Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole yesterday spoke on the arrest in London of former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke and her brothers, who are directors of Hadley Petroleum Solutions Limited, were arrested for alleged bribery and money laundering. No charges have been preferred against them.
Oshiomhole, who has been outspoken against fraud in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, has been under attack in the social media for his views. Now, according to him, he is vindicated.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor said Alison-Madueke’s arrest was a tip of the iceberg.
He said: “For me, I don’t think anybody should be surprised because the most favorable commentator on the Nigerian condition, both the economy, the polity and society, everybody agree that our economy was badly mismanaged over the past several years.
“I have not seen one commentator that disagrees. Even when they talk about rebasing and so what. Have you rebased the level of poverty? Have you rebased prosperity? Have you rebased unemployment? Have you rebased homelessness? Have you rebased hunger?
“So I have not seen anyone that says Nigerian people are doing better. This was never my issue. I was only a spokesman of National Economic Council. But, in this country, when you speak out, all the arrows should be fashioned to attack. But one of the things I learnt in life at the age of 17 when I got into the leadership of labour, is that the truth does not require supporters club. It can stand on its feet anyday. You can hit it. You can kick it. You can bomb it, but you can’t destroy it.
“The truth is that a lot of money was stolen and what you are seeing is just a tip of the iceberg, because when you imagine what accrues to Nigeria, consistently from 140 dollars averaging 108 dollars over a long period of time and yet your treasury is empty and you were running a budget deficit, you were devoting 85 percent of your budget for four consecutive years on recurrent, you were borrowing and you drew the entire pensions fund…yesterday I saw a lot of analysis of how pension funds should be invested on infrastructure.
“You challenge Pencom and Ministry of Finance, you will discover that over N3.5 trillion was drawn down by the previous government from pension funds to support recurrent expenditure, not to support infrastructure. Even the media here, I wonder why you want to hear it from me because some of the issues we parrot flow from what we have read from your electronic media and print media, arising from what you have observed.
“There have been probes, there have been revelations , where whistle blowers have been removed from office; they became guilty for speaking out. I believe time will tell how much was taken and who was involved.
“I think what you are hearing now is like appetizer. Its sickening. It used to come from America, now its Britain.”
On the involvement of the Federal Government in Mrs Alison-Madueke’s arrest in London, Oshiomhole said: “It’s not about who has hand in what. I think it’s about law and order. In other climes, institutions do their work. They are not at the beck and call of political authority. They have their mandate and the law specifies this and it is scrupulously followed.”
Asked how happy he was with the development, he said: “I’m the happiest person because I’ve been in government for seven years without being in power. I was in government, I couldn’t call a commissioner of police and talk as a security officer, I’m haunted by all manner of persons. You kill the snake in Edo, they will put the snake on life support in Abuja and they keep harassing us.
“Now all those venoms are dead and buried, for the first time, I’m excited and happy, not just for personal benefit, but for the changes I’m beginning to see. They’ve not started scrutinising, just blocking the holes, it’s no longer flowing like before and so the propensity to indulge in those conspicuous habit, already curbing themselves.” He said
Continuing, he said: “People are regaining sanity; human rationality is returning and the idle class that makes money without office or business address whose only address is an ipad and cell phone with appropriate phone numbers are all lamenting and not sure of tomorrow.”