OPINION: Jonathan and the Ribadu Report – Reuben Abati

Published:12 Nov, 2012

Jonathan and the Ribadu report – Reuben Abati

It is so unfortunate that there has been so much ignorant carping and malicious title-tattling about the report of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force chaired by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, both failings arising from a deliberate attempt to individualise what was actually a group work, a mischievous attempt to politicise one report out of three, and to smuggle into an emergent grand web of conspiracy, elements of blackmail, mischief and outright opportunism.

I would like to dispel the putrefacious stench of the fart that seems to have overtaken the subject by returning all of us to certain basics that have not changed since President Goodluck Jonathan approved the setting up of committees to inquire into different aspects of the Petroleum sector and particularly since the reports were presented and accepted. The facts are as follows.

The committees in question and the probe into the Petroleum sector were initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive industry; the goal was to transform the sector and raise levels of integrity accordingly. Every step that has been taken by this administration in this regard has been in fulfilment of this well-stated objective. This includes the decision to completely deregulate the downstream sector, which has now resulted in the exposure of oily deals in that sector, with consequences for the indicted persons.

It also includes the launch of a concerted fight against crude oil theft and illegal payments of fuel subsidy. Zakari Mohammed of the House of Representatives talks absent-mindedly about “lack of political will” to fight corruption. He certainly doesn’t know what he is talking about.  A legislative position should not confer a right to mendacity. He should know, if he had been reading the newspapers, that on the basis of both the report of the House of Representatives and the Aig Aig-Imokhuede committee report on fuel subsidy payments, persons are currently being prosecuted in the law courts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Federal Government has not done anything to stop or discourage the prosecution of indicted persons. We have made the point, again and again, that in this ongoing fight against corruption, there will be no “cover-ups”; and no “sacred cows,” and that President Jonathan’s only interest is the people’s interest. This same President has demonstrated the political will to deal with corruption in the country’s electoral process, to both local and global acclaim. He has no reason to make compromises in other areas of our national life.  Interestingly, many of those who are now talking ignorantly about “political will” are beneficiaries of this administration’s commitment to the rule of law and fair play.

On the specific issue of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force report, the mischief-makers should go back to the statements made by President Jonathan, and subsequently by the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on the occasion of the presentation of the report. The President’s position that the work of the Ribadu committee, and of the two other committees that presented their reports on that occasion, the Kalu Idika Kalu committee on Refineries and the Dotun Sulaiman committee on Governance is useful and enlightening has not changed. Alison-Madueke has further echoed that position more than twice. The three committees were set up as fact-finding and advisory bodies. That fact was further underscored by the President’s mature response to the altercation that the Ribadu Report generated when he said that those who have issues to raise should be free to make their own independent submissions. This shows a determination to get every possible piece of information and to accommodate all concerns. This shows a will to act. President Jonathan has not dumped any input, rather he welcomes every possible input and he has no private interest in this matter. So for anyone to say that the Ribadu committee was “calculated to fail from the beginning”, is absolutely uncharitable.

Indeed, for the benefit of those playing politics and doing quick business with this matter, the truth is that President Jonathan is already taking steps to address some of the issues raised in the various reports. When President Jonathan sets up committees to investigate particular issues, he does so, because he wants to address those issues. I had, before now, drawn attention to the fact that the President gave clear directives on the state of the refineries and that at least one meeting had been held since the presentation of the report on refineries, to act specifically on the recommendations made. President Jonathan has directed that he wants the refineries fixed and steps are already being taken; deadlines have been set. That didn’t make the headlines, rather, falsehood hugged the headlines.

To set the records straight, here is what happened. After the presentation of the reports by the three committees; the President directed the Minister of Petroleum Resources to take up the recommendations of the Idika Kalu committee on refineries. The committee recommended, in part, that the country’s refineries should be rehabilitated without any further delay. On November 8, the minister and her team were at the Presidential Villa to brief the President about the state of the refineries, their current capacities, and steps that need to be taken to get them to function at optimum capacity.

The President made it clear that the government was committed to getting the refineries to work, so that we would no longer have to import refined petroleum products, which he considers shameful, and by so doing, government would have succeeded in creating jobs and put an end to the hardship that attends importation. The meeting discussed the possibility of ensuring the Turn-Around Maintenance of the refineries by March 2013, and subsequently, the rehabilitation of the facilities. The meeting ended with a directive that the minister and her team should return with further presentations on the technical details of the agreed plan of action. This is one clear example of prompt action and demonstration of commitment.

President Jonathan has no reason to embarrass anyone who served on any of the three committees. While receiving the reports, these were his words: “…we have seen that the people who have been selected in these committees are people who are known by Nigerians, people who are credible, most especially, people who are patriotic and I believe that they put all that into consideration in the interest of the country, not in the interest of any individual. You have submitted your reports today. We have to thank you very sincerely and government will surely make use of these reports… because we feel that the oil industry as it is, needs to be reformed.” I urge you to note the emphasis on all the reports without exception!

Thereafter, President Jonathan commented on the work of the individual committees. On the Ribadu Report, in particular, the President said, inter alia: “…probably not everybody agreed on some of the conclusions but I don’t think we need to bother…what we would say is that any member who has one or two observations should please write it either directly to me through the Chief of Staff or through the Minister of Petroleum Resources…But the issues of finance, if it borders on corrupt practice or outright stealing, definitely it will go to the EFCC for investigation…If there are errors of calculation or misinformation from the relevant agencies of government that are supposed to give the correct figures, that will be filtered out. …

Let me cut this short, at this point, by saying that President Jonathan has no reason whatsoever, personal or political (since at least someone has said that the furore over the Ribadu Report has something  to do with 2015!) to protect wrong-doers in the land. He took on this assignment to make Nigeria better and that is what he is doing everyday: working hard at the Nigerian project and taking every step to transform it for good.  The Nigerian people are enjoined to stand on the side of truth and to reject the mischief of all hunters of fortune whose interest is their own ambitions, for in this Ribadu Report matter, personal ambitions are beginning to becloud the facts. President Jonathan will continue to provide leadership. Nobody should drag him into the cheap arena of opportunistic demagoguery.

•Dr. Abati is Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Media and Publicity

Related Posts

Recent Posts

I Have No Interest In Running For Political Office- Dangote

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote on Tuesday said that he had no interest in actively participating in politics, saying business and politics should never be mixed. Dangote, the Chairman of Dangote Group, made this known while speaking with newsmen during a condolence visit to the Awolowo family over the death of Mrs Hannah Awolowo (HID) at the family’s residence in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun. The business mogul said that the set of skills required to become successful in...

Why People Didn’t Like The Yeezy Boost 350- Kanye West

Kanye West is currently taking part in ShowStudio's "In Camera" live interview series and is dropping a ton of gems as expected. While breaking down his aspirations and the elements of the Yeezy Season collections, the discussion shifted towards sneakers and Kanye let loose this bomb about the polarizing adidas Yeezy Boost 350 model. "They saw the 350s and acted like they didn't like them because they’re racist," he said. 

EFCC Arrests Oil Tycoon On Corruption Charges

Nigeria has arrested the chairman of a local oil firm, a security official said on Tuesday, as part of a widening graft investigation in Africa's biggest petroleum producer that has also netted former oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. Days after British police detained Alison-Madueke, one of Africa's most powerful women, the official said their counterparts in Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Atlantic Energy chairman Olajide Omokore on corruption and money laundering charges.

Kylie Jenner Reveals Secret Behind Her Butt

Kylie Jenner has revealed the secret behind her… behind. The reality star, 18, admitted her enviable butt is not all natural – she wears padded Spanx! Kylie posted a photo of herself on Snapchat wearing the shapewear, captioned "These new spanx are bomb. From Target." After...

Senate may involve EFCC, ICPC in ministerial screening

The Senate leadership will adopt the formal procedure for the screening of ministerial nominees behind closed doors on Tuesday. It may also involve anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission in the screening of those nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to become ministers under the present administration.

Tribunal Nullifies Reps’ Election, Orders Fresh Polls

The Elections Petitions Tribunal siting in Akure, Ondo State, has nullified the election of Victor Akinjo as member representing Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency of Ondo State. The tribunal nullified the election and ordered fresh polls on the grounds that Mr. Akinjo was not a bona fide member of the Peoples Democratic Party at the time the election was held. Credit: premiumtimesng

Independence Day Bombing: Okah Attempts Suicide In Court

There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court in Abuja as the alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 Independence Day bombing, Charles Okah, threatened to end his trial when he attempted to take his life. Okah, who is standing trial for terrorism, sought the permission of the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to air his views over what he termed “endless trial”, due to his lawyer’s absence in court.

Victor Moses pulls out of Super Eagles October friendlies for fear of injuries

West Ham United forward, Victor Moses has pulled out of the Super Eagles friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon. The Eagles will play the Leopards of DR Congo in Vise, Liege on Thursday, October 8 before facing Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in Dendermonde on Sunday, October 11. The on-loan...

Police Nabs Fake DSP

Anambra state police command, has arrested a 32-year old man, Abdul Makong, a native of Gari-Lamido in Taraba state for impersonating as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). According to the state Police Commissioner, Hosea Karma, the arrest followed a tip off when he went to the palace of a traditional ruler in Awka-South Local Government Area of the state, urging the people to bring some money so that he could recruit interested members into the force...

Prisoners revolt: Gov El-Rufai approves N24m for renovation of Zaria Prisons

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has approved N24 milion for the renovation of portions of the Zaria prisons destroyed by inmates during a revolt three months ago. Alhaji Abubakar Gada, Controller, Kaduna State Command of the Nigerian Prisons Service, who disclosed this on Monday in Kaduna, said that the renovation had already reached 95 per cent completion.

3 Boko Haram Militants Killed Transporting Bomb

Three militants of the Boko Haram group died on Tuesday when a bomb they were transporting exploded in Niger’s Far East region of Diffa, local sources said. The bomb exploded when they were about to enter Bosso town, one of the sources told newsmen, adding that the militants were planning to carry out an attack. On Sunday, 10 people, among them one soldier, five civilians and four suicide bombers, were killed in two separate suicide...

Wendy Williams Suggests Terrence Howard Should Be Fired From Empire, He Responds

During her hot topics on her show on October 1st, Wendy Williams suggested that Terrence Howard should be fired from the Fox hit 'Empire' for his real-life abuse allegations and bizarre behavior. "Terrence Howard, your personal life has taken over to where if by chance they took you off the show I would be happier than mad," Williams, 51, said during her Empire recap segment. "I feel like between him allegedly being abusive to women in his...

Tennis: Djokovic, Williams top latest world rankings

Serbia's Novak Djokovic remained number one in the latest world rankings released by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on Monday while Spain's David Ferrer moved to seventh. Djokovic continues to top the pile on 15,645 points, ahead of Roger Federer on 9,420 and Andy Murray on 8,640. Ferrer, with...

Messi Tax Fraud Charges Dropped

Authorities determined that the Barcelona and Argentina star was not aware of alleged manoeuvres to avoid fiscal obligations, given his age at the time of the infractions Lionel Messi has seen charges of tax evasion against him dropped as prosecutors in Catalunya seek 18 months imprisonment for his father, Jorge Messi. The Barcelona star had been accused of avoiding €4.1 million in tax obligations from 2007 to...

APC Chairman, Sylva clash over running mate

Ahead of the Bayelsa State governorship election, a major crack has occurred between the State Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Tiwei Orunimighe, and the party’s candidate, Timipre Sylva, over running mate. Supporters of Orunimighe staged a protest on Tuesday at...

Integrity Group petitions Rotimi Amaechi’s ministerial nomination

Integrity Group, an anti-corruption group,  has filed a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate protesting the nomination of the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, as a ministerial nominee, citing allegations of fraudulent practices during his tenure as the governor of the state. The group argue that Amaechi is yet to clear his name over allegations of fraud concerning the sale of the state power plants and conversion of proceeds running into $302 million, unlawful payment...

11 Chadian Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Attack

Boko Haram Islamists attacked Chadian soldiers on Tuesday, killing 11 and wounding 13, a Chadian security source said, in the latest deadly raid by the militants despite a regional offensive against them. The source said 17 Boko Haram fighters also died in the fighting following the pre-dawn strike near the Nigerian border and Lake Chad. “Boko Haram members attacked our positions at 4:30 am (0330 GMT) in Kaiga Ngouboua about two kilometres (about a mile)...

What Kim Kardashian Really Feels About Being Pregnant

Kim Kardashian is feeling the pregnancy woes the second time around. In a new post on her website titled "From the Desk Of: How I Really Feel About Being Pregnant," the reality star does some venting about her second pregnancy. "I'm gonna keep it real: For me, pregnancy is the worst...

Janet Jackson & Husband Make Rare Public Appearance At Paris Fashion Week

Janet Jackson may be traveling around the world in honor of her Unbreakable Tour. A busy schedule, however, wouldn't stop the "All for You" crooner from stopping by Paris Fashion Week for a special show. In a rare public appearance together, Jackson joined husband Wissam Al Mana in the front row for Hermes' 2016 Spring/Summer show. The superstar performer kept things comfortable thanks to a  black turtleneck with matching pants and sunglasses. Meanwhile, her main man...

Why Instagram Does Not Permit Display Of Women’s Nipples

If you post a photo on Instagram in which nipples are visible and those nipples belong to a woman — there's a good chance it will be taken down. Just ask Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus, or Chelsea Handler, or Naomi Campbell. After nearly a year of #FreeTheNipple backlash, Business Insider reports that Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has finally explained their censorship: Apparently it's all about Apple. In order to keep your app available for Apple smartphones, you have...

Engagement Rings Soon To Be Worn As Nose Ring (PHOTOS)

As showcased in her spring/summer 2016 collection,? jewelry designer ?Delfina Delettrez has a new idea for those looking to pop the question: Engagement septum rings. Seeing as though septum piercings (jewelry worn on the bit of cartilage that divides your nostrils) are such a popular piercing trend right now among both bloggers and celebrities, the idea of a diamond septum ring isn't too out there. https://instagram.com/p/5Mimu-Rc2A/ Read More: cosmopolitan