My continuous claim that many Nigerians don’t pay full attention to details before taking sides on matters has once again been justified. The quest for knowledge by many of us has deteriorated over time, even though we have readily available means to check claims and weigh its viability. We simply ignore them for shabby and crappy summary by some ‘trusted’ fellows who usually design them for their gains, of course they are masters in the art of exploiting the ignorance and gullibility of many Nigerians.
With the true intentions of these ‘change activists’ still unknown, issues of national debates like the tussle of ‘holier than thou’ between our Present ministers, Past ministers and presidential aides and the way some influential social media activists and commentators easily took sides further proves we are still a bit far from our destination.
Just so we are clear, because I know so many people who might stumble into this piece might tag me a ‘Jonathanarian’ or Pro-GEJ (typical of an average Nigerian once you don’t tell them what they want to hear), Let me emphatically state that I belong to no cabal. If GEJ makes a mistake, i will talk, if he does well, i will do the same and of course, it is not a crime to stand alone. On this issue, I expected GEJ to get whipped for mismanagement of the funds but why was Ezekwesili not cautioned for exaggeration and inflation of the figures? That’s an integrity question she should answer first if you ask me because I don’t know her motives and I don’t trust people blindly, my bad.
Anyways, I just made a compilation of Tunji Andrews’ tweets on the National drama between a former minister of education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili and Labaran Maku on Oby’s claims that the present administration squandered a whooping $67bn and I thought I should share.
Tunde Andrews (@tunjiandrews):
Are we serious? Just cause the GEJ administration leaves much to be desired doesn’t mean he should debate whoever asks him for a debate. Of course he’d turn down a debate, at best Madam Ezekwesili is a has been minister, not a presidential aspirant. Have we all lost reasoning? After Ezekwesili’s statements, many jumped out to demand the head of the president, unaware that the Governors are presently in court over the ECA (Excess Crude Account).
The constitution gives allowance for the ECA to be shared between the FG, State and Local governments and the state governors are keen to obey So much that the governors have taken the FG to court and refused to settle out of court, Amechi speaking for the Governors say there’s no going back, President Jonathan tried to Pacify them(Governors) by releasing $1bn, but the Governors (via Amechi) say there’s $9bn left to share, so share it now!
Should they get their way, The FG would have to share a part of the ECA monthly, and in a few years, we’d all point fingers again at the FG. Also, I’ve seen people commenting on the fact that The Goodluck Administration turned down the debate challenge from Madam Ezekwesili. Have we all lost our marbles or is it that we hate GEJ too much to reason right? Why in the name of Zeus would he agree to debate her?
Her accusations aren’t even accurate, nor do they paint the entire picture, so debating her would only give Ezekwesili more media attention. For one thing, she has a vendetta against him and for another she’s an ex-minister of another government, not even a presidential aspirant, so Why?
I mean, the holes in her $67bn squandered claim can easily be seen with alittle google research into what was withdrawn & what it was used for
According to Ezekwesili’s, OBJ left $45bn in the Foreign reserves and $22bn (ECA), I don’t know her source but these figures are incorrect.
CBN records say OBJ left a total of $43.13bn, external reserves $31.5bn, $9.43bn in the ECA, and $2.18bn in the Federal Government’s savings (http://cenbank.org)
MATHS 1: Foreign reserves reached lowest (post OBJ) in 2010 ($35bn) + ECA lowest in April 2012 ($3bn) = $38bn minus $67bn (from Ezekwesili’s report) = $28bn withdrawn
Fact 1: Should we even go by her figures, $28bn was the entire amount withdrawn from both accounts post OBJ, not $67bn as she said
Maths 2: In 2008, crude oil fell to $38/barrel, take that from $95 benchmark and you find a deficit of $57/barrel to fund a N2.546trn budget
Maths 3: at a 2.4m barrels/day production in 2008 – wastages/stealing = 1.8mbpd X 360days x $38/barrel = $2.4624bn (N381.672bn) Not enough
Fact 2: The FG had to withdraw about N2.164trn($13.96bn) from both accounts to fund the 2008 budget
I’m sure with the events of yesterday with the Govs suing over ECA sharing, I really dont need to go into why more ECA withdrawals were made
Conclusion: Yes, there was some mismanagement with these funds, but Ezekwesili’s squandering claim where exaggerated and at best sensational.