The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has decried the handling of the federation account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), as two federal agencies bleeding the country dry.
This came as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, warned that Nigeria would continue to suffer political and socio-economic dislocations if leaders at all levels do not take full responsibilities for their actions or inactions in governance.
At the opening of the 40th annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja, Oshiomhole agreed with Prof Wole Soyinka who delivered the lead paper at the conference that unless Nigerians were prepared to stand up against bad governance, the country may cease to exist in the next 15 to 20 years.
Oshiomhole, who was dissecting Soyinka’s lecture, said that although things were bad in 1999, they are terrible today and went on to cite education, health, electricity.
The former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said that presently, Nigeria does not have a record of how much of its crude is exported daily but relies on figures issued by oil companies.
According to the governor, since oil accounts for over 80 per cent of the country’s resources, a lack of transparency in the way the sector is managed automatically translates to the fact that the economy was not being managed transparently.
“In May, it was revealed that the NNPC had illegally deducted over $2 billion from the federation account in the guise of funding subsidy. You can imagine how much would have been deducted by the end of the year if an average of $2 billion is deducted every four months,” he said.
While insisting that providing fuel subsidy for Nigerians was a good thing, Oshiomhole, however, said that it was not proper for NNPC and PPPRA officials to take the opportunity to shortchange the country.
He challenged the Federal Government to immediately publish details of how many litres of fuel Nigerians consume per day and how much has been paid to the various companies in the last four years because, according to him, many of the figures being dished out by the PPPRA was phantom.
“If we are bleeding the nation from source as NNPC and PPPRA are doing, our human development indices which has placed us on the bottom 10 in the global ranking will further depreciate,” he stated.
To critics who thought that he would change his position on things since he became governor, Oshiomhole explained that he had rather become more radicalised since he assumed office in November 2008 because of the quality and volume of official data now in his possession.
He agreed with Soyinka that if things continue with the way they are in the next decade or more, the country may deteriorate.
“Miracles don’t save a nation,” the governor declared, adding that from 1999 to 2007, more jobs were lost in Nigeria than created even with the NEEDS programme which promised seven million new jobs.”
Soyinka decried the attitude of political office holders in always passing the buck and making lame duck excuses for the nation’s economic woes.
He said the time had come for those in government to be transparent and accountable to Nigerians.
“We should not hide under the caveat of heating up the polity to sweep under the carpets the atrocities and misrule of our leaders under the carpet. There must be accountability and transparency in governance.”