Jonathan to Buhari: extend probe to Obasanjo, others


President Goodluck Jonathan replied yesterday to calls for the probe of his administration. He said any probe by the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration should not be limited to his administration.

Speaking during the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, he said that those calling for a probe of his administration should ensure that the same treatment applies to other administrations before him.

The other administrations include those of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998-1999), former President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007) and the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2007-2010).

Jonathan said such probe should cover how oil wells and fields were allocated in the past.

Limiting the probe to his administration, he said, will amount to witch hunting.

Said Dr Jonathan: “Some people are even calling for the probe of this government. I agree in Nigeria there are a number of things that we will probe, very many things. Even debts owed by states and this nation from 1960 up to this time, they say it is Jonathan’s administration that is owing all the debt.

“I believe that anybody calling for probe must ensure that these probes are extended beyond the Jonathan administration; otherwise, to me, it will be witch hunting. If you are very sincere, then it’s not just the Jonathan’s administration that should be probed.

“A number of things have gone wrong and we have done our best to fix them. The Attorney General is aware of massive judgment debts. If we aggregate all of them, it’s almost going to $1 billion. How did we come to this kind of huge judgment debts?

“These issues should be probed. How do you allocate our oil wells, oil fields, marginal wells and all that; do we follow our laws? All these should be probed. And I believe all these and many more areas should be looked at.”

According to him, the fuel scarcity and workers’ strikes are acts of sabotage by those bent on bringing down his administration, despite having few days to go.

Jonathan said: “Even this last fuel scarcity, to me, one can clearly say it was an act of sabotage. This government has few days to go. That is definitely not the time you expect massive strikes, using marketers and unions; unions asking for increase in salaries at a time oil price has dropped and volumes have dropped.

“None of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) is increasing salaries but our unions wanted 11 per cent increase in allowances and so on and so forth and went on strike.

“There was 21 days reserve in this country. It is not as if we had no products but they just refused to lift. Diesel was deregulated long ago, so the issue was not the product but people who felt they must bring this government to its knees even when they know that we had few days to leave. But we thank God we are getting over it and God will see us through.”

The President also stressed that his administration had done its best for Nigeria.

His words: “One thing that is clear, I enjoyed working with all of you. I’m very pleased with all of you. I want to thank all of you for your various contributions to the development of our country. I want to thank those that have been with us, the Advisers, Special Senior Assistants, the secretariat, other senior government functionaries, including the media that covered proceedings every Wednesday.”

“As a cabinet, we have tried our best. I believe we have done well under a very difficult situation. There are a lot of criticisms; people say different things at different times. Some of those who make some statements know they are purely political.

“I have always throw, the challenge that those who criticise us should compare what we have done in the various sectors to what others have done. I may not need to enumerate but if you look at the rail system and what we have done within this period, the oil sector where there has been so much attack, one good thing we did was the Nigerian content law that revolutionised the oil industry.”

He went on: “There were a lot of fabrication going on in Lagos and other places but it was never like this before. Nigerians are playing key roles in the oil sector. People sometimes forget this. Even with that, maybe we have offended some people but the Nigerian local content has really helped so many Nigerians to play big in the oil sector.”

“The agriculture, power sectors and maybe in foreign relations, like the Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned, from 1960 to date, we have been members of the Security Council as non-permanent members five times; out of these five times, two times was with the five years of our administration.”

“We have been an independent nation for years and we have been in the United Nations Security Council as non-permanent members five times, two within this administration. That shows clearly that the rest of the world appreciates our little contributions to global issue.”

“In education, the road system; we have added Kasambilla to our dams; we have done wonderfully well in sports within this period. Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and, of course, the financial inclusion within this period is more than ever before. I can go on and on and mention almost all the sectors. So I believe we have done our best ýand Nigerians will continue to assess us,” he said.

“Even though we operated under an extremely difficult situation, maybe because politics in Nigeria is just maturing, we witnessed the longest ASUU strike. I don’t think we have ever witnessed a strike that lasted for six months and we believe that that strike was partially politically-motivated; otherwise lecturers cannot troop out for six months.

“There were the terror attacks. We know Boko Haram predates this administration but immediately after the elections, I believe because of local and external factors, they became very vicious, extremely destructive, killing people and destroying properties.”

The President said that the cabinet will be dissolved at the end of all official functions today.

He said: “But remember we still have a programme tomorrow; the government is not ending today. We have the formal handover process tomorrow and you must come as ministers of the Federal Government. I’m saying so because of the media; the cabinet has not been desolved.

“This is only a valedictory session because this is the last Wednesday. We will certainly formally dissolve the cabinet. But today, the cabinet has not been dissolve because ministers are yet to hand over and that ceremony will come up tomorrow, and you will come for tomorrow’s dinner as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“We will probably have a little meeting here where we will formally dissolve the cabinet but all these programmes coming up tomorrow you have to attend as ministers.”

Vice President Namadi Sambo, who set the ball rolling during the valedictory, thanked the President for the confidence reposed in him over the years.

He noted that he never lobbied to be Jonathan’s running mate both in 2011 and the 2015 presidential elections.

He said: “His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan found me worthy to be his running mate twice, first in 2011 when we were returned with an overwhelming majority to emerge victorious at the election and in 2015 where we encountered some electoral misfortune.

“I can recall confidently that I had neither canvassed nor lobbied to be appointed the Vice President at any point in time, except that Mr. President found me worthy to support him in steering the ship of state. This is a clear demonstration and proof of the confidence Mr. President reposed in me in the discharge of my onerous responsibility of my office to the best of my ability.

“I am privileged and humbled to be found worthy to be the Vice President of this great nation by a great leader, democrat, peace ambassador and patriot of our time.”

He praised other members of FEC for what he called their monumental service to the country and their collective spirit to serve their fatherland.

Sambo pointed out that the administration came into being at a difficult time but through the effort of Jonathan, especially in electoral reforms that allowed the conduct of free, fair and credible elections and his concession of defeat as an incident, showed the President’s exemplary spirit of sportsmanship.

Recalling Jonathan’s declaration that his ambition was not worth a drop of any Nigerian’s blood, Sambo said Jonathan’s action had put Nigeria firmly on the global map of democracy.

All the ministers commended the leadership style of President Jonathan as they expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve.

The Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Awal Bappa, predicted that Jonathan would return to office in 2019 following the footsteps of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who returned to office decades after they were heads of state.

According to her, the only difference will be that Jonathan would wait only for four years rather than decades before coming back.

Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd), concurred with Bappa that Jonathan will indeed be back to office as president “soon”.

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