Former Vice-President has said that he was queried by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 for proposing the privatization of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Atiku and his former boss, Obasanjo
Speaking on Tuesday at the launch of “We Are All Biafrans” – a book of essays by journalism and activist, Chido Onumah, in Abuja, former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar says he was queried by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 for proposing the privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The former VP said he made the proposal before the Obasanjo government was inaugurated 17 years ago.
“In May 1999, I attended the OTC in Houston, Texas, where I advocated that NNPC should be privatised.
“When I returned my boss (Obasanjo) queried me for saying that. Indeed, when we were inaugurated and he formed his cabinet, he allocated the portfolio of minister of petroleum to himself.
“However, Obasanjo said last week that his greatest regret was not privatising NNPC during his eight years in power. That is 17 years after I proposed it,” he said.
While referring to the title of the book, which he said is a metaphor for the cries for the restructuring of the country, Atiku, who was vice-president from 1999 to 2007, said there is marginalisation in every part of Nigeria, ‘not just religious, ethnic and ethnic but even among homogenous groups within states and regions.’
Atiku who said the reliance on oil has destroyed the political and economic structure of Nigeria, asked for the decentralisation of the power structure and greater devolution to states and councils.
He opposed the proposed creation of North-East Development Corporate (NEDC) to rehabilitate the zone in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“We don’t need a permanent body for the north-east. Infrastructure was destroyed by the insurgents and we need to rebuild it. That can be done without creating a permanent body,” he said.