…Minister denies seeking asylum
15 April 2015, Lagos – No fewer than six countries have already refused to grant an asylum request by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Business Council for Africa (BCA) said in its just-released monthly report, noting that about US$ 1 trillion is the latest estimated figure of the looting of the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 2005 alone.
But the minister has debunked the story, saying she was not seeking asylum in a statement issued by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr Ohi Alegbe.
The report, dated March 2015, focused extensively on Nigeria’s general elections. It said the notorious Minister, whose impunity is known to have been closely-protected by President Goodluck Jonathan, will be coming under the microscope for the first time in her Ministerial career.
“Given her reputation, it comes as no surprise to learn that 6 countries have already refused to grant her asylum to live in their countries as she now wishes to leave Nigeria at the earliest possible opportunity,” it said.
BCA recalled President-elect Muhammadu Buhari lamenting that the rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption, one where stealing is not corruption but a way of life, and that his administration will pursue all public offices and individuals who are believed to be guilty of corruption.
It observed that despite an earlier promise, it is now understood that Buhari’s anti-corruption fishing net will include Ministers currently serving under President Goodluck Jonathan. Alison-Madueke’s departure from Nigeria is likely to be followed by several other PDP elders, party members and supporters as well as some former Government officials, as Buhari’s anti-corruption drive will be far-reaching.
“It will be very interesting to learn in the coming months exactly how far back in Nigeria’s history his administration will go in the pursuance of those who have robbed Nigeria of US$ 1 trillion, which is the latest estimated figure of theft from the Nigerian treasury between the period 1960-2005. Given that President Jonathan’s administration is considered the most corrupt of any of its predecessors, that figure is going to be considerably magnified, but whether the new President will wish to pursue former Heads of State is a matter of interest and considerable debate to Nigerian observers. It is this subject that is primarily responsible for Buhari’s success in winning the election as well as his campaign promises to eradicate Boko Haram, revive the economy and rebuild Nigeria to make its position as the number one country in Africa.
While BCA agreed that the March/April 2015 were “the most credible elections in Nigeria’s history”, it said they could not be called the most incorruptible.
On the contrary, it referred to them as the worst because of the amount of money that the PDP so freely and openly spent on trying to secure the re-election of Mr. Jonathan.
“The stories and reports from throughout the 36 States of the amount of money distributed by the PDP to elders, rulers, church leaders, unions and youth leaders amongst others in an endeavour to favour the voters towards the PDP has backfired badly,” the report said.
BCA said that if the 2011 elections were considered bad, the 2015 elections will undoubtedly go down as the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history, certainly since 1999, as the amount of money being distributed as bribes primarily by the PDP so very openly would readily confirm.
It reported that since November when campaigning began, President Jonathan and General Buhari during their travels made no fewer than 109 promises of what they intend to achieve if given the mandate in the presidential election.
“President Jonathan’s campaign continued to hinge on his party’s Transformation Agenda and the achievements of his Government in the last 4 years, particularly in the agricultural sector, job creation and the empowerment of women,” the report said. In that regard, it credited Jonathan as having achieved a great deal during his tenure.
It said it was however Jonathan’s failures – rampant corruption, insecurity, inability to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency, failure in such sectors as the economy, and power in particular, and the overall feeling that he was ruled rather than led – that have cost him his re-election bid.
The report also stated that in the 2015 elections, up to 250 Nigerians lost their lives, describing that deplorable record as speaking volumes for the control achieved by the Police at the campaign rallies by the two main candidates.
It described the cost of the campaigns of the two main parties as “simply staggering”, noting that by the first week of March, Buhari had spent some N332.58 billion as compared to the expenditure of President Jonathan which amounted to N1.05 trillion.
“This is without taking into account the cost of other expenses for such items as campaign rallies, where the PDP has spent N1.06 billion against Muhammadu Buhari’s APC’s N595.08 million, and clearly demonstrates the desperate lengths that the PDP have gone to in order to try and secure the re-election of President Jonathan.”
– Sahara Reporters