LAGOS – Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, who was elected only eight months ago, is already swimming in a sea of troubles. On January 1, New Year celebrations were abruptly cut short when Nigerians woke up to learn that the government gasoline subsidy had been withdrawn. The country’s poor immediately hit the streets, already angry because their corrupt and incompetent government has been unable to repair state-owned refineries, thereby forcing Africa’s largest oil producer to import petroleum products.
To ordinary Nigerians, the fuel subsidy was the only advantage that they derived from the petrodollars that pour into the national treasury. Suddenly, politicians, civil servants, and their cronies were embezzling even that benefit.