LAGOS NIGERIA. (JAN 17) The presidential candidate of the (PDP) Peoples Democratic Party, H.E. Atiku Abubakar, said on Wednesday that he would privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) if elected President, describing the state-owned oil firm as a “mafia organisation.”
Abubakar Atiku was speaking at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.
He explained that he sold the idea to President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a deputy between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.
Atiku said he was convinced that the NNPC would run better if not managed by the government.
He said, “Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said, “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority.
“I said unless we dismantle these mafia organisations, we cannot make progress. Let’s privatise them… the long and short of this is that I am committed to privatisation as I have said. I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it (privatise NNPC).”
“And I am also not going to enrich members of my family, but my friends. Are my friends not entitled to be enriched? As long as there is no element of corruption there. And there was none during our time, when we privatized the banks, when we privatized institutions of the private sector. “I have not heard anybody coming to say either the president or myself, took money to do that.
“Fighting corruption is not an economic policy. No country in the world will focus on only fighting corruption; the various toll gates in government are a problem. In Ukraine and Rwanda, money goes directly from the Federal Government to schools unlike here where the money goes through different agencies.”