Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday stirred another controversy as he accused a former minister in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan of stealing about $6 billion of oil funds. Oshiomhole, who was a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to the United States last week, said US officials gave the information to the Nigerian delegation during the trip. But the governor, who has been locked in a raging war of words with former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over the management of the nation’s resources by the last administration, did not identify who was the “thieving” minister. Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with the president, Oshiomhole expressed delight that Nigeria now has a president who talks with confidence unlike “a president that is blabbing and is not sure of what the issues are.”
Reacting to criticism from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the president’s visit to Washington, Oshiomhole said he did not expect the opposition party to be praising a government doing better than it did while the opposition party was in government. Oshiomhole said so bad was the situation under Jonathan that members of the Buhari delegation were told in the US how the former minister stole $6 billion. He said the PDP succeeded in supervising Nigeria’s liquidation. “The PDP destroyed the country. Senior officials of the State Department said one minister under PDP cornered as much as $6 billion in oil fund,” he added.
Oshiomhole, who visited the president alongside his Kebbi State counterpart, Senator Atiku Bagudu, also spoke on the leadership crisis in the National Assembly. He said the crisis would soon be over as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other stakeholders were making efforts to resolve the power tussle. Oshiomhole and Bagudu were chosen by the APC leadership to mediate in the leadership crisis rocking the Senate as a result of the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate president against the party’s choice, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Oshiomhole said after meeting with the warring senators on Sunday, he and Bagudu decided to brief the president on the outcome of their meetings ahead of the Senate resumption today. He said with the emergence of the principal officers of the Senate, their intervention was just to ensure that there would be an all-inclusive leadership in the National Assembly.
“I feel the position now is: how do you ensure that having elected this two (Senate president and his deputy), that the remaining positions that are within the discretion of the APC caucus in the Senate are distributed in a way as to give the other group that were shut out of the process a sense of belonging? “We are convinced that a winner-takes-all approach in this case won’t work and building peace is making concession and power works better when it acknowledges that even the person who is powerless has a right to exist. “My brother (Bagudu) and I spent some time with the senators last night (Sunday) and we had what I think was a useful conversation.
We have come today to report to the president what transpired at the meeting and make few suggestions to him and I think for me there is light, as they say, at the end of the tunnel. “One thing is clear, we are all APC family; we are all committed to change. We recognise that there are few issues; people may not be comfortable, but we have what it takes to resolve the issues so that in the National Assembly we will have an APC Senate caucus that is united, that is ready to support the change agenda as the president is committed to and work along with PDP. “Nobody is suggesting that we shouldn’t work with PDP.
PDP exists in the House, just as APC had existed in the House under the PDP government. So, at some point there has to be a way to engage bipartisan. So, that is basically why we are here,” Oshiomhole said. Shedding more light on their discussion with the president, Bagudu said the issue at stake was not about what should be done or what should be left undone. The governor said the important thing was that the APC caucus members in the Senate were desirous of evolving a solution that would bring inclusiveness so that the Senate to make it serve the interest of Nigeria as promised by APC.