I vowed to critically investigate issues before taking position. From the very first day that the ECA “controversy” started I have maintained that officers of the immediate past administration have no case to answer.
I had to take my time to do an indepth write-up on the ECA, and linked it with the contentious $2billion. PLEASE read with an open mind…
Pre-Jonathan: Obasanjo Left $20billion In ECA, Yar’adua Left $6.5billion
When late President Umaru Yar’Adua was sworn in on May 29th, 2007, the ECA held $20billion, out of which $5 billion had been pledged by the three tiers of government to the National Independent Power Project (NIPP), which jointly own the account.
The Governors under the unbrella of Nigeria Governors Forum led by Bukola Saraki in 2008 instituted a lawsuit at the Supreme Court against the Yar’adua government calling for the sharing of the $15billion ECA. Yar’adua in 2009 opted for out of court settlement. By end of 2009 it had dropped from $15billion to $6.5billion.
Jonathan Inherited $6.5billion ECA (Pre-NOI Era)
When Jonathan was made “overseer” during the vegetable state of Yar’adua in December 2010, the Governors insisted that the $6.5 billion ECA be shared. In January 2010, President Jonathan Goodluck acceded to the governors’ and agreed to share $2 billion from the ECA.
Jonathan also approved additional deduction of N339.627 billion from the account to augment arrears due to the three tiers (Federal, State and Local Governments) in May 2010.
Despite the almost $4billion shared between January and May 2010, the Governors led by Saraki demanded that the left over $3billion ECA be shared.
In August 2010 the FG under Jonathan bugged into the demand of the Governors and withdrew the $3billion from the Excess Crude Account, leaving behind a meagre $460 million. The Government of Jonathan however paid $1billion into the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and shared the $2billion among the three tiers of government
Note that Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela wasn’t the Finance Minister as at this time.
The Accountant-General during this period was Alh Ibrahim Dankwambo (the incumbent Gov of Gombe state)
Jonathan’s 2011-2015 (NOI Era)
Under Okonjo Iwaela as the Finance Minister the government started having renewed battle with the governors led by APC Hon Chibuike Amaechi (calling for the sharing of ECA).
Three years after the Governors settled out of Court with Yar’adua, the Governors led by Amaechi went to Supreme court in October 2011 to demand that the $1billion saved in SWF be shared along with the billions in ECA.
FG under Jonathan proposed out of court settlement with the Governors to save the SWF and ECA.
Despite the out of court settlement, the Governors were so determined to share the money, instituted another lawsuit again two months later asking the Supreme Court to stop the FG from saving $2billion in SWF but instead “share the money”.
N6.21 trillion Shared From ECA Between 2011 and 2014 (May 25, 2015)
According to a report by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Government’s share from the ECA during the period of 2011 to 2014 was N3.29 trillion while the 36 states received a total of N2.92 trillion. They received N966.6 billion in 2011, N816.3 billion in 2012, N859.4 billion in 2013 and N282.8 in 2014.
Jonathan/NOI Grew ECA From $450m in 2010 to $9billion in 2012
As at August 2010, the ECA stood at meagre $450million. However, the NOI/GEJ increased this money to $9billion at the end of 2012.
Let me also add that ALL the monies shared from ECA between the period of December 2010-December 2014 were generated by the Jonathan’an administration. Also the leftover $2billion is to the credit of Jonathan’s administration.
Despite the windfall, almost all the governors plunged their states into serious debt.
The Contentious $2 billion
November 17, 2014
As at October 2014 the balance in the ECA was $4billion. While announcing government austerity (as a result of the sharp drop in oil price) in November, the former finance Minister made it clear that the FG will tap $2billion from the ECA.
“We will work in such a way that we won’t deplete the ECA because we have to leave something for next year but we might go to tap about a half of it ($2bn) or slightly less than half to be able to meet expenditures that are crystalising at the moment that we need to make.”(Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela Nov 2014)
ECA Balance As At November and December 2014
At the end of November 2014 the Accountant General of the Federation informed FAAC and Nigerians that the ECA was $3.11billion and in January 17 2015 the balance was announced to be $2.4billion. $1 billion was deducted in November and another in December 2014. The Governors were well aware including Mr. Adams Oshiomole.
The $2 billion Paid To oil Marketers
The Minister in January 2015 clearly stated that the reduced $2billion went to the oil marketers as part payment for outstanding PMS subsidy bill. Remember that the government of Jonathan through Okonjo Iwaela had pre-informed the FAAC that $2billion will be deducted from the ECA in November.
When the GEJ’s government made the said announcement in January this year nobody said a word. Yesterday Madam NOI said the Former President approved the withdrawal of the $2billion to as part of subsidy payment, is it not in line with the FG position in November 2014? Was Oshiomole sleeping all these period? Why then will Gov Oshiomole ask NOI how the money went like he was in exile between 2008 and 2014?
If the Governors are saying that FAAC needed to make approval before deduction then why didn’t they mentioned it in November 2014 when FG informed them of the proposed withdrawal?
I want to appeal to Nigerians to watch this APC administration very carefully. They are aware that they have NOTHING to offer and are determined to hoodwink Nigerians via baseless accusations and propaganda to make up for their own failure. If the Govs have any case against the FG withdrawal of $2billion without their authorisation, they should face the FG and Not officers of the government. Government is a continuum, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iwaela has no case to answer.