The Senior Special Assistant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Public Affairs, Ajuri Ngelale has questioned the morals of the PDP over its aspiration to attempt a comeback at the helms of power in the country after a thorough 16 years of misrule.
The delectable aide of the president was audibly enraged throughout the 5-hour session of ABAT MEDIA SPACES, a weekly Twitter Interactive program hosted by the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Centre to showcase the capacity of frontrunner presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the achievements of the APC so far.
Recalling the state of the nation when his principal took over in 2015, Ajuri described the reign of the PDP as ‘criminal in nature’ and ’berated the public bureaucratic corruption’ that took place whilst they were in charge speaking specifically on the Subsidy regime, Excess Crude Account administration and general resource mismanagement.
“The subsidy regime that was running before 2015 and the subsidy regime that has been running since 2016 are two different animals that portend to achieve the same objective…
“…What we had before was a subsidy regime from the early 2000s to 2015 that essentially the NNPC on its own, paid a series of faceless briefcase companies. People will hide behind Shell companies and all of that to submit a voucher saying that I brought 100,000 litres of PMS into the shores of Nigeria from a refinery in Germany or Singapore and as a result of that, you owe me so so amount of money. That was what was going on for over a decade”
“As a result of that, such a system is prone to abuse; so you’d have a voucher irrespective of whether they brought in zero or half of the product”
“The NNPC will then approve those vouchers to be paid regardless of any due diligence on whether those products were delivered into the country or not.”
Pressing further, he said “In 2009, the subsidy regime of Nigeria cost $2.6bn. That was what it takes the NNPC to subsidise our fuel in 2009. In 2010, same subsidy, for the same population cost the country $4.3bn. In 2011, the subsidy payment totalled fourteen, I said one-four ($14bn) up from the $4.3bn that it cost just a year ago.’
“Wrap your head round what I’m telling you. Between 2012-2014, the subsidy payment to NNPC averaged annualy, $9bn. Every year from 2012-2014.”
Giving a comparative analogy of the same payment since President Muhammadu Buhari took over in 2015, Ajuri said;
“In 2021, fuel subsidy in Nigeria costs $2.2bn. I don’t really need to say more about the difference. The subsidy regime that our government has operated since 2016 is such that it removes all those corrupt briefcase companies from the import business which were basically friends of either the president, governors, some senators or party officials as at that time. We removed all those people and said we are not going to deal with private importers anymore. NNPC was made to be in charge of all importation and er could easily account for all of the expenditures of the import volumes brought into the country”
On Debt management and Excess Crude Account, Ajuri questioned the source of the claims that the country’s debt had tripled under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“People have been raising the point that President Muhammadu Buhari has accumulated three times the amount of debt than all the previous administration. Is that possible?”
The Presidential aide directed carriers of such information to the website of the Debt Management Office for the Year-On-Year national debt profile.
“In 2010, the total national debt, which is inclusive of domestic and foreign debt was $35bn. By 2014, this is at the time when we have had the highest revenue in history and after President Obasanjo had provided over $60bn in foreign reserves, which was a record. You had billions of dollars in the Excess Crude Account that was set aside by the Obasanjo administration in addition to foreign reserves and then on top of that you had the highest oil prices in the history of the country. In view of all of that available portfolio where you can spend from, you accumulated between 2010 and 2014, a debt that grew from $35bn to $67bn. That means we have added $32bn to our debt profile between 2010 and 2014. That does not include the depletion of the foreign reserves, not including the depletion of the Excess Crude Account. That is what happened.
“No infrastructures, No social investment programs and these are the people that are coming out with the audacity to say that they are coming to save the country”
So, what is the national debt today? The national debt of the country as of January 1, 2022 is $95bn. Meaning from 2014 to January 2022, we had added essentially $28bn. Meanwhile Jonathan’s administration took over $30bn, for no reason, when they had all that wealth.
We now put Buhari’s regime through recession, a global pandemic and we were still able to achieve all the infrastructures I have laid out including all the roads, railways, airports, seaports and the social investment programs that you know about”
Ajuri also explained how the Jonathan’s administration took the foreign reserves down to $28bn and the excess Crude account spent down from about $50bn to $2bn which president Muhammadu Buhari inherited.
“This is a recorded conversation and I am not afraid. Between 2004 and 2015, that’s 11 years, you had the ECA. Out of $107bn that accrued in those period, $105 was spent before President Muhammadu Buhari came in. Tell me what they spent it on!”
“$2bn is what he inherited and it has not done above that since he took office because of the low oil prices.
That is where we are.”
Giving a record of how the APC administration had spent the $2bn inherited from the ECA, Ajuri said the Buhari administration, in a well publicised deal, sent $500m directly to the USA for the purchase of 12 Tucano jets. Another $500m was spent on several military wares details of which were given to all the governors at the FEC before approval. $500m was used as seed capital for the NSIA to form the Presidential Infrastructure Development Funds project which has helped several strategic infrastructures going on around the country today.
The presidential aide believes reasonable Nigerians will shun politics of hearsay and give the party an opportunity to complement the gains of the current administration so far, despite limited resources, by voting massively for the APC in the 2023 general elections.