Thursday, December 12, 2013

Presidency reacts as Obasanjo raises concerns over management of oil, economy

The Presidency on Wednesday reacted to a leaked letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan, accusing him of ineptitude and acts calculated at destroying the country.
The presidency described the letter as reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and of containing “indecorous charges leveled against him and his administration by the former head of state.”
In the leaked letter, General Obasanjo said some of Nigeria’s development partners were politically frustrated into withdrawing from the Olokola Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project.
He said the Olokola and Brass LNG projects were viable and would have taken Nigeria close to the lofty production levels of Qatar, as an LNG producing country.
Obasanjo added: “Please do not frustrate Brass LNG and in the interest of what is best for Nigerian economy, bring back OK LNG into active implementation.
“The major international oil companies have withheld investment in projects in Nigeria. If they have not completely moved out, they are disinvesting. Nigeria which is the Saudi of Africa in oil and gas terms is being overtaken by Angola only because necessary decisions are not made timely and appropriately.
“Mr. President let me again plead with you to be decisive on the oil and gas sector so that Nigeria may not lag behind. Oil with gas is being discovered all over Africa.
“New technology is producing oil from shale elsewhere.
“We should make hay while the sun shines. I hope we can still save Ok and Brass LNG projects”. Obasanjo added that three things were imperative in the oil and gas sector. He listed these as the need to “stop oil stealing, encourage investments, especially by the IOCs, and improve the present poor management of the industry.”
Obasanjo’s letter also touched on politics.
Responding to the letter, Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said “…It is highly unbecoming, mischievous and provocative that a letter written by a former head of state and respected elder statesman to President Jonathan has been deliberately leaked to the mass media in a deplorable effort to impugn the integrity of the president and denigrate his commitment to giving Nigeria the best possible leadership”.
The presidency said “while many patriotic, objective and well-meaning Nigerians have already condemned the leaked letter as self-serving, hypocritical, malicious, indecent, and very disrespectful of the highest office in the land, President Jonathan has directed that none of his aides or any government official should join issues with Chief Obasanjo over it.
“The president himself will, at the appropriate time, offer a full personal response to the most reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous charges leveled against him and his administration by the former head of state”.
Obasanjo had in his letter accused the president of ineptitude and of taking actions calculated at destroying Nigeria.
“Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped,” Obasanjo had said in the 18-page letter dated December 2, 2013.
Obasanjo said Jonathan failed to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people, stem corruption, promote national unity and strengthen national security.

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