies and a recent slight increase in petrol prices have exacerbated the already burdensome situation.
Commuters voiced their concerns about the hardship brought about by the surging transportation costs. They noted that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) commonly known as petrol has risen from the official price of N650 per litre to N665 and N670 in most fuel stations across Enugu. In the Nsukka and Oji River areas, petrol prices range from N670 to N680 per litre.
Transporters like Mr. Obinna Ezinwa, who plies the Gariki–Holy Ghost axis of Enugu, expressed sympathy for the people but cited the high cost of fuel and daily government levies, which have reached N400 per day, as reasons for the elevated transport charges. He emphasized the inability of transporters to influence the situation due to the prevailing high fuel costs.
Tricycle operators, including Mr. Jude Okoli, highlighted that the cost of transportation had surged by over 100 percent, leading to a shift in fare rates. Commercial tricycles, which previously charged N50 for even short distances, now demand a minimum of N100 per passenger.
The dire situation extends to school children, with pupils trekking several kilometers to and from school due to the inability to afford transportation costs. Residents criticized the lack of government intervention, especially considering the removal of fuel subsidies five months ago. They called for transport palliatives, especially for civil servants, who are among the least paid in the country.
Despite the approval of palliatives by the federal government for all states, Enugu residents claim they are yet to experience the positive impact of these measures. The prevailing difficulties underscore the urgency for the state government to address the transportation challenges and explore avenues for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to alleviate the burden on its citizens.
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Public Distrust in Abuja Elected Officials: A Deep-Seated Problem
The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, continues to grapple with a major issue that has long contributed to public skepticism – a profound lack of trust in elected officials. This sentiment has persisted over time, further eroding public confidence.
When people are asked to pinpoint the most significant problem with the government today, the House of Assembly, Executives, Judiciary, politics, corruption, and undue external influence frequently top the list. A prevailing perception among the public is that elected officials are out of touch, self-serving, dishonest, and driven by personal interests, casting doubt on their commitment to prioritize the city’s well-being over their own agendas. While some officials do prioritize their Area Councils’ interests, many others do not.
These negative traits are not unfounded, particularly in the context of FCT-Abuja. Area Council Chairmen are often seen as “Emperors,” unattainable to the very constituents who put them in office. It is indeed baffling to consider an Area Council Chairman who scarcely visits their office as a guest and rarely spends more than two hours in their elected capacity. It’s a matter of great shame.
The most glaring issue with elected officials in Abuja, in the eyes of many residents, pertains to their integrity, ego, and honesty, as well as concerns about how they truly represent their constituents. The influence of special interest money and the self-aggrandizing attitudes of these officials rank at the top of the list of named problems. Some perceive them as dishonest or untruthful. These concerns are echoed by a significant portion of the public.
The public’s consensus is that most elected officials in Abuja are out of touch with the population and are primarily concerned with their political careers. They carry themselves with an air of superiority, only seeming to humble themselves during campaign seasons. While they may be seen as ‘intelligent,’ the public opinion is that they lack ‘honesty.’
In the eyes of the general public, elected officials in Abuja aren’t significantly different from the average person when it comes to intelligence or work ethic. However, they are viewed as considerably less honest, egotistical, somewhat less patriotic, and somewhat more selfish. Assessments of their honesty, in particular, are significantly more negative.
The unapproachable demeanor of these “dictators” in chairman’s clothing cannot be overstated. Even prominent figures like President Bola Ahmed Tinubu have not created such an inaccessible space for themselves. The welfare of the masses is often low on their list of priorities. They show little interest in addressing pressing issues affecting their localities, choosing instead to sit comfortably and allocate contracts to themselves and their associates. Even when presented with the pressing concerns of their communities, they often dismiss them as unimportant if they do not align with their personal interests.
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