A cross-section of Nigerians have mocked that with the current situation of things, it seems that Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has taken over the role of Minister of Information, from Alhaji Lai Mohammad.
Post-Nigeria recalls that Lai Mohammad has been rendered incommunicado, ever since he dropped a bombshell that the Nigerian Airforce released 100 jet fighters to rescue the 110 missing Dapchi Schoolgirls, in Yobe State, which the Nigerian Military denied.
“Ever since then, Yemi Osinbajo has taken over the role of the Information Minister, by accusing former President, Goodluck Jonathan, of looting billions of Naira, two weeks to the 2015 general elections”, a source told Post-Nigeria.
The latest of the allegations by Osinbajo, was on Tuesday, during the Ogun State Investors Forum, held in Abeokuta, where he alleged that $3 billion stolen under the Jonathan administration, could have built the 2nd Niger bridge and seven major roads in the country.
Although, Jonathan had challenged Osinbajo to provide evidence that his government embezzled the money, through a statement released by his former Spokesperson, Reno Omokri, which he accused Osinbajo of repeatedly lying to score cheap points in the public arena.
However, Osinbajo on Tuesday, insisted the Jonathan government stole the money, adding that, it could have been used to fix the East-West road, Lagos-Abeokuta old road, among other major roads across the country.
“Yesterday at the Quarterly Presidential Business Forum, I said that the main reason for Nigeria’s recursive growth is not just a matter of our relying heavily on a single commodity, it is the fact that the proceeds of that single commodity were regularly hijacked consistently by a few”, Osinbajo stated.
“The most of the proceeds go to rent seekers, who invest little in industry and production.
“So, for example, in a so called strategic alliance contracts with the NDPC, the promoters of the companies made away with over 3 billion US Dollars, almost a tenth of our reserves at a point!
“Here is a list of possible roads 3 billion Dollars could have built, and at the moment we are in the course of getting 3 billion Dollars to build these roads that I am about to name: Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road; 2nd Niger Bridge; Enugu-PH road; East-West road; Sagamu-Ore-Benin road; Kano-Maiduguri road; Abuja-Lafia-Akwanga-Keffi road; Lagos-Abeokuta (old road).
“That is what 3 billion US Dollars that some people made away with could have done, and that is why it is important for us to understand that our country’s problems must be analysed from the perspective of what the real issues are. We talk of the Nigerian economy without talking about the blight that was caused years ago by people simply stealing the resources of this country.”
Osinbajo said in one single transaction, the sum of N100 billion and $289 million in cash, were released a few weeks to the 2015 elections, adding that: “It was not released as such, it was the money embezzled.”
“When one considers that in 2014 when oil prices were an average of 110 Dollars a barrel”, the Vice President explained that, “only N99 billion was spent on Power, Works and Housing. Agriculture and Transportation got N14 billion, and N15 billion respectively.”
He alleged that the total amount spent on capital projects in these critical areas, was only N153 billion, “and over N150 billion was released and allegedly shared within three days.”
“This is enormity of what we are talking about; there is no country in the world that can survive on grand corruption, on the scale that we are talking about. And that is why it is important for the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, to reverse that grand corruption”, he said.
“So, we spent, in 2017, N1.3 trillion on capital, the highest spend in the history of the country, earning almost 60 percent less than we were earning in 2014. So, you can do far more with less, if we are prudent with the resources of this country.
“Today, with less revenue but no leakage, we have increased funding capital in Power, Works and Housing, Defence, Transportation and Agriculture, by as much as 400 percent.
“Today, we are two quarters out of the recession, and firmly on the path of recovery. Our external reserves are at their highest levels in five years. Inflation has dropped for 13 consecutive months, manufacturing confidence is on the rise, and in 2017, Nigeria moved ahead 24 places on the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Index. And the World Bank reported that Nigeria is among the top ten reforming economies in the world.”
Osinbajo added that it was now a good time to speak confidently about “consolidating gains, and accelerating growth.”