Tuesday, 6 October 2015

I have been free from blame on Diezani – Oshiomhole


Oshiomhole, who has severally condemned the massive fraud allegedly perpetrated by ministers in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, has come under attacks in many quarters, particularly from members of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday said he has been vindicated by the alleged financial scam trial involving a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in London.

Diezani and her brothers, who are directors of Hadley Petroleum Solutions Limited, are on trial for alleged bribery and money laundering in London.

Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor said that what is happening with the former minister in London is a tip of the iceberg, considering the massive corruption perpetrated during the last administration.

He said: “For me I don’t think anybody should be surprised because the most favorable commentator on the Nigerian condition, on the economy, the polity and society, agree that our economy was badly managed over the past several years.

“I have not seen one commentator that disagrees.  Even when they talk about rebasing and so what. Have you rebased the level of poverty? Have you rebased prosperity? Have you rebased unemployment? Have you rebased homelessness? Have you rebased hunger?

“So I have not seen anyone that says Nigerian people are doing better. This was never my issue. I was only a spokesman of National Economic Council. But in this country when you speak out, all the arrows should be fashioned to attack you. But one of the things I learnt in life at the age of 17 when I got into the leadership of labour, is that the truth does not require supporters club. It can stand on its feet anyday. You can hit it. You can kick it. You can bomb it, but you can’t destroy it.

“The truth is that a lot of money was stolen and what you are seeing is just a tip of the iceberg, because when you imagine what accrues to Nigeria, consistently from 140 dollars, averaging 108 dollars over a long period of time and yet your treasury is empty. You were running a budget deficit, you were devoting 85 percent of your budget for four consecutive years on recurrent, you were borrowing and you draw the entire pensions fund. Yesterday I saw a lot of analysis on how pension funds should be invested on infrastructure.

On the involvement of Nigeria government on Diezani’s arrest in London, he said: “It’s not about who has hand in what. I think it’s about law and order. In other climes, institutions do their work. They are not at the beck and call of political authority. They have their mandate and the law specifies this and it is scrupulously followed.

“I’m the happiest person because I’ve been in government for seven years without being in power. I was in government, I couldn’t call a commissioner of police and talk as a security officer, I’m haunted by all manners of persons. You kill the snake in Edo, they will put the snake on life support in Abuja and they keep harassing us.

“Now all those venoms are dead and buried, for the first time I’m excited and happy not just for personal benefit, but for the changes I’m beginning to see.”