Oby Ezekwesili Vs. President Goodluck Jonathan: The Debate Should Go Beyond The Diversion Of $67 Billion-Femi Falana

Femi Falana-Photo: New York Times
By Femi Falana

Two weeks ago, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister took the Umaru Yaradua and Goodluck Jonathan Administrations to the cleaners when she accused them of wasting the $67 billion left in the Federation Account by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime. As usual, the Federal Government was embarrassed by the indictment. More so, that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo has seized every opportunity to accuse President Jonathan of incompetence, negligence and corruption. of President to superintend over the affairs of the nation. Instead of joining iissues with the former Minister over the serious allegation of gross economic and financial crime the Jonathan Administration has decided to divert the attention of Nigerians by resorting to cheap blackmail and vulgar abuse.

While pleading guilty, perharps unconsciously, to the charge of illegal diversion of the said sum of $67 billion the Jonathan Administration asked Nigerians to believe that Mrs Ezekwesili also mismanaged the billions of Naira budgetted for education under her watch. Her bona fides to accuse the Government of economic crime was challenged when the former Minister was alleged to have engaged in the questionable acquisition of a large landed property in Abuja for building a church for her husband. For being a member of the Board of Soros Foundation the Federal Government wants Nigerians to believe that the former Vice President of the World Bank has become a foreign agent! In her reaction to the diversionary official rejoinder, the former Minister maintained her stand and challenged the Jonathan regime to a public debate on the allegation of financial recklessness on the part of the Federal Government. Convinced that it could not win the debate the invitation was hurriedly turned down by the Jonathan regime.

It is a shame that the Federal Government has rejected a golden opportunity to call off the bluff of the arrogant officials of the Olusegun Obasanjo regime who are trying to hoodwink Nigerians to accept that the Nigerian neo-colonial economy was better managed when they were in power. Instead of running from pillar to post over the allegation made by the former Minister the Jonathan regime should have explained how the Account was drawn down to service an unproductive bureaucracy and fund the thriving corruption industry since 2007. Having done that It have proceeded to ask the Olusegun Obasanjo regime to account for the N26 trillion earned from oil and non oil sectors from 1999-2007. Specifically, General Obasanjo and his ministers should be asked to explain how they generated darkness with $16 billion, wasted over N1 trillion on fixing roads and refurbishing hospitals that have collapsed, granted duty waivers worth N500 billion to a few importers, sold public enterprises worth trillions of Naira at give away prices to imaginary core investors, plundered and mismanaged the banks which have recently been bailed out with about N3 trillion. Was it not in 2002 that NNPC opened a secret account with J.P Morgan Bank when General Olusegun Obasanjo was the Petroleum Minister and chairman of the NNPC Board? Is it not on record that the regime illegally withdrew N1.5 trillion from the NNPC Account and distributed same to unnamed individuals and organisations? Has the Supreme Court not recently set aside one of the companies sold by the regime without following due process? Has the Senate not asked the Jonathan regime to annul the highly corrupt privatisation exercise carried out by the regime?

Was it not Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Finance Minister who asked Nigerians to celebrate the country's exit from the external debt trap? Did she not assure nigerians that the payment of $12 billion to settle fraudulent external debts would free funds for poverty alleviation projects ? As the current Finance Minister and Coordinator of the economy has she not turned round to ask Nigerians to bear with the Jonathan regime for taking jumbo loans with dangerous conditionalities? On six different occasions the Obasanjo regime increased the prices of petroleum products to generate funds for education, health and job creation. Mrs Ezekwesili may wish to find out what happened to the hundreds of billions of Naira saved from such incessant fuel increases!

For goodness sake, let the Federal Government take up Mrs Ezekwesili's timely and patriotic challenge. But the debate should not be limited to the withdrawal of $67 billion from the Federation Account. It should be a debate on the reckless diversion of huge public funds and the gross mismanagement of the Nigerian economy since 1999. After all, the debate between General Obasanjo and President Jonathan on the Boko Haram insurgency has confirmed that the genocidal attack on the innocent people of Odi in Bayelsa State in November, 1999 was a crime against humanity. We need such debates to afford Nigerians the opportunity to know the roles played by all the dramatis personae and their imperialist collaborators that have shamelessly unleashed unprecedented poverty on a nation that has earned more revenue in the last 14 years than any other period in the history of Nigeria since the amalgamation of 1914. There should be no grandstanding on the part of each of the former and current public office holders who should be pleading "mea maxima culpa" before the people. As far as the pauperised and traumatised Nigerian citizens are concerned the Goodluck Jonathan Administration is an off shoot of the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration notwithstanding the ongoing intra class feud among the members of both reactionary regimes.

Femi Falana SAN.


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

17 comment(s)
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Reply to comment | Sahara Reporters

Inspiring quest there. What occurred after? Take care!

Reply to comment | Sahara Reporters

Having read this I believed it was very enlightening.
I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this
content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
But so what, it was still worth it!

Deri this is really out of

Deri this is really out of place for u to using this means to snap back at buhari is absymal, oby is not an associate of buhari which even ur unborn children should know, guy until there is a total revolution in this country when a westerner wil ask his leaders both past n present for the money due to them, so will northerns, easterners, and southerner this country will never be good.

This Article is not Balanced

Falana is too highly opinionated. Whatever truth that is in this article has been stretched beyond reasonable proportions. The deliberate misrepresentation of the actions and intentions of the CME is especially disheartening.

oby is a stooge for corrupt leaders

if lies goes in thousand years one day the trust will find the root
all human have equal right............


Dr Okupe convinced methat there has never been a time such money was squandered. Oby failed to watch her words and obviously spoke from the standpoint of assumption.
Dr. Okupe was much thorough in his presentation. In fact he actually demolished Oby's claim whic obviously from based on some senseless political romance with some disgruntled opposition politicians Eg. El-rufai

They all belong to the past.

Femi there is nothing to debate. You can't debate the obvious. What is there to debate? It crystalline clear without any ambiguity that OBJ'S tenure was a total failure. Jonathan don't need any debate he should just face his job and deliver.
Oby should save her debating skills, she don't need debate to tell Nigerians how our reserve was squandered.I don't like the reply of Maku he was too personal but Dr Doyin Okupe has stated the fact if Oby is not yet satisfied she should counter Okupe. I don't think that Jonathan should waste his time to confront OBJ and her yesterday boy and girls they are children of anger.

Re: Oby Ezekwesili vs President Goodluck Jonathan....

Oga Femi, you've written well. But as you rightly pointed out that the Odi massacre has been acknowledged as a crime against humanity, I just wonder what legal luminaries like you have done to take legal action against the perpetrators. We've always known how best to talk and analyse issues but lack the selflessness to risk our personal comfort to redeem the larger society, except of course when we've some pecuniary rewards to elicit therefrom


Thabut you sir, but I think with due respect, you are also trying to help GEJ administration divert attention from issue. Please let us stick to the debate on diversion of 67 billion. We should also move away from petty issue of buying land and attacking person but address issue raised. Yes OBJ administration may have issues but I believe Mrs ezekwesili was not speaking on behalf of the entire administration. A shameless GEJ administration did not initiate any new power project but simply using IPP project materials already purchased by OBJ administration waiting at sea port. South recently started building additional power stations go and find out how much it cost and compare. The whole promise and so called improvement in power generation is from IPP project gradually coming to fruition. It is not in the character of never- do-wells to admit incompetence.

Nigeria: Before the lights go out

It is not about us it is about them. Yesterday's men are angry that they are no longer getting anything from the government they installed. El Rufai, Oby and Fani Kayode were part of the gangmen that nailed Atiku with the famous Admnistrative Panel of Inquiry. See what is happening to them. They are running low on cash so they intimidate Jonathan so that he can remember them in his paradise. As for Baba, what he greatly fears is what has come upon him. A government that he installed is rubbishing his legacy. Jonathan had better watch it. Mark my words! Obasanjo will scuttle Jonathan's second term project. An outsider will get it and Nigeria will be better off.

Oby any hope for yr brothers on death row in Indonesia

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and his Indonesian counterpart, Suliso Bambang Yudhoyono, met in Abuja on Saturday with the Nigerian host pleading with his guest to stay execution in the case of convicted Nigerians awaiting death in Indonesia. Jonathan is pleading with his Indonesian counterpart not to execute her brothers in Indonesia, Oby is working day and night to with her man OBJ to undermine the erfforts of the president with her lies

Falana ask oby to account for the 65.8b she stole from UBEC

During her tenure as Minister of Education between 2006 and 2007, she “collected total sum of N352.3 billion from direct budgetary releases. In addition, she received about N65.8 billion under the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Fund, and over N40 billion from the Education Trust Fund (ETF) during her time as Minister of Education. In view of these allocations, few legitimate questions arise. What did she do with all these allocations? What impact did it have on the education sector? One wonders if our educational system would have been better today if these allocations were properly applied.” I rest my case with Falana of the Oby fame!

The records on our reserves

The records on our reserves right from from 2007 to 2012 clearly shows that Oby lied! Again I am wondering why a womam who cannot account for the moeny pumped into her ministery while working for Obj be given a space here to air her views on behalf of Buhari-The external reserves as of December 2008 was $53 billion while it was $42.3 billion as at December 2009.The records also showed that the reserves was $32 billion as of December 2010 and $32.6 billion as of December 2011. As of December 2012, the reserve was $45.3 billion, the CBN records indicated. So what is madams trouble with the crude oil from the SS-used in taking care of rogues from yonder country? Is that why they are scared of a split? Falana who had no words fdor the Okada riders sent packing by Fashola is now here for Buhari! What a shame! What a hypocrite-what a doctrine of necessity for Mr amd Mrs Obj no I put mistake! Meant Oby

Nigerians need to throw their weight behind this challenge..

Johnathan cannot keep insulting the intelligence of Nigerians the way he has been doing. First he thought he was too big to come out to a presidential debate and defend the government he was a part of and the foolish Nigerian people voted him in. Anyway I understand that Nigerians were tired of the Northern people mishandling Nigeria. Nigeria does not have the patience for another person from a different ethnic group coming to mismanage us again. NIGERIA IS SIMPLY TIRED OF MISMANAGEMENT. Johnathan had better come out and defend himself.
I personally think that Nigeria needs to adopt a bi political party system. One where the president could be from one party and the House of assembly will be dominated by the other party. This way the president is more cautious of his actions and deeds. The PDP knows this and that is why they will never allow for a Nigeria of this nature.
That one aside. Dumbo must answer Madam Ezekwesili.

Reply to article above

Sister Oby, what's the matter with you.For any person who served under OBJ,(the cespool of corruption)to accuse any other regime of corruption is an unprecedented height of criminal indifference. All the unabetted corruption and immoralisms going on in the country was a product of Obasanjo's dispotic absolutism. Brother GEJ,could you please find a spot for sister Oby, so she can shut a hell up.If there is no ministerial vacancy, create for her, ministry of frustration and stupidity.What do these arrogant idiots take Nigerians for? GEJ,could you please put OBJ to his right place or aleast send him to hell either by Divine Providence or Intuition. You can also Abachanize him so Nigerians will enjoy peace and be able to choose their leaders themselves instead of imposition.

Femi Falana you are a noise

Femi Falana you are a noise maker. Oby you are simply jealous.

At last, someone must sing

At last, someone must sing Tim McGraw's tune 'KILL MYSELF' for either of Obasanjo's or Jonathan's administrations respectively.