Depleting Excess Crude Account Causing Nigeria’s Economic Woes – Obasanjo
A former Nigerian President, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has blamed the present economic woes facing the nation on the depletion of the Excess Crude Account and the external reserves.
Mr Obasanjo made the assertion on Monday at a meeting with women leaders from the south-west states held at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The women from Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun and Ondo States had met with the former leader to express their displeasure over what they termed the parlous state of the Nigerian economy and some knotty issues in the polity.
Insecurity in the north-east, corruption, girl child education and effective representation of women topped the talks.
After listening to the barrage of challenges slowing down the nation’s socio economic development, as listed by the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Alaba Lawson, the former President blamed it all on bad leadership, saying “the country does not deserve the current state it has found itself”.
He said that his administration left $25 billion in the excess crude accounts in 2007 which was shored up to about $35 billion by the Yar’Adua’s administration, while he left $45 billion in external reserve.
These funds, he said, had been mismanaged by the present administration.
The former President condemned the spate of corruption, economic downturn, insecurity and alleged impunity in the system.
Mr Obasanjo further tried to allay agitations over the possible peaceful conduct of the forth coming general elections, asking Nigerians to vote according to their consciences.
“Vote for credible candidates,” he told Nigerians and further asked politicians to play by the rules of the game.
He expressed belief in the unity of the nation and assured the women of his readiness to proffer practical suggestions based on experience on issues.
The former Nigerian leader, however, canvassed diversification of the nation’s economy in the face of the fall in the price of crude in the international market to agricultural based.
Mr Obasanjo also denied any rancour with President Goodluck Jonathan, but he had on different occasions of recent expressed his grouse with the present administration, condemning what he called wide spread corruption.
He told a gathering in Lagos that the Legislature had shrouded its corruption in the opaque nature of its budget and had been paid through direct transfer of money to cover up wrongs done by the executive, thereby making the legislature fail in its oversight responsibility.
Mr Obasanjo said that part of why he had expressed his frustration was because the present administration had failed to respond to some of his correspondent to the President.
He said: “When I was President, I have my predecessors who will come to me, some with written notes, and I will give them my reaction and if I cannot give an answer or reaction immediately, I will say give me time let me do something and I will react. And that is the way I believe it should be. He should be able to come talk to me and I will give him an answer”.
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