The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has released a bombshell with his recent allegation against the immediate past former Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala whom he said begged him not to reveal that Nigeria was broke.
Amechi stated that Nigeria went into recession under the immediate past government of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, claiming that the former administration covered up the information, employing the phrase ‘cash-strapped’ to describe the economic situation of the country rather that the word ‘broke’.
An online medium, The Cable, reported that the former governor said this on the Osasu Show on Tuesday.
The report alleged that Amaechi said Okonjo-Iweala, begged him to stop saying Nigeria was broke in order not to scare off investors from the country. He explained that the economy went into a recession due to excessive borrowing by the past government.
Amaechi, who was the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum at the time was quoted to have said:
“People just pick up words without knowing what they mean. Even under Goodluck (Jonathan) we went into recession.
“I am one of those who participated in the budget. We looked at what happened in the past and we discovered that actually if recession means three times (three-quarters of negative economic growth), we have done more than the three times before we came in.
“The difference is that while our government is transparent and open, we are able to admit that, the Federal Government was saying even to me as chairman of governor’s forum, ‘Amaechi, don’t say that again’.
“If you remember as governor, I said we were broke. The Minister of Finance came to my office in Abuja and pleaded with me that I shouldn’t say it again. That if I said it, it would affect Nigeria in terms of investment; that investors will run away. That I shouldn’t say we are broke. I should say we are cash-strapped. That was what Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told me.
“So, I knew as chairman of Nigeria Governors’ forum, that we had gone into recession under Goodluck. I knew as chairman of governor’s forum. And when I open my mouth to say it, that we are broke, she spoke to me not to say it.”
I’m sure we all know where this is going!