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“The narrative of inheriting empty treasury is a blatant lie” – Goodluck Jonathan



"The narrative of inheriting empty treasury is a blatant lie" - Goodluck Jonathan | BellaNaija

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described the present administration’s claim that it inherited an empty treasury as a lie.

The Cable reports that Jonathan said this while speaking at the launch of his new book “My Transition Hours.”

It’s been a consistent claim of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration that it inherited a crashing economy, one that Jonathan has described as a lie. He said:

Recall that the opposition and their sympathisers and campaigners, both local and international, with their malicious propaganda, tore our economy to shreds, threatened our stability and existence as a nation and intimidated our citizens, all in the bid to take over power.

Rather than forge a coalition and build on the momentum we had gathered when they eventually took office, they went on a persecution spree and vengeance mission. That the country slipped into recession soon after we left office was a self-inflicted injury caused by misplaced priorities. The narrative of inheriting empty treasury is a blatant lie.

Also, the excuse of the collapse of world crude prices does not hold water. This is because the Fourth Republic took off in 1999 with crude oil selling for less than $20 per barrel and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth at 0.58 per cent, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figures. Yet, the economy maintained a steady growth from that year, peaking at 15.33 per cent in 2002 when the average crude oil price was about $25.

It is also instructive that the oil and gas sector constitute about 11 per cent of our GDP. There had to be a wider causative factor than just the fall in world crude prices.

It also amounts to standing facts on their heads to continuously claim that recession was caused by so-called mindless looting. The truth is that the opposition, in a bid to undo our government, became its own undoing when it got to power, because of the burden of justifying deliberate misrepresentations.

There is wisdom in the saying that if you win a prize and get the crown, don’t go around destroying the person who previously held that prize; it will lose its value.

Even after winning the election and forming the government at the centre, the blame game continued. When two brothers fight to death, it is the neighbour that inherits their father’s wealth. And we have seen neigbouring nations like the Republic of Benin and Ghana reaping from the capital flight out of Nigeria.

Just consider that my minister of state for health, Dr. Muhammed Ali Pate, is now a professor at America’s Duke University, as well as a Senior Adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation based in Washington DC. My minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, is now the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

My Co-ordinating minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, is the chairperson of the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the African Risk Capacity (ARC). She also sits on the board of Twitter and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, just as she is a Senior Adviser at Lazard and a Director at Standard Chartered Plc in the United Kingdom, amongst others.

My minister of communication technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, is currently chairperson of custodian and Allied Insurance Limited as well as the Global Alliance for Affordable Internet. And it is not just members of my cabinet. Others who served with me in different capacities are also soaring on the world stage.

A good example is Ms. Arunma Oteh, who I appointed the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commissnon (SEC). Under her steady and skillful direction, Nigeria’s equity market grew in metric proportions, and by the time I left office in 2015, the market had tripled in size to $150 billion in value. Two months after I left office, Ms. Oteh was appointed a Vice-President and Treasurer at the World Bank.

With such personalities on my cabinet, no one can factually say we were ‘clueless’ or inept. The evidence of performance is simply overwhelming. We gave Nigeria an impressive and steady GDP growth rate at 6.7  percent per annum.

We were officially cited as the third fastest growing economy in the world by CNN Money in 2014. We eradicated polio and guinea worm and became the first nation in the world to defeat the Ebola virus, such that the then richest man in the world, Bill Gates celebrated us for our prowess in the health sector. We reduced our food import bill by 36 percent.


  1. Ijebujesha

    November 21, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Mr Jonathan, you were cut from a different cloth. You led a very loud and impulsive people with limited capacity for analytical reasoning, Collectively, they do not have much ability to foresee the future even when all the signs are very glaring. You have done your own bit and your conscience and the few intelligent ones among them know. They had worse plans for you, they would jail and kill you if they could but God that loves and favours you has made a weak you untouchable to a very strong them. They thought you were finished in 2015 but God says you will always be respectable to the world. See how all your enemies that worked against you in 2015, many of the evil people in this country were bowing for you yesterday. Last, last they still bowed. God loves you sir. To God be the glory..

  2. tony

    November 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm


    Jonah is a decent man! I just read the except in this post but… But it seemed like you ran a rudderless government!! yes yes you had some smart brains(not Okonjo) but corruption was rampant!! monumental corruption!!

    Johna was a good man but a very ineffective leader… lets call a spade a spade…. Your oil industry rotted to high heavens, you gave the likes of Stella and Oduah free rein…. it was loot loot loot… you had stars in your government but in Nigeria you also need political will and backing for these stars to be effective….

    That said Buhari is a worse form of leader!!!

    I will like to read this book tho

  3. tony

    November 21, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    **** likes of Stella Oduah and Diezani free rein***

  4. Sammie

    November 21, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Mr Jonathan, show facts. All these emotional statements don’t mean anything. Tired of these old men with no ideas ruling us.

  5. Engoz

    November 21, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    I’m sure I’ve used the word stupid to define your government in a previous post. Some of your actions defeated common sense. But the better, ‘respectful’ word would be ‘ineffective leader’ as Tony said. And by leader, I want to emphasize I’m not talking about Nigerians barbaric idea of leadership that has the stench of a terrorist or Obasanjo’s agberoism. Your leadership during the Chibok girl abduction saga was not good. Some people in your government denied it, some to date still deny it ever happened. What intelligence were you privy to? That was a definitive moment for me and it was not handled well at all. It came across as heartless. The riff-raffs in your government overshadowed the good ones. Also, whoever you employed as advisers for PR, media relations, ruined you. It is unfortunate your gaffes made it too easy for the likes of General Buhari to come back. Buhari should never have been President. It was a retrogressive step backwards.

  6. Nnenne

    November 22, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Your government could be better but it was FAR BETTER than what we have today!
    The FACTS and DATA are out there!
    I love that you left and did not meddle!

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