[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last time Nigeria fell into recession, it was because of the global financial crisis. This time around, the Buhari administration said, the cause is a person: the former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
“The oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as 120 dollars and peace in the Nigeria Delta, said Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
“Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly, that is where the story turns sour.”
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement and corruption.”
The presidential aide was reacting to statements credited to former President Goodluck Jonathan and Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, the Caretaker Chairman of the party, to the effect that “under the previous administration, there was money but now things are very hard’’.
“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.’’
Shehu added that the acquisition by public officers and their cohorts, of private jets, luxury yachts and the accumulation of expensive property portfolios world-wide continued unabated.
“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.
“Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries.
“This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy. Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing.”
The presidential aide further lamented that Nigeria could not record a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years, saying that “in short the money was mismanaged.
“Such was the looting that even the goose that was laying the golden egg was being systematically starved.
“The direct contractual costs of oil produced in the form of cash calls, remained unpaid.’’
He, however, maintained that the President Buhari’s administration was left with the task of facing serious economic challenges from the oil majors, which included the demand for six billion dollars owed by Nigeria for oil that had already been sold or stolen.