Removal of fuel subsidy: change or chains? (epic debate)


Ayeni Femi has a slight advantage over Oluwatola Toluwani going into the Finals.

Will 0.5 points prove a huge difference in Class and Pure Oratory Skills or will it be insignificant?

Well I can’t wait to hear from the debaters themselves, their affirmative responses to stake a claim to the coveted top stop of this debate.


The topic for the debate would cover broad National issues and interests. It just might be anything you know but certainly not outside the shores of our beloved country.

I hope our debaters are gearing up! The countdown to today’s contest starts now. Fasten your seat belts for this roller coaster ride.


Today, Ayeni Femi will slug it out with Oluwatola Toluwani and the winner will be crowned THE DEBATER OF THE WEEK and also qualify for the monthly round.

That’s a chance at becoming THE DEBATER OF THE MONTH and winning exciting prizes from our partners.

Once again, good day


So, today’s debate is impromptu. The issue at hand is one that concerns all of us as you will soon discover.

Now, I’d like both of you to indicate whether you would like to go for or against. You can’t see the topic, so, it’s time to gamble. The fastest person to respond gets his wish.

Just type *for* or *against*


Ayeni Femi: Alright…against


The topic, ladies and gentlemen, is…


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa: How many minutes will we have to submit or are the rules still the same???


Moderator:  Good question

After the topic is revealed both of you will have 10 mins to relax, then we start.

The rules stay the same.


Mr Toluwani, you’ll go first because you are *for* the motion

Are we ready for the topic?


Buhari’s removal of fuel subsidy: change or chains?


To the supporting side, you go with change.

To the opposing side, you go with chains.


Mr Toluwani, you have 4 mins to make your points. Your time starts now.



Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:

Good pm panel of judges, I’m here this evening to state that the removal of subsidy by the Buhari regime is a change and not a chain.


President Mohammadu Buhari rode into power on 29th May 2015 on the mantra of change. Prior to the presidential election held on March 28, 2015, his campaign promises were filed the change slogan; promising change in all aspects of our national life since it was quite obvious that Nigerians were tired of the status quo. He has, since assumption of office, gained trust as a honest leader with integrity, this was attested to by President Barack Obama and of recent by the archbishop of Catenbury.


Fuel Subsidy isn’t new in our national circles either. Its history dates back to the Gen Ibrahim Babaginda regime in the mid-80s. Ever since, successive governments have been reducing subsidy paid on petroleum. Fuel subsidy is the money paid by government to petrol importers in order to reduce the cost of PMS (petrol).

It’s been proven that the subsidy regime is a regime of corruption. This can be attested to by the popular 2011 probe by the House of Representatives where money to the tune of 1.34trillion naira was stolen. So there’s no need to continue to fuel corruption


The subsidy regime also favours a selected few: ‘importers’. The common man isn’t really affected by the subsidy regime. Take for instance despite the existence of petrol subsidy, till last Wednesday, most Nigerians have been buying at the range of 100-300 naira despite d 86.5 naira official regulation.

It’s been proven that subsidy regime isn’t sustainable all over the world.

The issue with removal of subsidy is that of trust and I think the Buhari administration is trustworthy, so it is a change in the positive direction.

Thank you.





Just at the nick of time

Mr Femi, your time starts *now*



Femi Ayeni

A fool at 40 is said to be a fool forever, then what can we say of a man over 55 who still crawls and beg after his peers. I do wonder why the daughters of Niger wash their hands with saliva and the sons of Iroko build their houses with palm, in the midst of abundance of meat the children of the butcher still feeds on crackers. A nation as blessed as Nigeria still lives in agony and suffering.


To the fuel saga in the country I argue that it is indeed a chain for a country like Nigeria. How do i mean by fuel saga? First, I would love to clear out my position on the motion; what we have in Nigeria as of today is not fuel subsidy removal but a hike in fuel price.

In January 1, 2012 to be specific, when the Jonathan administration called for the removal of subsidy, then it was indeed a subsidy, premium motor spirit was valued at the international market for over $100 per barrel, as of now, it is valued at $40 per barrel.  What this means is that, even at #86.50 there was already a price hike.


Now, to the main issue; increment in the price of fuel is indeed a chain. Follow me as I take you through the steps:

A nation where most of its states cannot pay salaries, where even the 18,000 minimum wage is a difficulty, a nation of over 170million, where most of her citizens depend on oil, fuel relatively determines the price of goods and services in the economy. The welfare of the people is supposed to be the primary focus of every government. However, this government failed to recognize that transportation, production and the economy at large depend on this product. An economy that is at the verge of collapsing is been chained by an increase in price of its most essential product.


Nigeria is the only OPEC nation that is importing fuel. We export crude and import fuel. We are not producing not because our refineries cannot work, but it won’t work due to corruption. Once the refineries work, the chain of exploitation of the Nigerian masses by some super powers will end. Let us ask ourselves this question. “Why are the refineries working in other countries?” Texas, a state in the United State has about 19 functional refineries, same as California.


My humble submission is that; as a nation we must never lose our democratic power, our voice as the people. It is high time we rose against the injustice for the sake of the generations yet unborn.




Very exciting debate today

I must say that today has been far more exciting than yesterday. The quality of your argument is very, very good. Both of you have done well so far.

Now, you have 5 mins to study the argument of your opponent and to prepare your rebuttal

Mr Femi goes first, this time.


In this round, ensure that you beat the deadline. Excuses such as Network delays will not be entertained. Thank you.

You have just 3 mins.



Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:

The removal of subsidy is supported by the Breton Woods institutions (IMF & World Bank) so it can in no way lead to the collapse of the economy. With subsidy removal the federal government will gain about 18.3 billion in 6 weeks and this will generate an additional 158.6 billion naira per annum for the country, which will cushion the effect on the economy by increasing d minimum wage.


Moreover, the reason why Nigeria is a net importer of petrol is because of the subsidy regime. Only private refineries can work effectively in Nigeria but the private sector cannot work in a deregulated economy. Government isn’t a good manager because billions have been invested into the comatose government refineries to no avail. The way out is to fully deregulate the sector (remove subsidy) to allow the private sector function maximally as in other OPEC countries.


Finally I’ll crave the indulgence of you all to look out how flourishing the Nigeria Telecommunications industry is today. Why, if I may ask? It was deregulated (subsidy removed) to allow for private sector involvement. I put it to you that the petroleum industry is in for greater times with this change agenda and trust of Mr. President in the oil and gas sector, starting with subsidy removal. God Bless Nigeria!

Thank you!



Ayeni Femi:

First, in your ending you claimed to be thinking that we should trust the administration of PMB, thank God it is your thoughts because there are no facts or statistics to make us trust as you claim

However, the most fundamental issue in this debate is not subsidy for of a fact, subsidy itself is corrupt, but the issue is in the increment or change in the price of fuel that has of no doubt brought suffering to the common Nigerian. What more can be ‘chainful’ than this, if I may use the word.




Now, it’s time for cross examination

Over to Dr. Richard.



Dr. Richard Spark:

Oh thank you Sir…

Without a doubt I am in awe of our debaters abilities. I doubt I could come up with such strong arguments within a short period of time.

I shall now cross examine our wonderful debaters with your permission.


First, Mr. Toluwani.

Can you please clarify your statement “… the private sector cannot work in a deregulated economy?”  Thank you.


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:


A barrel of petrol goes for about 40dollars per barrel. And in a country like ours battling with power issues they have to fully run on generators, incurring heavy production costs in the process.



Dr. Richard Spark:

Let me come again Sir… Do you mean regulated or deregulated?


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:

At the end of the day, they would have produced at a price higher than 86.5. it will be economically unviable for private sector to be producing petrol when it is the government that will fix the price. I meant regulated economy


Dr. Richard Spark:

Thank you. I shall now cross examine Mr. Ayeni.

Please explain how a drop in price of crude oil in the international market from about 100 dollars in 2012 to about 40 dollars per barrel suggests that even at #86.50, there was a price hike in PMS.

Thank you.



Ayeni Femi:

As at 2012, the price of fuel was around #70 when it was over a $100  per barrel though been subsidized. After the subsidy removal it became #140.

Now, at $40 per barrel 86.50 per litre from the figures and indices, there is already a price hike at 86.



Dr. Richard Spark:

Thank you for that clarification.

Over now to Mr. Ogunbowale




Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Dr. Richard, thank you for your thorough cross examination.

Mr Toluwani, you said ‘the common man isn’t really affected by the subsidy regime’

Kindly explain this statement.


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:

I intentionally used ‘really’… So it isn’t that they are not benefitting at all

Take for instance in most parts of the South-South, petrol has been sold for between 150-300 naira in independent petrol stations

That’s prior to the fuel scarcity.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga: Since when? Since last year?


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa: During d fuel scarcity.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga: OK.


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa: All Nigerians were buying at exorbitant rates at those filling stations

So we aren’t really benefitting. Thanks


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Were Nigerians buying because they liked the new prices or because they didn’t have a choice?


Oluwatola Toluwani Ifeoluwa:

No. It was because they had no choice. Subsidy still existed at that time and they weren’t profiting from it. In fact prices of most goods and transport fares had risen tremendously prior to the removal


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Interesting. That will be all for now.


Over to Mr. Ayeni.

You said ‘Nigeria is the only OPEC nation that is importing fuel’

Are you sure?


Ayeni Femi:

I meant one of the leading OPEC countries importing fuel. Quite sure.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga: .

Angola – 1,756, 000 Barrels Per Day

African oil exports

World Ranking: 16


Angola is the second largest oil-producing African country and the 16th largest oil producing nation in the world with a daily production of 1.75 million barrels. It is the 12th member of OPEC and is currently exporting nearly 90% of crude oil to China and the U.S.A. The economy of Angola is largely dependent on oil. Oil production accounts form 40% of Angola’s GDP. The country has an estimated 8 billion barrels of oil reserves.

Do you still stand by your earlier statement?



Ayeni Femi:

Yes…I said importing not exporting.

Nigeria is one of the leading OPEC countries  importing fuel.

We export crude…and import fuel.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Please, what do you mean by ‘fuel’?


Ayeni Femi: I mean the Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as Petrol.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

And if a country is exporting 90% of its crude oil to China, where is it getting its petroleum products from?


Ayeni Femi:

The daily need for Angola’s consumption can in no way be compared to that of Nigeria.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Kindly answer my question sir.


Ayeni Femi:

Angola is relatively less than 60million. Nigeria on the other hand is over 170million. To meet up with the daily need, Nigeria imports more than any other OPEC country.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

You said ‘Nigeria is the only OPEC nation that is importing fuel’


Ayeni Femi:

Angola exports crude oil and sells to China as the statistics claim.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Later, you clarified…. ‘I mean one of the leading OPEC countries importing fuel. Quite sure.’


Ayeni Femi:

Angola does not further import the final product for her need as Nigeria claims she does.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Is Angola a leading OPEC country?


Ayeni Femi:

Yes, one of the leading OPEC countries importing fuel. Yes, Angola is.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

Are they importing petroleum products? Yes or no?


Ayeni Femi:

Yes they are and that makes them one of the OPEC countries importing too


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

So, do you agree that your earlier statement is misleading?


Ayeni Femi:

To an extent. I hope the statement is duly clarified.


Ogunbowale Olugbenga:

That will be all from me. Thank you very much.





Wow! That must have been a grueling session for our debaters. It has been some two hours of unending display of debating prowess. Call it Clash of the Titans or Royal Rumble and you won’t be wrong. Simply Epic!

Kudos to the debaters, moderator, judges and onlookers.

The audience is calling for another round but sorry that will be some other time. The quest to find out who the Debater of the Week is does not end today.

I believe the organizers of this event have interesting packages for us .


And now, we are about to find out THE DEBATER OF THE WEEK.

As a reminder, the debater of the week will stand a chance to compete for the prestigious title of THE DEBATER OF THE MONTH which is a prerequisite for the epic battle of the DEBATER OF THE YEAR

This week’s runner up will get a consolation prize. He is free to re-enter for next week’s round, as long as he makes it through the preliminary rounds.



Mr Ogunbowale’s score card

Oluwatola Toluwani

Content: 4

Logic: 4

Creativity: 3

Entertainment: 3.5

Cross examination: 1.5

Total: 16



Content: 3

Logic: 3

Creativity: 1

Entertainment: 1

Cross examination: 0.5

Total: 8.5



Mr Richard’s score card

Oluwatola Toluwani

Content: 4

Logic: 4

Creativity: 3

Entertainment: 2.5

Cross examination: 2.5

Total: 16





Content: 3

Logic: 3

Creativity: 1

Entertainment: 1

Cross examination: 1.0

Total: 9.0



Final scores;

Oluwatola Toluwani: 32

Ayeni Femi: 16.5

Oluwatola Toluwani is hereby declared the DEBATER OF THE WEEK



Congratulations…. In the next few weeks, you will slug it out in the epic battle to determine the debater of the month.


To Ayeni Femi, you debated well. Thank you for participating. Kindly manage our consolation prize of N500 recharge card.


Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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