In what appears a fight back, the Presidency on Monday gave a knock to former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, saying no major capital project was completed under the regime.
Spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, who spoke for the Presidency was actually reacting to comments credited to Reno Omokri, Johnathan’s former media aide, who said there was no evidence that the current administration is fighting corruption.
In a statement issued on the issue on Monday, Shehu accused Jonathan of “wiping” the nation’s treasury during his time in office.
He said the current administration inherited an economy that was “ravaged by corruption and mismanagement”.
Shehu alleged that Jonathan presided over the “most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement” recorded in Nigeria’s history.
“The oil sector boomed under his [Jonathan] tenure, with oil prices as high as 120 dollars and peace in the Niger Delta.
“Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly, that is where the story turns sour,” the statement read.
“There is nothing to show for the revenues earned; no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail nor agriculture benefited from the windfall earnings.
“Rather, the administration presided over the diversion of oil revenues on such a massive scale that even without the protection now accorded to whistle blowers, the then Central Bank governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet. He was hurriedly shown the door.
“Indeed the president once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youths languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the layoff of workers.”
Shehu also said Jonathan’s administration simply reticulated oil revenue through “personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries.”
“Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved,” he added.
He said it was only “aggressive” borrowing by the then ministry of finance that prevented federal government from also owing salaries – “like was the case in 21 states”.
The presidential spokesman said when Buhari took over power in 2015, he inherited an accumulated debt and that all the factors were building up to Nigeria heading for a major crisis if the price of oil fell.
“Nigeria did not have fiscal buffers to withstand an oil shock,” he added.
“Nigeria earned a lot of money when oil prices were high but there is nothing to show for it. Now oil prices have fallen; we are suffering.
“We would not be suffering now if we had no cash reserves but we had power, or a rail system, or good roads, or good housing. But we don’t have money and we don’t have the projects either.
“Now that the oil has fallen below those levels, it is very difficult to do what is needed but they must be done to save Nigeria. There is no other way if we want to be honest.
“If PDP were still in power, they would have continued deceiving people, by borrowing to fund, stealing and wastage and the problem would have simply been postponed for future generations to face.’’
Reacting to Jonathan’s claim that dollar under him was N180 compared to today, Shehu said with oil prices as high as 120 dollars, the average inflow of dollars each month was high, “making it easy to support cheap dollars”.
“However, with oil price plummeting as low as 28 dollars, the fundamental laws of supply and demand dictated that the currency would need to adjust since oil was the sole export,” he said.
“It is instructive to note that virtually every major oil exporter has witnessed currency adjustments with the fall in oil price.”