The President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Festus Osifo, and the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo, locked horns on Tuesday during a debate over fuel subsidy removal.
President Bola Tinubu, in his inaugural speech on Monday, had declared that “fuel subsidy is gone,” leading to panic buying and hoarding of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) across the country.
While debating the topic on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Osifo queried Tinubu’s choice of words, noting that based on the President’s own admission, subsidy would still be in play until the end of June.
But Adebayo, in a bid to counter the trade union president, accused the TUC leadership of compromise, saying, “This is why they don’t have the credibility to lead labour. This is the reason why — because they are just looking for relevance. You have to make the issue very clear.
“There are two things you can do now: You must have subsidy because they’ve passed the law. We were protesting; you were collaborating with those who would say…. They were busy negotiating money for elections, how to collect money from politicians.”
Responding to the weighty claim, Osifo asked the SDP candidate to show proof or “take that back.” Despite repeated attempts by the TUC president and the presenter, Seun Okinbaloye, to get a retraction from the SDP candidate, he refused.
Osifo then took aim at Adewole, saying, “While It is now I knew why you performed abysmally in the elections, because you don’t even understand Nigeria’s problems. You don’t understand Nigeria’s issues. You clearly don’t understand economics.
“You clearly don’t understand what Nigeria represents. I wonder why a party like the SDP would go and look for somebody like you who is clearly a quack.”