Written by Isiaka Wakili
Such probe, he said, should extend to past administrations dating back 1960, the beginning of the first republic.
Jonathan spoke at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday during a valedictory session of his cabinet that lasted five hours.
He said he supported the clamour for investigation of corruption cases but that it would amount to witch hunt and insincerity if it is limited to his administration.
He said the debts owed by states and those owed by the country from 1960 till date should be probed.
The president said the incoming government should equally probe the allocation of oil wells, oil fields, marginal wells and others to find out if laws were followed.
“I believe that anybody calling for probe must ensure that these probes are extended beyond the Jonathan Administration. Otherwise, to me, it would be witch-hunting. If you are very sincere, then it is not just the Jonathan Administration that should be probed.
“A number of things have gone wrong and we have done our best to fix them. The Attorney-General is aware of massive judgment debts.
“If we aggregate all of them, it is almost going to $1 billion. How did we come to this kind of huge judgment debts? These issues should be probed. “How do you allocate our oil wells, oil fields, marginal wells and all that? Do we follow our laws? All these should be probed. And I believe all these and many more areas should be looked at.”
The president, who said his government operated under an extremely difficult situation, regretted that having done well, he was still politically criticised.
The President said his government had done well under very difficult situations adding that he suffered “lots of criticism” for political reasons.
“I’ve always thrown the challenge that those who criticise us should compare what we’ve done in the various sectors to what others have done. I may not need to enumerate, but if you look at the rail system and what we’ve done within this period, the oil sector where there has been so much attack.
“One good thing we did was the Nigerian content law that revolutionised the oil industry. There was a lot of fabrication going on in Lagos and other places, but it was never like this before.
“Nigerians are playing key roles in the oil sector, people sometimes forget this… but the Nigerian local content has really helped so many Nigerians to play big in the oil sector.
“The agriculture, power sectors and maybe in foreign relations, from 1960 to date, we’ve been members of the securitycouncil as non-permanent members five times. Out of these five times, two times was within the five years of our administration.
“In education, the road system, we’ve added Kashimbilla to our dams, we’ve done wonderfully well in sports within this period; micro, small and medium enterprises and of course, the financial inclusion within this period is more than ever before.
“We witnessed the longest ASUU strike. I don’t think we’ve ever witnessed a strike that lasted for six months and we believe that, that strike was partially politically motivated. Otherwise, lecturers cannot troop out for six months.
“There were the terror attacks. We know Boko Haram pre-dates this administration, but immediately after the elections, I believe because of local and external factors, they became very vicious, extremely destructive, killing people and destroying properties”, he said.
The president alleged that the recent fuel scarcity was a clear act of sabotage aimed at destabilising his government.
“This government has few days to go. That’s definitely not the time you expect massive strikes, using marketers and unions; unions asking for increase in salaries at a time oil prices have dropped and volumes have dropped. None of the international oil companies is increasing salaries, but our unions wanted 11 percent increase in allowances and so on and so forth and went on strike.
“There was a 21-day reserve in this country. It’s not as if we had no products, but they just refused to lift. Diesel was deregulated long ago. So, the issue was not the product, but people who felt they must bring this government to its knees even when they know that we’ve few days to leave. But we thank God we’re getting over it and God will see us through”, he said.
Jonathan said he would dissolve his cabinet after today’s “formal handover process” and dinner which, he said, his ministers must attend.
“Looking at our political history in this country, somebody doesn’t even know, you just hear a big gun and you’re out. But here we’re preparing to exit government on May 29. So, we thank God, we remain grateful to Nigerians for giving us the opportunity to serve.
“Let me also thank you for your various positive comments and encomiums though I think you exaggerated some of them, but it’s always expected. When you go for a burial, you don’t abuse the dead body.
“Even among the cabinet members there were no major issues. The minister of mines and development did mention about two ministers that were a bit cantankerous at a point. I was once told though I was not here then that one minister resigned because of antagonism by another minister and the then president then couldn’t call the other minister to order and the person left.
“But we never had that kind of extreme situations even though as human beings, there must be differences, but within this period, it was not pronounced and we managed ourselves as members of the same team.”
Earlier, the Minister of Communications, Omobola Johnson shocked her colleagues by asking them to return the e-class iPads given them by Galaxy Backbone.
“As you go, please return your e-class iPad to Galaxy Backbone”, she pleaded.
Our correspondent reports that two prominent Ministers, that of Petroleum Resources and Finance, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala respectively, were absent.
Okonjo-Iweala was earlier sighted at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa and took part in the group snapshots taken by council members, but did not return there for the valedictory service.
Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Hauwa Bappa, predicted that Jonathan would return to power in 2019. “Sir, insha’Allah, you’ll be back. Chief Obasanjo led the government in 1979 and came back later. Sir, yours won’t be an exception, Buhari left in 1985 and came back 30 years later, sir, and yours will not be shorter. In 2019, you’ll be back”, she said.
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