Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says “Jonathan Was Not Interested in Government Savings”.

….and my question is , “what did she do about it”? What she didn’t do at the time was to resign, instead, she held onto power. With due respect to the former Minister, these comments are as valueless as the Naira you thought you were saving by clinging onto power. – Jide Salu

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday said that her former boss, former President Goodluck Jonathan was not interested in saving Nigeria’s huge earnings from oil and other sources between 2011 and 2015.

She said the absence of political will to save under former President Goodluck Jonathan is responsible for the hardship facing the country currently.

Speaking on “inequality, growth and resilience,” at George Washington University, the former minister said the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must seek means to embed savings in national constitutions devoid of political manipulations.

Okonjo-Iweala added that Nigeria was able to save $22 billion under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which saved the country in 2008, from global economic meltdown.

Speaking on the Chilean saving example, Okonjo-Iweala said: “We tried it in Nigeria, we put in an oil price based fiscal rule in 2004 and it worked very well.

“We saved $22 billion because the political will to do it was there. And when the 2008 /2009 crisis came, we were able to draw on those savings precisely to issue about a 5 per cent of GDP fiscal stimulus to the economy and we never had to come to the bank or the fund.

“This time around and this is the key now, you need not only to have the instrument but you also need the political will. In my second time as a finance minister, from 2011 to 2015, we had the instrument, we had the means, we had done it before, but zero political will.

“So we were not able to save when we should have. That is why you find that Nigeria is now in the situation it is in. Along with so many other countries.”


17 Comments Add yours

  1. Fikayo says:

    The office of the finance is a sensitive one, at least we must give kudos to Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for putting some deals in order, else we will not be here today, pointing accusing fingers at one another.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Fikayo, I agree with you. The more reason why office holders should be bold enough to take bold decisions such as resigning from a position especially if you are been mocked with your intelligent solutions. When you flock with a group, you can not, at a later date exonerate yourself. This is my point Fikayo. Thanks for your thoughts.


  2. Michael says:

    If there was any Nigerian minister to recommend over and over again for a job well delivered and executed, it is none other than Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who fought tooth and nail to close loopholes in carting away with Nigeria’s money at all costs. So, it is therefore abnormal and hypocritical to accuse this same woman who saw to it that our monies were spent wisely.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Michael, I don’t know how you could ever introduce hypocrisy in your comment. How can I be an hypocrite? Record has it how Jonathan’s administration squandered money and refused to save. You wrote she “fought tooth and nail to close loopholes in carting away with Nigeria’s money at all costs”, I don’t doubt that. Did she succeed at it is another question? Why remain in a position when you are certain not to achieve your goal?

      Why are people missing this point? Some have even gone to protest that resigning from a position of power is a foreign act. This is the problem.

      If she had resigned and given reasons why she did, she would have alerted Nigerians early enough of the reckless act of the government. But no, Nigerians don’t believe it would have been in the interest for her to resign.

      Thank you for your comments which I really appreciate. God bless.


  3. Fikayo says:

    If Okonjo-Iweala said the past government lacked the political will to save, she meant every word of it. How else can you qualify or validate a head of state whose primary concern only centred on frivolous spending. The least the finance minister could do was curb Jonathan’s excesses, she didn’t have the veto power to deny him access to Nigeria’s purse.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Fikayo, you couldn’t have put it better in my support. You however left out one act she refused to do, and that was to RESIGN her position especially when she was convicted Jonathan’s government lacked the political will to save. This is my point.

      Resigning from a position of power or from government is not foreign. It should be encouraged.

      Fikayo, thank you for taking the time to register your thoughts. Most appreciated.


  4. Afeez says:

    So what if Okonjo-Iweala shifts the blame on the state governors, they had collectively opposed to saving in the ECA and in the Sovereign Wealth Fund; it reveals how wasteful and extravagant these governors are. They chose to eat and embezzle what would have served as our current earnings simply because of lack of focus. Now see where we are now.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Afeez, I get your point. My point here really is to introduce the virtue of resignation. Stand up for what you believe in when in power, and not out of power. many commentators seem to disagree with this ‘foreign’ attitude and I am bemused at the thought.

      I have no doubt Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is a brilliant mind, I have never doubted that and will never, but she had a great opportunity to leave a legacy when she knew she was in ‘bed’ with the wrong guys. She should have resigned and told the world she no longer had confidence in the direction of jonathan’s government. Can you imagine what that would have exposed the world to, especially Nigerians? This is my point.

      AFC, I appreciate you for your thoughts. Thank you.


  5. Rukayat says:

    It was rather unfortunate that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was surrounded by a large number of greedy politicians. And we would rather equate her with these thieves when we can admit that this woman did everything within her capacity as the Finance Minister to protect Nigeria’s economy from the wolves that surrounded her administration. If for any reason, this woman deserves accolades from Nigerians not condemnation fuelled by the same government she served under.


  6. Kemisola Robert says:

    Now Salu, you say her advice is valueless, but it is the unchallant attitude of people towards Okonjo Iweala’s advice that put us in this situation in the first instance, now you are repeating the same mistake. It is wise for us to listen to Dr Okonjo Iweala’s advice because it is obvious she is a very intelligent woman with lots of experience.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Kemisola, I ‘get’ or ‘see’ your point.

      Ok, I retract my ‘valueless’ reaction.

      Her after-thoughts may serve us well now, however, it would have saved us the costly mistake the nation is now experiencing, if she had resigned (in protest) and articulated her current views. I agree, we can still make use of her ideas.

      Thank you Kemisola for your comment. Most appreciated.


  7. Nina Olusoga says:

    These are harsh words jide, and Dr Okonjo Iweala does not deserve those words. She wasn’t the president at that time, so it wasn’t her duty to challenge the will or office of the president. We Nigerians voted for Jonathan. Then, if you must blame someone, we should blame ourselves.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Nina, tell me how they are harsh words.

      I have had plenty of similar words for President Buhari whom I supported. I had plenty of kind words, amongst harsh words for former President Goodluck Jonathan. I express it as I see it.Nothing partisan here. We need to stay clear of partisan comments. Just because I supported Buhari over Goodluck does not exclude him from my ‘harsh’ comments.

      One thing I agree with you is that Nigerians deserve whoever they elected as leader.

      My point with Okonjo is this, using Okonjo as the ‘assistant manager’ to Goodluck. Okonjo has no right to blame’manager’ Goodluck when both have been sacked by the ‘club’. her utterances would have carried more weight if she had resigned in protest, and afterwards give her views why she resigned and disagreed with the ‘manager’s’ tactics. This is my point. In her case, Goodluck FAILED and she must absorb the blame also.

      Nina, thanks for taking time to write your thoughts. I appreciate.


  8. Seye Tiamiyu says:

    I guess you just want to talk Jide or perhaps use words just for the sake of pun. Would you have resigned if you were her? Let us be realistic and not judge people when we know we can’t do any better. If anyone should resign then it shouldn’t have been Okonjo Iweala instead it should be those who know in their hearts that they are not fit to lead.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Seye, who is talking for the sake of talking, huh!

      You don’t know me from Adams, and you already claim to know my reality.


      Unless, it is how you express yourself, but my reality is what I have stated. Just because it is not in the culture of Nigerians to resign does not mean I believe in that culture.

      We are talking about someone who was in power when she knew things were incorrectly carried out, only to now point accusing fingers when it’s now convenient for her.

      I don’t get it with the Nigerian mentality.

      If you believe in been sacked, then say so.

      For those that are close to me, they know what I stand for. I don’t need to write for the sake of writing. That is not why I am doing what I am doing.

      Okonjo was appointed, not elected. She ought to have done the right thing, after all, she carved her reputation in an environment where resignation is not a taboo.

      I thank you for your thoughts. Nothing personal here Seye.


  9. Praise says:

    The next question would definitely be directed at you. How would her resignation have benefited the Nigerian economy and Nigerians? A local parable says, cutting off the head is not the cure to headache. Forget this western people that resign from office at the slightest provocation. That is not the only way to deal with challenges. Take a clue from Mr David Cameron. After lossing the referendum for a Brexit, he resigned. But how does that help the British economy out of the storms of its relationship with the European Union? I guess we can only wait and see.


    1. Jide Salu says:

      Whether Cameron resigned or not, the economy would have reacted the way it did.

      Back to your ‘local parable’ that has never served the interests of Nigerians. I am a believer in Christ, so I will refer you to the bible in Matthew 5:29 (If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.). How about that?

      Now that Okonjo has made her pronouncements, and pointed accusing fingers at someone else, how has it served the present government?

      From your comment, you appear to belong to the school of thought that believes resigning from office is a futile virtue. What is wrong with resigning when you refused to be compromised? I guess that is why the WEST are the first world and AFRICA remains third world. Which other successful ways have Nigerian leaders applied to deal with conflict?

      It all boils down to attitude of people in powers as well as Nigerians as a nation!

      Thanks for your thoughts, really appreciate ..


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