Azubuike Ishiekwene: But why is President Jonathan lying to us?

by Azubuike Ishiekwene

Dr-Goodluck-JonathanIf you have been conned into believing that Nigeria is now generating 5000MW of electricity, then you must be connected to the Jonathans, who neither pay PHCN bills nor have the faintest idea how much the public is paying to maintain the generators in the Presidential Villa.

Nigeria of the last three weeks reminds me of the title of Christopher Hitchens’ no-nonsense book on President Bill Clinton, from where I picked the title of this article. I love Clinton like mad, but only a fool would read Hitchens’ book and still insist there’s only one Bill Clinton. There’s Clinton the nice guy. And there’s, regrettably, Clinton the ruthless liar.

In his book, Hitchens leaves no one in doubt that Clintonoid is a condition worse than a loose fly. It happens when telling lies for personal advantage becomes not only a matter of survival, but also a weapon of offence and a way of life. Once this disease infects the head, as is now the case with the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the vital organs will follow.

Why is President Jonathan lying to us in spite of his own record and in total disregard of the evidence of our own eyes in the last five appalling years of his presidency? He has lied about power supply, lied about the unaccounted for $20billion, lied about how the economy has been managed, lied about jobs and lied about his desperate lies.

If Hitchens thought Clintonoid was a deadly disease it was because he didn’t live long enough to see Jonathanoid, a mutation of the original virus.

Let’s start with power. As at New Year’s Eve, the total power generated was 4006.8MW. As at the time I was writing this piece, total power generated was less than 3,700MW – and that was after Jonathan had gone around the country claiming to be commissioning power projects that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had commissioned and which had been performing at about half their installed capacity in the last few years.

Fact, the power sector was fully privatised on Jonathan’s watch. But the dodgy way it was handled, which is the only way Jonathan knows, coupled with the scant attention to due diligence, has left both the new owners and the consumers in deeper misery from which neither will recover in a long, long time. Privatisation of the power sector is good for Jonathan’s PR, but the reality of our daily lives is that it is a huge scam that has left us paying more for darkness.

If you have been conned into believing that Nigeria is now generating 5000MW of electricity, then you must be connected to the Jonathans, who neither pay PHCN bills nor have the faintest idea how much the public is paying to maintain the generators in the Presidential Villa.

If the lie about power generation makes you feel like hugging a transformer, what about the lie that the $20billion oil sales proceed was only unaccounted for in the head of former Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? For the last five years of Jonathan’s administration, the average price of crude oil has been around $100 per barrel.

Every day, for five years, the NNPC has allocated 445,000bpd whether or not the product could be refined. This allocation works out to $16,253,625,000.00 per year and in Jonathan’s five years, that would be approximately $81,268,125,000.00. Where is the money?

Sources in NNPC told me last week that 55 per cent of equity valued at $2billion from the federal government’s divestment in Shell JV assets in OMLs 4, 26, 30, 34, 38, 40, 41 and 42, is being held by the NNPC/NPDC. While Jonathan’s government is lying that this asset is public trust and is in fact servicing its operations using public funds, the $2billion is still being retained by the NNPC/NPDC outside the Central Bank!

That’s why Jonathan will not release the PriceWaterHouse audit report, not at gunpoint or at the threat of litigation. Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the two other presidents in the presidential godhead, know that that report is a smoking gun. They know that NNPC is the ATM of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and that’s the way it is.

Jonathan’s government lied that it would use N9billion – outside budget – to buy stoves for your grandmother and mine. In response to public outcry, to find another lie, since it was commonly known that this money was going into the PDP campaign fund, the government promptly settled for another piece of fiction, that it needed N46billion to buy electricity meters for public use.

I was bereft by a letter written by Vice President Namadi Sambo last September 16, in which he begged Jonathan to approve a contract for two private companies to supply 753,002 electricity meters to be funded by N32billion from a Eurobond loan and N14.7billion from the sale of NIPP power plants. After privatisation? And the president signed off this request this year, almost certainly without parliamentary approval and without any guarantee that a single additional meter would be supplied.

Someone is probably reading this piece on a long queue near a petrol station. You’ve probably heard from Jonathan’s government and the ruling party that the opposition is responsible for your misery, when, in fact, the NNPC owes petrol importers N480billion, the last payment being in October.

The lies about the economy, jobs and infrastructure are legendary. The essential weapon is the abuse of data. When you hear Jonathan and his horde claim credit for the making of Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy, you should simply ask whether the elements comprising the rebasing were recorded over the past five years alone.

The inconvenient truth is that the foundation for Nigeria’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy had been laid in the years before Jonathan came to power, and much of the success is not just in spite of government, but in spite of the unprecedented stealing marking the Jonathan era.

Those who wish may believe the lies and enjoy the fool’s ride on the fictitious new roads and in imaginary train cabins contained in campaign posters and on billboards. In the last few weeks especially, there have been enough lies to go round and enough foot soldiers paid to spread them with incredible vehemence. The use of vile language, at which Dame Patience Jonathan is proving a prolific life coach, is another matter.

Jonathan and those united with him in a common fear of Muhammadu Buhari have told you that the election is a contest between Christian values and Muslim fundamentalism; freedom and oppression, forward movement and retrogression. What they have not said is that for the first time in many years, there’s a real chance that their lies will find them out. There’s no one left to lie to.

In the end, there are three kinds of people: those who are paid to lie, those who are happy to be lied to and those who will stand their ground. You’ll have to see through the lies and depend on more than good luck to spot the difference and roll back the tide.

Salvation from Jonathanoid is a personal choice.




Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

  1. Dis is de best I have read dis year,bro,you are very rite

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