Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State says there was massive looting of the commonwealth during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Governor said while he was in no position to determine if the former President was personally guilty, or if he acquiesced to the looting, but as President, he must take responsibility for what happened under his watch.
In an interview with Sahara Reporters TV in Washington DC, the governor also said although he had raised many questions on the tenure of the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, he has nothing personal against her.
He said: “What is obvious is that so much money was diverted and unaccounted for from government treasury. Not just from excess crude account, but also from other agencies of government. The numbers are huge.
For example, NNPC reports that they earned about N8 trillion within three to four years and over the same period, they claimed they spent N3.5 trillion and paid to the federation account about N4.1 trillion. So the cost of running NNPC was as much as the cost of running the federation, both the Federal, State and local governments. So that tells you the amount of primitive stealing that went on. The numbers are mind-boggling. So when we talk of Excess crude, that is just one element.”
He said his grouse with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was that as Coordinating Minister of the Economy, so much sleaze and malfeasance went on under her watch without raising an alarm, saying “she has to come clean.”
“Having accepted the role of the Coordinating Minister, so many things went wrong with the Nigerian economy even to the extent that for the first time in our history, even the Federal Government could not pay salary, they had to borrow. The pension scheme has been drawn down, the social purpose of the pension scheme has now been defeated”.
“So first of all we are saying, accept responsibility that you failed to manage the economy properly. Two, you never gave in even when we argued that the economy was in distress she was on record as always saying no, the economy was fine, the economy was strong, we are the largest economy on the continent.
“Of course, people are not fooled, just revaluing your assets and playing with the numbers. What has changed in the quality of life of the people? You have rebased the economy, have you rebased the quality of life? You haven’t!”
“If you claim to have the largest economy, you can’t also plead insolvency at the same time. What we are simply asking her to do is to open the whole book.
What the council has asked us to do is, the Committee of Four Governors is to just look at this excess crude thing, and show what went in, who took what, when and who authorized it.
“So at least we have a basis to start. But I think, going forward, we will need a forensic audit by competent auditors to look at the books so that the whole truth can be known even if we can’t retrieve some of the money but I believe a lot can be retrieved and it is good that we have a basis to identify who is responsible and who to be blamed” he said.