By Daniel Edu
Adewole Adebayo, the former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) during the February 2023 elections, has expressed his disappointment in President Bola Tinubu’s call for Nigerians to transition from using petrol to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in their vehicles.
Adebayo has called on President Tinubu to set a better example by switching his own government fleet to CNG before urging Nigerians to do the same. He believes that it’s insufficient for the government to suggest CNG adoption without clear policy measures and actions.
The recent removal of fuel subsidies and subsequent petrol price increase prompted the government’s suggestion of transitioning to CNG as a more affordable alternative. However, Adebayo believes the government lacks a comprehensive plan for the adoption of CNG and its implementation.
Adebayo highlighted the absence of a well-defined white paper outlining the government’s strategy and goals. He criticized this approach, stating that governing in 2023 should be more organized and transparent, comparing it unfavorably even to governance in 1953.
He outlined three strategies the government could employ to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal: focusing on CNG as an alternative fuel source, establishing clear targets, and converting government vehicles to CNG as a demonstrable commitment to the policy.
Addressing the broader economic concerns, Adebayo noted that apart from the two policies of removing fuel subsidies and harmonizing the foreign exchange market, President Tinubu’s administration had not given adequate attention to the struggling economy, which is grappling with cost-push inflation.
Regarding the government’s allocation of N5 billion palliatives to each state to alleviate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal, Adebayo criticized such short-term handout approaches as ineffective and unsustainable. He suggested that the government should instead focus on implementing measures to reduce the cost of living and essential goods, rather than relying on temporary relief efforts.