5 Jan 2015

Obasanjo accuses President Jonathan of squandering oil savings

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again launched a public attack on President Goodluck Jonathan, accusing him of squandering $25billion crude oil savings left behind by his administration.

Mr. Obasanjo made the allegation while hosting the South-West women leaders at his residence in Abeokuta Monday.
He said his administration left over $25 billion to his successor, Musa Yar’adua, who raised the sum to $35 billion.

Mr. Obasanjo said he also left $40billion in Nigeria’s foreign reserve account after paying the outstanding debt at the time.

He said former President Yar’adua also raised the reserves to $60billion.

Under President Jonathan, the reserves has plummeted to $40billion, Mr. Obasanjo said.

The new claims followed a series of public denunciation of Mr. Jonathan’s government by the former president.

In 2014, Mr. Obasanjo repeatedly lambasted the current government, accusing the president of promoting and tolerating corruption, and failing to provide security for Nigerians.

Mr. Obasanjo also released a book mid-December scolding the president as a self-centred politician who thinks less of the country and fraternises with corrupt and questionable characters.

In his comments on Monday, Mr. Obasanjo said he was not fighting the president, nor was Mr. Jonathan fighting him. He said he was more concerned about the interest of the country, and therefore cared less about criticisms.
“Our economy should not have been this bad. When I was leaving office about eight years ago, I left a very huge reserve after we had paid all our debts. Almost $25billion we kept in what they called excess crude. The excess from the budget we were saving as reserve for the rainy days. When we left in May 2007, the reserve was said to have been raised to $35billion,” he said.

“But today, that reserve has been depleted! Today, that reserve has been depleted. The reserve we left when we finished paying all our debts, our debts that was about 40billion dollars, that is including debt forgiveness, the remaining debt was not more than $3billion. Our reserve after we had paid off this debt was about $45billion. As I said, they continued till the end of 2007, I heard that the reserve increased to almost $67billion before the end of the year. Our reserve now, learnt is left with around only $30billion.

“That is why the Naira has been falling against the dollar. What would now happen, I learnt if you want to buy a dollar now, it’s about N192 or N195. What it means is this, what you have been buying at N150 to a dollar, now you need N192 or N195 to buy it. That is the real situation. Is there any remedy? There is, but it does not come overnight because it means we have to give up all the bad things we have been doing,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

“I know that God did not create Nigeria not to be rich or great. Is it that the people he created in Nigeria are not knowledgeable enough or not intelligent enough? Or is that they don’t know their rights? Our problems in Nigeria, let’s look at the foundation of our leadership. In the profession I know very well, the military, what we normally say is that there are no bad soldiers but bad officers. If you see a situation where the soldiers are not doing well, we need to examine the officers in charge. So it is in the family, the community, the town and the country,” he said.
He denied being against President Jonathan.
“I have no grudges against Jonathan and I think Jonathan equally has no grudges against me. I’m not quarrelling with Jonathan but all I know is that whatever is good for Nigeria, that I’m ready to die for,” he said.

“I emphasize that whatever is good for Nigeria, is what I’m ready to defend with my life. Whoever, I emphasize, whoever says he would not do anything good to Nigeria, even if he says he’s ready to go ‘konko below’, I’m ready to square it up with such a person. I say again, whoever that person may be, I want you to get that correctly. If this country is going to change for the better, it would start from the top and if it’s going to be otherwise, it would start from the top, too,” the former president stressed.

Credit: Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji/Premium Times

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