The removal of the subsidy on January 1 and the resultant increase in fuel pump price from N65 to N141 led to a nationwide strike and demonstrations across the country.
Jonathan at a workshop in Abuja on Monday, asked the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to sensitise Nigerians to the planned increase in electricity tariff from June 1. He said he would not want a repeat of the subsidy removal episode.
Jonathan said, “I think the Governor of Benue State then suggested that no, that there could be conflicts in some states and that governors should be allowed to take charge.
“At the end of the day, by the day we announced the deregulation, almost everything was on my head. Everything was Jonathan to the extent that the House of Representatives had to meet on a Sunday to discuss it and it became an issue.
“At a point, some of the governors (I will not call the names) who participated in pressurising me, started shooting back.”
He recalled that he initially planned to send delegations to the states to sensitise people ahead of the subsidy removal but he was advised against it based on the argument that such a body would work in parallel with the states.
He therefore advised the NERC to properly sensitise the public ahead of the hike in electricity tariff increase.
The President said “But I said even if they will cut off my head, it is my responsibility. What I am saying is that if you don’t have robust advocacy, by the time we get to that June 1, the civil society will come and say they have never heard it.”
He regretted that when the civil society kicked against the subsidy removal, even governors who were instrumental in the decision turned against him.
He warned that if enough advocacy work was not done on the planned increase in electricity tariff, members of the civil society would return to the trenches and oppose the move as they did against subsidy removal.
He said, “On the issue of tariff, I think we agreed on June 1 but I am not sure that we are having robust advocacy.”