FACT CHECK: Did all presidential candidates promise to remove fuel subsidy as claimed by Sanwo-Olu?

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CLAIM: Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of Lagos State claimed that all presidential candidates during the campaigns for the 2023 elections all promised to remove fuel subsidy when elected.

VERDICT: False!

FULL TEXT

According to a Twitter post by the governor’s former Senior Special Assistant on New media, Jubril Gawat, Sanwo-Olu made the claim while appealing to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)to shelve its planned strike. He made the appeal at his second term inauguration service, on Sunday, at the Cathedral Church of Christ Marina, Lagos.

He said, “During the campaign period, every of the presidential candidate, about 13 or 14 of them, all of them said that the first thing they were going to do is to remove the subsidy.”

The NLC had directed all its members to commence a nationwide strike on Wednesday, in protest against the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu.

While negotiations were ongoing between the federal government and leaders of NLC, the Lagos state governor justified the removal of the subsidy on the premise that all presidential candidates had plans to remove subsidy.

VERIFICATION

Ripples Nigeria found the governor’s statement to be false as there were presidential candidates who were against the removal of fuel subsidy, while others did not make a public stance on it before the election.

The candidate of African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore during the campaign season, promised that Nigerians would not pay more for fuel if he won, and that rather than remove fuel subsidy, he would expose the fraud in the payment of subsidy by the federal government.

While speaking in an interview on Arise TV Morning Show in January, Sowore pledged that he would not remove but keep the subsidy despite the deficit budget that’ll be left by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He said, “What they parade as subsidy is how the economic cabals in the system have figured out how to get themselves paid for job not done. Jonathan’s administration was forced to find out that those who were collecting subsidies were not delivering fuel to Nigeria.

READ ALSO:FACT CHECK: Did Chad’s President threaten to arrest Buhari after handover?

“One of the badges claimed to be bringing subsidised fuel to Nigeria had sunk 20 years before. All these perpetrators were all before the court, none of the cases to my knowledge has reached conviction till today.

“Those of us who have that experience on the lies that have been told to cover up subsidy know it’s a lie that is told from time to time,” he added.

He concluded, “If subsidy is removed without any plan to support the poor people of the country, that means petrol will go to N1,000 and people who are being paid N30,000 minimum wage wouldn’t be able to survive.

“Government should not exist to make life miserable for the citizen. It should exist to find solutions to problems that are afflicting the populace. Government should not exist for palliatives but concrete leadership to bring about planned development.”

Another presidential candidate who did not promise to remove fuel subsidy was Dan Nwanyanwu of the Zenith Labour Party’s (ZLP). Instead, he pledged to return petrol prices to less than 100 Naira per litre if he was elected president. He said he would achieve this by rehabilitating the country’s refineries and building modular refineries in all states.

A number of candidates also did not make any public pledge to remove fuel subsidy. Contrary to Sanwo-Olu’s claim, the only presidential candidates that promised during the campaign period to remove fuel subsidy if elected were, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Yabagi Yusuf Sani of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), and Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

CONCLUSION

Governor Sanwo-Olu’s claim that all presidential candidates pledged to remove fuel subsidy if elected is false.

By Oluwatobi Odeyinka.

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