Oshiomhole Insists Okonjo-Iweala Is Complicit In $2.1bn Arms Deal, Says ‘I Await Your Lawyer’s Letter’
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has slammed the former Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for dodging the issues raised in his call for her probe over the $2.1 billion arms deal scandal and threatening to sue him for defamation.
The governor had called on the anti-graft agencies to beam their searchlight on the former minister for allowing such huge sums of money, which were purportedly unappropriated, to be withdrawn from the nation’s treasury without as much as an outcry from her.
In her response, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, berated Mr. Oshiomhole for attempting to rope her in the arms procurement scandal currently rocking the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), urging President Muhammadu Buhari to call the governor to order.
The ex-minister insinuated that her refusal to approve the governor’s ‘dubious’ loan request could be responsible for his persistent attacks on her person since she left office in May.
Mr. Nwabuikwu also disclosed that his principal had put her lawyers on notice to henceforth take legal action against Oshiomhole and his ilk, who might want to damage her hard-earned reputation.
Gov. Oshiomhole, who responded to the threat to sue him in a statement by his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua on Thursday, said the ex-minister ought to bury her head in shame for acknowledging that she denied the people of Edo State an infrastructure loan, when she could not redeem what was due to the state.
“Would there have been need for loan request if she was truly in firm control of the economy under her watch? Is it not ridiculous that the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy pretends to be ignorant of the sleaze and primitive looting of the nation’s treasury under her watch? Does it not prick the conscience of Okonjo-Iweala that so much financial improprieties were perpetrated right before her nose and yet wants to be celebrated as a super Minister? Does she want to absolve herself of the abysmal performance of the economy under her watch during the Jonathan years?” the governor queried.
According to Oshiomhole, from the revelations so far and the manner in which the country’s resources were plundered in the last administration, it is crystal clear that the former finance minister was grossly incompetent to manage the nation’s economy especially on account of the huge sums of money running into billions of dollars that were stolen under her watch.
“Such incompetence will be further complicated if it is assumed that she looked away while some people helped themselves to the nation’s treasury. Either way, she is complicit”, he maintained.
The statement noted that without an iota of doubt, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, from all indications, has shown a remarkable attribute of a voodoo economist and one who rather than answer very simple questions by way of clarifications, easily condescends to base sentiments to divert attention.
The governor insisted that the former minister has numerous questions to answer with respect to the management of our collective patrimony under her watch.
He raised some posers in regards to her tenure as coordinating minister of the economy thus: “What manner of a Finance Minister will allow huge sums of money to be withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria with whimsical stroke, dealing with individuals in a way that eliminate the usual control that should be the hallmark of such body? How can a World Bank former Managing Director allow such conduct right under her watch without raising concerns?”
In response to the conjecture by Mr. Nwabuikwu that each time Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala receives international recognition for her role as Nigeria’s finance minister is when the likes of Mr. Oshiomhole come out with spurious allegations against her, the governor called on organizations which have been trying to “dash her awards” to as a matter of procedure, carry out due diligence to properly score her, else, one would have cause to suspect that such awards may have been procured.
“Anyone giving her award will be doing Nigeria and Nigerians a great disservice in the face of on-going investigations and revelations that have exposed the rotten underbelly of the Okonjo-Iweala years.
“In the meantime, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole awaits the letter from Okonjo-Iweala’s lawyers, but she should be reminded that public officers are accountable to the people and should be ready to answer questions on their role while in office or out of it”, the statement concluded.