June 17, 2024

NIGERIA Global News

Obasanjo: Tinubu’s trip to the UN won’t resolve Nigeria’s problems; he will only meet Presidents Macron and Trudeau


President Bola Tinubu’s visit to the UN, according to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, won’t resolve Nigeria’s problems because he (Obasanjo) is familiar with the people he will probably be meeting. 


Obasanjo stated that the Nigerian government’s announcement to reduce the number of attendees at the UN General Assembly was not news and that Tinubu’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “will not solve any problem.”


These were said by the former leader of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 in an interview that was published by TheCable on Monday.


He said, “Tinubu says he has trimmed the number of people attending the United Nations General Assembly. Is that news? He will meet with Justin Trudeau, and he will meet with Emmanuel Macron. That will not solve any problem.”


Speaking on the fuel subsidy crisis and the reasons the nation’s refineries weren’t operating, he said, “They will not work as long as the government is keeping hold of them. When I was president, I invited Shell to a meeting. I told them I wanted to hand over the refineries for them to help us run. They bluntly told me they would not. I was shocked.


“I repeated the request and they stood their ground. When the meeting was over, I asked their big man (MD) to wait behind for a little chat. Then I asked him why they were so hesitant about not taking over the refineries. He asked did I wanted to hear the truth. I said yes. He listed four reasons. One, he said Shell makes its money from upstream and that is where its interest lies. Two, he said they only do downstream or retail as a matter of service. Three, he said our refineries would be bad business for them, and that globally, companies are going for bigger refineries because of the economics of refineries. Fourth, he said there is too much corruption in refineries.


“I thanked him for his honesty. I knew we had a big problem on our hands. I had virtually given up hope on the refineries when God did a miracle. Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola approached me and said they would be interested in buying two of the four refineries. They said they would buy a 51 percent stake in Port Harcourt and Kaduna. I was over the moon. I said, finally, this burden would be taken off the neck of the government. They offered $761 million and paid in two installments. Unfortunately, Umaru (President Yar’Adua) canceled the sale and returned the refineries to NNPC. Today, we are still where we were. Someone told me Tinubu said refineries would work by December. I told the person the refineries would not work. This is based on the information I received from Shell when I was president.”

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