Opinion by Dr. Olapade Agoro, National Chairman/former Presidential Candidate, on corruption situation, its causes and consequences.
From facts and figures obtained from International dependable source of economic information data bank, there can be no disputing the fact that the nation’s economy is currently anti-utopia, wobbly and unpredictably a loose horse that has ran widely out of control, leaving its rider Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the Finance Minister flatly a bum, wet, rough and dirty.
The Foreign Exchange Reserves cumulative with the disputatious Excess Crude oil Account encouragingly rising by US$ 11.34 in 2012 from US$ 32.94 its base level at the end of 2011 to end up standing as US$ 44.93 as at January 2, 2012 but however according to the Central Bank of Nigeria without good reasons adduced to its drawn down effects surprisingly plummeted to US$ to US$ 43. 932 billion as at December 23 2013.
This ran contrary to the promise made July 2011 by Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala the Minister for Finance and who incidentally doubles up as Coordinating Minister of the economy at a gathering with Organized Private Sector where she stressed the need "for the country to strategically shore up its external reserves to US$ 50 billion by end of December 2012 which according to her "would help the country stand on its feet in the event of any global economic recession".
Why reasons behind her dream failing to achieve the lofty goal of achieving mere US$50 billion could not be timely brought back to the country of only 160 million people at a time China and India with respective population roving over a billion each, would only be found in the echelons of common African mentality lacking pride, integrity and honour.
Raising high level dusts of concern on issue of pilfering from the national purse as possible cause effect of why the economic management is dispossessed of its growth expectations, the duo of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Rivers State Governor.
Mr. Rotimi Amaechi at a retreat of Nigerian Governor’s Forum held November in Sokoto had alerted the nation that US$ 5 billion was missing from the Excess Crude Oil Account which prior to his alert bell ringing stood as US$ 9 billion.
This was sequel to the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in his pain in the neck letter to President Goodluck Jonathan where he alleged that a whooping sum of US$ 49.8 billion was missing from the NNPC remittance account into the Federation Account.
However one could note that after a lot of bickering on the matter the management of NNPC finally buckled coming out of its shameful hiding place to claim that rather than US$ 49.8 billion declared missing by Sanusi Lamido it was US$11 billion that was missing.
The London Financial Times an highly respected media of International repute possibly expressing the views and opinions of the International Community called on President Goodluck Jonathan "to order a forensic external audit of the oil account to clear up the confusion". The FT further added what any reasonable person would have rightly concluded on, saying: "The first is how the state oil company justifies withholding the US$11 billion identified. This in turn is part of a bigger puzzle over falling oil revenues that drove the Central Bank Governor to raise the alarm in the first place".
Taking into cognizance the aforementioned misnomers in the economy, it becomes apt for one to draw the attention of gentleman President Goodluck Jonathan to the pitiful but disputable tirade in his guided missile assault attack reply to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s politically motivated guidance counselor “Before it is too late” letter whereby Jonathan proudly claimed among others that “.. .the country had seen an FDI ‘Foreign Direct Investment’ inflow of US$ 25.7 billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination”
As good as the expository was that there was an inflow of US$ 25.7 billion, one can painfully point out that the expository failed woefully to address the unimaginable, reckless and unguarded outflow and plundering at the same time ‘of just three years’ of the aforementioned loots from the nation’s purse and these adding shamefully to the missing US$67 billion Foreign Exchange Reserves between 2008 and 2012 and undeniable fact of the stealing from the Lagos port US$12 billion power generating equipment Obasanjo administration left behind in 2007.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Joseph Dele Ezeoba Thursday 26 December 2013, in undisguised message and as if to add to our heart pains made it clear that between a spate period of nine months i.e. January – September , “Nigeria Navy destroyed 1,556 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region”.
This ugliness and parade of shame of economic sabotage despite the fact that the nation doled out to the ex- Niger delta militants almost Naira 150 billion this year alone simply ‘to keep watch of the nations pipe lines’.
All these playing out the fact that Nigeria is now sadly a nation of people lacking nationalistic value and consciousness for natures beauty who are dangerously playing with fireworks at a petrol distilling station.
A very careful and politically devoid financial calculation would reveal that Nigeria since the current democratic dispensation political rodents, executive thieves and their cohorts must have stolen from the national purse far more than US$ 150 billion.
One can reasonably conclude that if half of the monies getting stolen and pilfered with reckless abandon from the national purse are channeled back to the economy Nigeria would not only be solidly strong economically, it would be capable enough to meet the demands of almost all those in the West Africa Sub-region wading off all in effect elementals of want, kidnapping, criminal insurgencies et al.
It behooves to say and altruistically conclude that governance should not only be dictates of political power gained possibly through mischief and vote manipulation and negotiation but ability to maximally employ the available human and material resources optimally to the benefit of the populace.
Nigeria under the current socio-political and economic management, the fact must be faced is a total failure irrespective of how one to perceive it.
With all these facts of brazen failure placed under the nostrils of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the ‘economic wonder performer’ a lady proudly brought up in the western clime where rule law dictates and observance of duty honours pervade, one wonders why she would want to stay a day longer in office before doing the right thing a normal, sensible and reasonable person in a descent society would have done.
That is if her boss President Goodluck Jonathan who hired her simply to curry the favour and interest of the Western World in effect boosting his own image could not muster the courage to sack her for her glaring failure in office.
Dr. Olapade Agoro (Aladura Patriarch)
Owa’Tapa of Itapa Ijesa land,
National Chairman/former Presidential Candidate,
National Action Council (NAC)