Soludo Not Making Sense, I Won’t Join Issues With Him Anymore – Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala-Charles SoludoThe Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has rejected an offer by the former CBN Governor, Professor Charles C. Soludo, to a public debate on the state of the economy and her tenure in office.

Okonjo-Iweala said though constrained to reply the ex-CBN governor over allegations that N30 trillion had been stolen under her watch as the finance minister, she would rather not join issues with him.

In a rejoinder to Okonjo-Iweala’s statement last week where she described him as the worst CBN governor ever in the history of Nigeria, Soludo, in the first of a three part series on Sunday, said the nation was in for a very turbulent time this year because the economy had been grossly mismanaged, under her.

However, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala while fielding questions on a Raypower live radio programme yesterday, monitored in Abuja, said Soludo’s claims “Is part of the misinformation that I want Nigerians to avoid. I don’t want to enter that debate. We have answered him, I don’t want to join issues and you don’t join issues when things don’t make any sense”.

On the forensic audit into allegations of unremitted oil funds by the NNPC whose report was submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday, the minister said the claims that she delayed the forensic investigation was baseless.

“There has been a lot of misinformation that is being put out and it is sad for me because people said in November I talked to the Financial Times (FT) in London and that the report will be ready in a few weeks and that is true. I have not been controlling this audit, it has been with the Auditor General because PricewaterHouse (the auditors) actually said that the Ministry of Finance has a position on the issue and they would also need to interview us.

“Therefore, there is no way that the minister could be responsible for this report and the neutral party whose job it is in government was appointed to take over and control, which is the Auditor General and I said that at the FT but conveniently as has persistently been the case, Nigerians have been misinformed, they left out the part that I said the Auditor General is in charge.

“I am one of the people being interviewed for it so there is no way I could be in charge. They tried to paint it as if I am responsible for that report. It is part of the packaging and misinformation in this politics and it has to stop”, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said.

Responding to a question of the state of the economy and if the country is broke, the former World Bank Director said “people have tried in the opposition to package this, they have been saying it. Three years ago they said the economy was broke, two years ago it was broke, now it is broke, they just wish the economy to be broke, they want to get Nigerians alarmed…Has the country not been running?”

3 COMMENTS

  1. My exact sentiment Madam. It is not getting Nigeria anywhere if two giants from the land of the rising sun shouLd bring their globally recognized reputation built over the years to total disrepute on account of pride, lack of tact and wanton folly. If Soludo is not seeking for job or attention, nothing would have stopped him from meeting you one on one to clarify all the litany of issues he raised.. Which appears more like the action of a man who have enough time to waste in exchange of words without any meaningful direction and purpose. Silence is always golden. Ignore any other provocation. By the time he writes his so long a letter volume 5 to 10, he will definitely get tired.

  2. Sure, Soludo will not make sense to you because other people have been co-ordinating the economy on your behalf. To me, Soludo was very clear in his assertions and statistics. If that does not make any sense to you, it means you admit that 30T was mismanaged under your watch. Indeed, your Economics certificate has become ‘rusty’ as he put it because you do not understand anything under your watch. By the way, is it just a coincidence that the audit report that has been pending for so long suddenly appeared a day after Soludo’s expose?. I can see that both you and your principal are clueless since you dont understand anything about the oil economics and are waiting for an audit report to make changes in the oil industry.

  3. I have taken time to read Prof Soludo’s articles recently published. I have also read the Minister’s written response to the first article and oral reaction to the second. I did not stop there. I also read some of the comments made by fellow Nigerians. Some of them are really instructive. Some are comical, ludicrous and borne out of ignorance and sentiment. Others are simply malicious. That Soludo lost elections is not a strange phenomenon. It is only those who never contest elections that never lose. Great names such as Abraham Lincoln, Wiston Churchill, Azikiwe, Awolowo, Aminu Kano, etc. have lost elections, not just once. I am even sure that some of the comments came from unemployed graduates.
    I do not have much to say other than to commend the Prof. for his articulate articles which I score ‘VERY VERY SOUND’. I felt sorry for this country when the Minister said that Soludo was not making sense and declined from joining issues with him anymore. What an unfortunate style of admission of guilt! My understanding is that the government has no defence whatsoever to the issues raised by the articulate Prof. If such serious revelations (or call it allegations) on the economy you are managing is not enough for the Minister to speak up, I wonder the kind of government we are running.
    The facts are undeniably clear and cannot be hidden. Nigerian economy is bad and worse than that word. If Soludo is telling lies, is it a lie that the exchange rate is terrible and Naira continues to nose-dive? Do Nigerians not feel the inflation or that too is Soludo’s lie? Does anyone need Soludo to tell him that Nigeria has no equal in corruption? Is it a lie told by Soludo that the entire country is littered with abandoned federal projects and non-functional institutions? Sanusi L. Sanusi raised alarm on missing money: is that Soludo? Is Soludo the international community that scores Nigerian economy very, very low? How can a government admit that its main (or do I say only) source of revenue is being tampered with by criminals and nothing can be done to put a stop to it?
    I can go on and on like that. The entire international community cites Nigeria as a typical example of MISMANAGED ECONOMY where people live in abject poverty in the midst of abundant resources. Those who vilify Soludo are either showing hatred they have for him or they are simply trying to keep their jobs. None of them is ignorant of the economic situation of the country. Even our parents in the villages are ALL FEELING IT. Though these ones do not know anything about NBS or UN statistical figures, they all feel it and say “it has never been this bad before”.
    The Prof is just touching on the economy only. Other sectors are yearning for similar or even more serious comments. The country has problems. The economy is sinking and there is no reliable plan in place to remedy the situation. Well, truth is bitter, but it must be told, anyway by intelligent and courageous people like Prof C. C. Soludo.
    Ordinarily the content of his articles should be taken very seriously in the interest of the country’s future. The write-ups are not personal, therefore, launching a personal attacks and pouring vituperations on him is not the answer.
    Concluding his second article the Prof challenged those who crucify him to a debate. I was anxiously waiting for the actors to choose a date and venue for the debate. But yesterday, to my greatest surprise the Minister chickened out. Something is really stinking somewhere. If she had been courageous enough to accept this challenge, Nigerians would have been given another opportunity to know who is deceiving whom. We were waiting for her to come up with facts to convince us that the Prof was lying, and we would believe her in the face of what we are feeling everywhere in the country.
    As for Prof. Utomi, he virtually agreed with Soludo on all the points the later raised.
    In my opinion one Soludo is not enough. We need more Soludos to speak up on the putrid situation of the country.

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