Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi said yesterday that governors demanded sharing of money from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration because it was not properly managed.
On Thursday, April 14, 2016, former Coordinating minister of the conomy and finance minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the zero political will to save under Jonathan was responsible for Nigeria’s economic woes.
She said this at George Washington University, United States of America where she spoke on “Inequality, growth and resilience.”
Since then, she has consistently maintained that governors, not Jonathan insisted proceeds in the Excess Crude Account be shared outrightly.
But, speaking on One on One, an interview programme on national television, on Wednesday, Amaechi said Okonjo-Iweala was only “partially correct.
“I heard Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala say that in the past administration, governors were unwilling to save; she is 30 percent correct and 70 percent incorrect.
“In 2009, we had an economic crisis, so, President Umaru Musa Yar’adua put $1 billion in the economy so, no one felt the crisis. I can’t remember what was left in that account, the Excess Crude Account.
“During Goodluck Jonathan, every month, when the governors went for the National Economic Council (NEC)meeting, the amount in the account kept dropping.
“If we asked about what happened to the money, the response we got was that the president approved for it to be spent.
“So, we said can we please share this money because the rate at which it was going, the president would have continually approved $1 billion to spend and we won’t know what we are spending on and they won’t give us an account of how it was spent. So, we told the Vice president (Namadi Sambo) and Okonjo-Iweala that there was a need for us to share part of this money and we began to agitate.
“They now agreed to share part of the money and they did. In the first six months of Jonathan, oil subsidy increased. Governors started complaining and then, we had a meeting in the office of the president’s wife.
“At the meeting, we asked for assurance that the Presidency would no longer collect oil subsidy and he promised. It is not right for Okonjo-Iweala to say governors were not willing to save; governors were willing to save but we insisted on sharing the money when we saw that the money was not properly managed.”
The former speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly said he agreed to serve as a minister because he believed in thisadministration’s capacity to serve.
“Refusing to serve when President Muhammadu Buhari invited me to serve would mean that I did not have confidence in him. I am serving under the president because I believe he is the man to help us at this particular time,” Amaechi said.