Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar can’t talk on privatisation, advice the Buhari administration or anyone on privatization and commercialization, the Buhari Media Organisation has said.
This, according to the group, is because of his alleged poor record of performance as the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) in the eight years of the administration he served as Vice President.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke BMO said it was not totally surprising that the former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would allegedly resort to grandstanding when he heard of the government’s privatisation plans.
“We were so sure that Atiku Abubakar would try to position himself as an expert in privatization when media outlets reported the government’s intention to sell off some moribund non-oil assets, and indeed we were proved right when he issued that statement, after several weeks of silence.
“The first thing that caught our attention was Atiku’s call on the Buhari administration to ensure transparency in the privatization process. This is an individual that sold off what many people have described as the country’s prized assets (allegedly) to cronies, but which he claims ‘boosted economic growth to 6% GDP growth and also created jobs and amass the nation’s wealth that enabled us exit the debt trap,’ the group said in its deposition on why Atiku can’t talk about privatisation.
“We wonder which privatization process the PDP chieftain was talking about when virtually all Nigerian old enough to witness the process knew that it only brought penury, job loss and misery to millions of people, but provided cheap assets to friends and cronies of senior government officials who bought up national assets and stripped them bare.
“We don’t even have to remind Nigerians of what became of those former government-owned enterprises-from the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSON) to Nigeria Airways and Daily Times-which were sold off for a pittance.
“So we dare the former vice president and his media handlers to show any shining examples of his expertise as a privatization guru before he can be taken seriously by Nigerians”, the group added.
BMO also dismissed the former Vice President’s attempt to equate the planned privatization of the refineries to his own plan for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as self-serving.
“Every Nigerian heard Atiku Abubakar on national TV saying emphatically that, if elected President, he would sell off NNPC, a position he also reiterated in an interview where he vowed to sell off 90% of the corporation and retain 10% as government share and later at a town hall meeting in Kaduna state, he likened it to what the Obasanjo administration did with NITEL.
“For the avoidance of doubt, NNPC has several subsidiaries out of which two are partly owned and fourteen associated companies including four refineries, so we wonder how government’s intention to privatize refineries can be the same as Atiku’s intention to do sell off NNPC to his friends.
Continuing on why Atiku can’t talk about privatisation, the group said:
“We consider it the height of deceit for the former Vice President to now try to make it sound like he was only speaking of the refineries back then, when he indeed said he planned to do what his government did to NITEL.
“We want to remind Nigerians that the telecommunications outfit and its mobile arm once was sold to investors who failed to pay and yet the man who presided over the process back then is preaching transparency”.
The group urged Nigerians to be wary of politicians like the former Vice President who delight in grandstanding, and trust the President to always do what is right for the citizenry.