Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the country is currently
facing economic problems due to the failure of the Goodluck Jonathan
administration to plan for a rainy day.
He told Iyalodes and eminent women leaders from the South-West,
who visited him at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, that
the nation’s reserves which as of 2007 stood at $67bn had been depleted
by the Federal Government.
President was responding to a call by the delegation led by the Iyalode
of Yorubaland, Chief Alaba Lawson, and the Iyaloja General of Nigeria,
Chief Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, to lend his voice to the socio-economic
crisis rocking the country.
Stressing that the country did not deserve the situation it
currently finds itself, Obasanjo vowed that he would not keep quiet
until the right things were done.
“Almost $25bn we kept in what they called Excess Crude Account, it
was the excess from the budget we were saving as reserve for a rainy
“When we left in May 2007, the reserve was said to have risen to $35bn. But today, that reserve has been depleted.
“After paying our debts which was about $40bn, including debt forgiveness, the remaining (debt) was not more than $3bn.
“Our reserves after we had paid off these debts amounted to about
$45bn. As I said, they continued to rise till the end of 2007. I heard
that the reserves increased to almost $67bn before the end of the year.
“Our reserves now, I learnt, stand at only $30bn.”
Although he noted that the slump in oil price would naturally have a
negative impact on a monolithic economy like Nigeria, Obasanjo said
that “ anyone who is wise enough should know that since we depend on
just one mineral resource and since we have no control over its pricing,
we should be planning for this type of situation we currently find
ourselves and the way out of it.”
The former President lamented that “our inability to have healthy reserves had brought us to “this economic quagmire.”
He added, “A leader must be forward-looking and plan ahead. At the
beginning of last year, the budget was based on $78 per barrel. That
year, the Federal Government spent more on recurrent expenditure and a
little on capital expenditure.”
Obasanjo also pointed out that the devaluation of the naira had unleashed other consequences on the economy.
He rated the Jonathan administration as colossal failure, grounded by ineptitude.