From John Adams, Minna
As Nigerians continue to react over the commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the federal government, making it a limited liability company, a former commissioner and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress in Niger State (APC), Jonathan Vatsa, has said that the government actions have vindicated former Vice President and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Reacting to the official unveiling of the new NNPC Ltd by President Mohammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, Vatsa pointed out that President Buhari has vindicated Atiku, who in his 2019 campaign told Nigerians that the NNPC needs to be sold out as it was no longer serving its purpose for Nigerians.
Vatsa said that Atiku’s perception at the time about the NNPC was that the national corporation needed to be sold to interested Nigerian(s) to make it effective and reduce government waste.
According to him, Atiku’s submission about the moribund corporation was later used against him, with Nigerians believing that the former vice president was going to sell the corporation to himself, friends or associates.
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“Eventually, what Atiku said that was used against him in 2019 has come to pass. What are we seeing today is that the NNPC has been sold out and the government did not tell Nigerians who are the 200 million shareholders in the new Nigerian National Company Limited,” Vatsa stated.
The former Niger APC spokesman argued that the commercialisation of the corporation is not the solution to the oil crisis in the country but rather an outright sale of the NNPC where the government will hands-off completely from its affairs and allow private individuals to manage it; adding that “as it is now, the government has the high shares in the industry and by that, it will still interfere in It affairs and day-to-day running.
“We have seen many limited liability companies in this country where the government has the highest shares and controlled its affairs but eventually folded up. Where is the Daily Times of Nigeria today, where is the New Nigeria Newspaper today, and many more companies like that that government interference killed it?
“Not only the NNPC that needs to be sold out but all the refineries in this country should also be sold out to individuals for efficiency and productivity so that the government can stop spending billions of naira paying salaries of redundant staff and maintaining non-functional refineries in this country.
He pointed out that it is a minus for President Buhari and this administration for its inability to fix any of the four refineries in the country rather, “we decided to settle for an imported refined petroleum product and pay a heavy subsidy which we told Nigerians was a fraud.
“If this is all we can achieve in the oil industry in the last seven years plus now then we owed Nigerians a serious apology. All we are doing is to continue increasing the pimp price of the products because we relied on importation and the dollar is not stable. The more the dollar goes up the more the importers will demand increase,” Vatsa said.