Osita Chidoka, the former Minister of Aviation, has slammed Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, for claiming that former President Goodluck Jonathan did not leave enough money in the treasury to sustain the country for three weeks.
“As former chairman of the governors’ forum, I was told by the security in a meeting chaired by the former President, including the former minister of finance, that at any point in time, the government must leave money behind in case Nigeria goes to war for six months,” Amaechi said in a live television interview. They didn’t leave us enough money to last us three weeks by the time we arrived. And I was speaking as the chairman of the governors’ forum at the time.”
Chidoka, who is also the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said in a statement released Tuesday that the Jonathan administration left a foreign reserve of $28.6 billion. He also mentioned that the administration handed over $5.6 billion in Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited dividends to President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as a 2015 budget of over N4 trillion and $2.2 billion in the Excess Crude Account.
He reminded Amaechi that he did not become a minister until six months after Jonathan stepped down, making it necessary to provide the former Rivers governor with the facts, according to him.
Chidoka said he was surprised and disappointed by comments made by the minister in a statement titled “Gov. Amaechi’s Statement on 2015 Foreign Reserve: Setting the Records Straight.” “The Minister’s remark is unfortunate and unsupported by facts readily available in the public domain,” he said. “As a member of the Federal Executive Council who passed the baton to the current administration, I am disturbed that the ’empty treasury’ urban legend is still being discussed by a senior government official.”
“I’m also unsure what the Honourable Minister means when he says, ‘By the time we came in,’ because he was not appointed Minister until six months after the May 29 Handover.” Given that he was not a Minister at the time of the handover, it may be necessary to re-present the facts to him. “According to official data still available on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s website, President Buhari inherited a foreign reserve of $28.6 billion on May 29, 2015, as well as $5.6 billion in Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited dividends. The outgoing Jonathan administration also handed over a 2015 budget of over 4 trillion Naira to the incoming administration. “Furthermore, on May 29, 2015, the Jonathan administration left $2.2 billion in the Excess Crude Account.” (As confirmed by both the immediate past minister and the current minister at the Ministry of Finance.) “To put things in perspective, I’d like the Minister of Transportation to note the country’s economic indices after 1849 days of President Jonathan’s presidency, from May 06, 2010, when he took over from President Umaru Yar’Adua, to May 29, 2015, when he handed over.”
“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an economy that was the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Africa, according to the World Investment Report prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).” Direct Foreign Investment totaled around 35.25 billion dollars during President Jonathan’s five years in office. You can compare this to the Direct Foreign Investment of 11.55 billion dollars received from 2016 to 2020.” Jonathan handed over a $550 billion economy and a stable exchange rate of N199 to $1 at the end of his five years in office, according to the former aviation minister.”
“The Jonathan administration handed over a $550 billion economy (Africa’s largest and 26th in the world) and a diversified economy,” he continued. “On May 29, 2015, President Jonathan left behind a stable economy, with the Naira trading at 199 to the dollar and Nigeria’s inflation rate in the single digits. Today, 2406 days into the current administration, the headline inflation rate is hovering around 15%. “Today, the unemployment rate under President Jonathan was 7.5 percent (better than the European Union).” Unemployment is at 33%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, six and a half years after Governor Amaechi’s government took office.
“In May 2015, Nigeria’s poverty rate was 32 percent before the government came in.” We don’t need to compare it to the current 71 percent after 78 months of President Buhari’s presidency. “As of May 2015, our external debt was $7.3 billion, and our Gini coefficient (degree of inequality) was comparable to China’s.” Our external debt has risen to $37.9 billion as of September 2021, after 343 weeks and four days of the current administration. It’s worth noting that bilateral and commercial loans account for more than half of the total. “Given the foregoing information, I am confident that the Minister of Transportation will reconsider his fixation on the past and instead focus on the clear and present danger that an economy on the path to Argentina faces – sovereign debt default.” “In the face of declining revenues, available public data revealed that external debt servicing consumed $1.82 billion from January to September 2021, up 43.9 percent from $1.27 billion in the same period of 2020.
“From January to September 2021, domestic debt servicing increased to N1.74 trillion, compared to N1.53 trillion in the same period of 2020.” “These issues, along with the asphyxiating gridlock that Apapa port has created in the economy, should concern the Honourable Minister.”
“This administration’s economic policies and heightened insecurity have left the country comatose 2406 days after, a clear 557 days (1 year and five months) more than President Jonathan governed Nigeria; this administration’s economic policies and heightened insecurity have left the country comatose.” He urged Amaechi and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to improve their image by enacting the electors’ act amendment bill.
“Minister Amaechi and the APC government should stop playing the blame game and concentrate on repairing their tarnished reputation by signing the electoral bill passed by a legislature they control,” Chidoka declared.