Former presidential aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, says the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to rewrite history over last Friday’s $9bn judgement against Nigeria by linking the administration of Jonathan to the botched agreement, will backfire.
According to Omokri, the criminal cabal who are still within the presidency created the mess, and not Goodluck Jonathan, who tried his best to minimize the effect of the mess.
Recall that a London Court had on Friday ordered an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) to seize 20% in assets, of Nigeria’s foreign reserves, amounting to $9bn over breach of a contract deal signed in 2010.
The Presidency, after the ruling on Friday fingered the Jonathan administration for deal entered into 2010 with the Irish firm to supply gas to a processing plant built and run by P&ID in Calabar. .
The agreement was for a 20-year deal. But the Nigerian government failed to keep to her own side of the agreement, prompting the firm to take the case to court.
Reacting, Omokri in a statement said former President Jonathan was not President in January 2010 when the contract was signed as being insinuated by the Presidency.
He said at the time, Jonathan was completely shut out of power by an unelected cabal that ran Nigeria during the period of the ill health of the late President Yar’adua, before the National Assembly courageously intervened on February 9, 2010.
“Nigerians may recall that the cabal announced on December 28, 2009 that the ailing President Yar’adua had signed a supplementary budget and other documents from his sick bed in Saudi Arabia, without the foreknowledge or acquiescence of then Vice President Jonathan or the Executive Council of the Federation.
“In fact, a week later, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) came out with an exposé alleging that the signatures on the documents were forged and Femi Falana (SAN) took up the case in court.
“The man who packaged and arranged the signing of the contract with P & ID was a member of the cabal and Yar’adua’s minister for petroleum, the late Rilwanu Lukman.
“Mr. Lukman and other members of the cabal treated then Vice President Jonathan with disdain and kept him in the dark about their actions because he had no executive authority, as the then President was unable to hand over to him as constitutionally stipulated due to the suddenness of his ill health.
“That same cabal has resurrected and has now coalesced around President Muhammadu Buhari, with some of them being made either ministers, or formal and informal advisers. As a matter of fact, the main man behind that cabal is now one of the closest persons to General Buhari.
“Nigerians may want to note that while this controversial contract was signed in January of 2010, former President Jonathan only became acting President on February 9, 2010.
“So, if the Buhari administration is looking for someone to blame for this judgment against Nigeria, it should look at its own cabal.”
According to him, after Yaradua’s death, the cabal took over government for close to 6months, completely shutting GEJ out of government. “Within this time, Late Rilwane Lukman who was the petroleum minister at the time quickly packaged a fraudulent deal with P & ID and signed Nigeria’s future away.”
“When GEJ finally took over, the deal was reviewed and found to be bad market for Nigeria, so he insisted that the deal be renegotiated. P&ID refused, knowing fully well what they got from Rilwane and instead took Nigeria to arbitration. In 2013, they won the arbitration and were awarded about $6billion, being the money they would have earned if the deal had gone ahead, whereas, Nigeria would have earned next to nothing.
“GEJ, the diplomatic man that he is sent Diezani, Okonjo Iweala and some other guys to Ireland to negotiate an out of court settlement with P&ID. Finally, early 2015, P&ID agreed to take $850million instead of $6billion.
“But GEJ then handed over to Buhari who first wasted 6months before facing governance. Then he made himself petroleum minister and without even understanding the details of the deal and subsequent arbitration and out of court settlement, and in a bid to vilify his predecessor, Buhari refused to pay the $850million and went back to court. Ultimately, he lost the case, as expected and because it’s been 6years since the original arbitration, the money plus interest accrued is now $8.9billion.”