FORMER Petroleum Minister and Professor of Virology, Professor Tam David-West, has said there was never a time the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), said he would reduce the pump price of fuel to N40 per litre as reported some days ago.
The don, who spoke with Vanguard in his residence in Ibadan, explained that the N40 per litre was his own preferred pump fuel price and should not have been attributed to Buhari.
He said: "I wish to correct a wrong impression carried in the newspapers, entitled, "Buhari'll reduce petrol to N40-David West." I did not make such categorical statement and I'm sure that Gen. Buhari will agree with me that I could not have made such a categorical statement.
"Gen. Buhari and I have said it times without number that the phenomenon called subsidy is fraudulent. N40 per litre is my own figure which I have repeatedly used in all my write-ups and interviews."
However, while alluding to a comment made by a Texas professor, who said petrol should sell for N35 per litre, he said it was possible for the price of fuel to be reduced drastically if all four refineries were serviced to produce at maximum capacity, adding that for now, the refineries were performing at minimum capacity.
One of the antidotes that could make life more comfortable for Nigerians, he said, was the complete removal of middlemen who import fuel, noting that fuel importation must stop.
"Nigeria can go directly to refinery owners. We have done it before during Buhari's time." When asked if he could serve in the petroleum sector if invited or recommend anyone who could be of service to Nigerians, the erudite professor said it was God "who directs him and leads him on what to do next.
"In 1990, I wrote on sabotage theory of Nigeria's refineries which was published by Vanguard. Our refineries can work, but some people sabotage the refineries. It is not because we don't have Nigerians who can repair it and turn things around. If that fails, the people who built refineries can repair it. If people in government do it, there will be no more importation of fuel.
"I respect Gen. Buhari because he has much integrity and I believe that he would be a good leader. It is true that expectations of Nigerians are very high. No new leader can perform miracles. People should give him time and conducive atmosphere to perform. I don't believe in 100 days in office, it is nonsense. If you are packing from one house to a new one, will 100 days be enough to settle down. How do you expect a sudden turn-around within 100 days when so much damage has been done for years.
"But, it will not take too long before Nigeria would experience that change they crave for. Between the first six months and one year, people would feel that positive change," he said.
On the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls, he said he felt so happy that he lost, adding, "I have never supported him and I will not support him because I am an Ijaw man. His policies are very bad," he maintained