President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday ordered that the full report of the forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation be made public immediately.
He said his administration has nothing to hide on the matter.
He also denied claims credited to the All Progressives Congress (APC) that his officials were embarking on last minute looting.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, disclosed this yesterday.
“We have noted with concern, the allegation by the spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed that officials of the Federal Government are engaged in “last minute looting of the nation’s resources, rushed privatization of key institutions and hurried recruitment into the public service.
“We also consider as most unfortunate and uncharitable, the suggestion by Alhaji Mohammed that the Jonathan Administration is trying to “tie the hands” of the incoming government merely by continuing to discharge its constitutional responsibilities until the end of its tenure. The Jonathan administration which continues to do its best to ensure a smooth and peaceful handover over of power to the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, deeply regrets the unfairness and combative frame of mind reflected in Alhaji Mohammed’s statement.
“President Jonathan has done his best in the past five years to discharge his constitutional responsibilities for good governance and effective leadership of the nation. Without any prejudice whatsoever to the freedom of the incoming administration to do as it pleases, within the confines of extant laws when it assumes office, the Jonathan Administration will continue to discharge its responsibility to govern until May 29, 2015.”
“In continuing to fulfil the obligations of his office however, President Jonathan has not, and will never condone any form of unscrupulous conduct on the part of state officials. President Jonathan will also never authorise any attempt to create any problems for the incoming administration as the APC spokesperson, who ought to know that the outcome of the March 28 presidential elections does not imply a cessation of governance, unjustly alleges.
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit. We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation. President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has anything to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 Billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter,” Abati said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has described the defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election as only a temporary setback for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The defeat of the President by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), brought to an abrupt end, the 16-year rule of the PDP.
But the Presidency said supporters of the PDP should not despair, adding that the defeat should be an opportunity for the party to re-strategise and plan ahead.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
He described the outcome of the 2015 general election as a temporary setback and not the final destination for the PDP.
Alkali appealed to the supporters of President Jonathan to use this transition period as a time for reflection to heal and re-strategise.
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail President Jonathan’s sudden order that the full report of the forensic audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation be immediately made public.
According to the President, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Alhaji Remi Bello, though the timing was suspicious, the release of the report is overall, a good development for the oil and gas industry, as it will further ensure the transparency of the sector.
“The action of the president is actually meant to pre-empt the proposed indictment. Whichever way, what is important is that the report is finally available for all to see. It will enable all issues relating to the missing funds to be resolved. We all need to forget the circumstances that led to the release of the report,” he said.
In his own reaction, Director of Strategic Planning, Research Intelligence, Mr. Bunmi Martins, said that the decision of the president to release the forensic report would expose the details of the report which would also allow people in the know to critically analyse it.
“This is good for the accountability, transparency and book keeping of the NNPC to be in agreement with other agencies such as the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
“Although, this is coming so late but it is better now than never. The report is a policy statement that would prepare the minds of investors for investment opportunities in the sector. The plan to release the report is a face saving one for the administration of President Jonathan.”