Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My critics implemented a shoddy privatisation programme – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has berated his opponents, particularly those who handled the past privitisation exercise, saying they are now “opening their mouth wide” to attack his administration.

Jonathan, who said this while addressing Nigerian professionals in New York, United States, on Monday said the privatisation of public utilities by his administration was being done in a transparent manner.

He also said the problem of the Boko Haram insurgency was being exploited to blackmail his administration.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria report, the President said that so far $3bn had been realised without any form of corruption compared to the privatisation that took place in the past.

Jonathan’s critics that played key role in the past privatisation included former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and an ex-minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. Berating his critics, the President said, “In the country’s past privatisation, we know what happened there and yet those who sat over the exercise are the same people who are opening their mouths wide to attack this administration.”

But speaking through his Media Adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye, El-Rufai said that the Jonathan administration did not understand transparency.He challenged the President to be specific in his allegations.

The former minister said, “President Jonathan is dealing in innuendo as is the tradition of his government. He should make specific allegations against specific persons since he claims to know what went on in the previous privatisation regime.

“We are all witnesses to how rules have been bent in the ongoing power privatisation in favour of investors with close ties to government. This government does not understand transparency, and is in no position to practise it.”

Reacting to the allegation of shoddy performance as the chairman of the National Council of Privatisation, Atiku said he was proud of his achievements.

Atiku who spoke through his Media Adviser, Malam Garba Shehu, expressed confidence that his tenure was not in President Jonathan’s frame of reference.

Shehu said, “(He) acquitted himself well when he held sway at the NCP.

“We are very proud of Turaki’s legacies at the NCP and that his vindication is there for all to see in the reports of the separate investigations by both the Senate and the House. We have our records. Let us see his own.”

On security, Jonathan said that in the past, the major security challenge facing the nation was armed robbery. He said that terrorism had emerged as the major challenge in the country now.

Jonathan, however, stressed that the challenge of terrorism was being seriously tackled by the government.

He stated, “I appreciate that we have a serious security challenge with Boko Haram insurgency. This is the area where the government is being blackmailed, but by the grace of God this will soon be a thing of the past.

“Before now it was robbery, until terrorism took us by surprise. Soon it will be a thing of the past.”

On Nigerians in Diaspora, the president acknowledged that they had excelled in their respective professions in the US.

He stressed “Nigerians in Diaspora are an important group particularly those in the US.”

According to him, the administration needs them to work in different areas of the Nigerian economy.

“You do not have to relocate to Nigeria to make the necessary impact, you can come and establish businesses to create jobs for your brothers and sisters at home,” Jonathan said.

The coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in her remarks said that the country’s economy was growing stronger, noting that the Jonathan’s transformation agenda was helping the economy.

culled from The Punch

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