I have news for Mr. President; the Nigerian people do not find these findings “incomplete or useless”. It confirms all that we have suspected about his administration since the beginning. It confirms the rot and the systemic waste of public resources while the majority of Nigerians can barely make ends meet on $2 a day.
About a year ago, the Presidency decided to remove the subsidy that kept fuel prices lower than free market value. Many people who are forced to provide their own water, electricity, education and health care, felt that this was the last privilege of being Nigerian. In anger, they took to the street all over the world. Nigerians in South Africa, England, and the United States joined their fellow citizens who were non-violently calling for their ‘last privilege as Nigerians’. They came out in droves in Ibadan, Kano and at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Square in Lagos.
Labour unions joined the protests, in time; there was a compromise between the people and the government. The president promised to review the sector and make necessary changes. He inaugurated a task force committee whose responsibility was to review the oil sector and come up with quick reforms. After many months of deliberation and when it seems hope was lost, the Ribadu Committee Report was finally released.
It was brutal. It proved that the Presidency and his cabinet treated the NNPC coffers like their own personal bank account. It showed the NNPC stewards as incompetent and corrupt. The contracts with international oil companies were inexplicably not in favor of Nigeria. It was a brutal assessment of the sector and most actors in the industry looked corrupt and incompetent.
The Ribadu Report suggested that N132.7 billion seems to be missing from NNPC coffers. This administration reinstated the illegal exchange rate fiction that was nonexistent under the two previous administrations. It is also clear that while production has increased significantly, this is not reflected in the amount of funds sent to the federation account. The illegal crude oil sale to unapproved companies started under President Jonathan’s tenure. Further, Nigeria is the only “major oil producer that sells 100 percent of its crude to private commodities traders” to the loss of US$29 billion in 10 years in other to make a few dangerous oil baron happy. The report further stated “No technical or commercial problems prevent NNPC from building its own full service trading desk, which seems to be the global best practice.” The report was as damning as it could get and that this administration is complicit in the theft of Nigeria’s future.
During the Fuel Subsidy protest, President Jonathan claimed that he shares Nigerians’ concerns about the extent of the rot in NNPC. He vowed to implement the recommendation of the committee he set up himself. However, as expected, they have begun their habit of challenging truth, bribery and peddling half-baked lies to the public. His representative and spokesman claimed that the report his boss commissioned is “useless” “shoddy” and “incomplete”. President Jonathan claims that the fact that the commission failed to independently verify facts but instead based the findings of the report on the data provided by his own government makes it useless and incomplete. He further claims that certain actors are using this report to paint him negatively and that he is on the side of Nigerians.
I have news for Mr. President; the Nigerian people do not find these findings “incomplete or useless”. It confirms all that we have suspected about his administration since the beginning. It confirms the rot and the systemic waste of public resources while the majority of Nigerians can barely make ends meet on $2 a day. If Goodluck Jonathan thinks he is on the side of Nigerians, then all he must do is to accept the report, confirm and verify the data therein in a transparent and accessible format and rapidly implement all recommendations. NNPC must set up its own full service-trading desk and desist sales through middlemen. It must create independent and transparent revenue tracking system for all funds from the sale of crude oil to the Federation account.
What the #OccupyNigeria movement lacked in demands and strategy we now have in this report. We have learnt our lessons and we will not allow the usual suspects derail us this time. We have firm and objective demands and we are willing to take to the street to make our voice heard. We have truth and justice on our side, and we will prevail.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.