In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, former Nigerian president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gave his two cents on the state of Nigerian economy at present.
He also says it is not true that the incumbent president met an empty treasury.
During the interview with one of the world’s top financial rankers and analysts, Jonathan said he was not oblivious of the fact that he was being investigated by the present administration.
“Of course, obviously we would be investigated and I am being investigated. Yes, investigations are going on.”
He also reserved some information in order to respect the pertinent duties of the government to investigate his administration.
“I wouldn’t want to comment on certain things because when a government is working, it is not proper for the immediate past president to make certain statements. I would allow the government to do the work they are supposed to do. After all the investigations, the whole story would be properly chronicled.”
In the course of the interview, Jonathan clears the air that he was not to be blamed for the current Nigerian economic crisis. Explaining himself, Jonathan says that what has happened to Nigeria in the past one year is rooted in Nigeria’s large dependence on oil.
According to the African Sun Times Man of the year, “Nigeria somehow depends on oil”. Thus if there is any hiccup in the industry, will definitely reflect in the economy of the nation. However he recalled the pressure from state governors to draw from the national oil reserve fund to supplement revenue allocations from the federation account.
He also did not fail to include his success in diversifying the economy within 5 years of his reign by empowering such sectors as manufacturing/industries and agriculture. He also admits that he did not do very well in the solid mineral sector.
On the public statement of President Buhari on meeting an empty treasury, Jonathan dared to debunk the notion.
“That is not true. There is no way he would have inherited empty treasury and at the same time give bailout to the states. It is not possible.”
Jonathan recognizes Nigeria as “a fairly robust economy”. He also pointed to the common tendency of politicizing certain matters and blowing a situation out of proportion.
On fighting corruption, Jonathan implied that it is always a common tradition to blame past governments of corruption. As much as he admitted that his reign was not corruption-free, he said he made policies that effectively deterred potential culprits from ‘touching money’.
However the anti-corruption system was frustrated in the oil sector.
“The very people that have been accusing us of corruption are the very people that frustrated it. It’s unfortunate”