Information recently made available to 247ureports.com through sources within the power corridors of the federal capital of Nigeria, Abuja, indicates that there appear jolting intricacies laden within the sudden quantum-like spike in oil subsidy payments to select oil marketers/importers during the period immediately preceeding the presidential elections of April 2011 [February to April 2011] and the period immediately following the said elections [April to August 2011] – which coincided with the arrival of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the Finance Minister for the Ministry of Finance in August 17, 2011.
A principal and knowledgeable source within the Jonathan administration indicates that the sudden “quantum-leap” in the payment of oil subsidy payments was not a mistake. “The President knew about it” said the source who explained that fake submissions for oil subsidy payments were approved and disbursements were made – and the monies were used towards financing the President’s election of 2011.
On the afternoon of January 11, 2011, two days to the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] presidential primaries at the Eagles Square in Abuja, the source, pointed to the huge [“staggering”] amount withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] for “classified” expenditure. The sum withdrawn, according to the source, was in excess of N150billion.
The money was withdrawn for use against the threat posed by the PDP opponent [Abubakar Atiku] to President Jonathan. Atiku was said to be in a critical race against the president for delegates. The Jonathan campaign had received intelligence the Atiku campaign reached out to 3000 delegates and had disbursed the sum of $3000 to each delegate in exchange for their votes [3000 delegates would give Atiku the victory over Jonathan]. In reaction, the Presidency had to raise immediate ‘cash’ to avert what would appear an embarrassing loss. Within 24hours, the President’s campaign team raised the booty on Atiku – by offering each of the 3000 delegates $7000 in exchange for their votes – an equivalent total of $21million [N3.381billion]. The $7,000 was paid in foreign currency and an additional amount of N250,000 in local currency was handed to each of the 3000 delegates for “hotel and transport” costs – equivalent to a total of N750million. On the night of January 13, 2011, on the day of the PDP presidential primaries, the sum of N4.13billion [N750million + N3.381billion] was disbursed by the Jonathan campaign. And so victory was secured.
Following the victory at the Eagles Square, the President’s campaign re-focused its attention to consultations [taming] with political groups within the North who were unhappy with Jonathan’s candidacy and believed that President Jonathan should have stepped down for a northern candidate – in line with the zoning agreement previously reached by the party. For this, the president’s men made extensive consultations with each of the Emirs in Northern Nigeria and with other leaders of thought in the north. Confidential information available to 247ureports.com reveals that the consultation exercises, by the end of January 2011, cost the President’s campaign an excess of N500million.
The Jonathan campaign took an interesting turn as it entered February 2011. A fleet of private Jets was leased from four major carriers -King Airlines, Wings Aviation, Top Brazz and Overland – for use towards the national campaign. The normal charge for per hour of each aircraft was $6000 per hour – and the Jets operated at 70 hours per week. The Jonathan campaign paid the rate of $10,000 per hour – for the period of 10weeks – equating to an amount of N100million daily – totaling to an equivalent of N10.5billion for the said period.
Then came the February 14, 2011 billionaires meeting where the 28-member Presidential Campaign Council [PCC] was set up at the Eko Hotel in Lagos. The billionaires consisted of Aliko Dangote, Otedola, Adenuga, Elumelu, Jimoh Ibrahim, Emeka Offor, Kasim Bukar, Sayyu Dantata, Jim Ovia and others. And as the PCC which was primarily tasked with raising funds for the campaign began work in February of 2011, the oil subsidy requests for payment also began to experience a quantum leap from the budgeted N245billion to N1.7trillion.
Interestingly, the Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Allison Madueke and the Finance Minister, Mrs Okonjo Iweala while testifying before the House of Representative Committee investigating the Oil Subsidy funds management indicated that the amount disbursed as at February 2011 was N245billion – and that begining from March 2011 the amounts submitted for approval suddenly surged.
Explaining the surge, the source pointed to the personalities within the 28-member billionaire PCC as directly responsible for the surge from N245billion to N1.7trillion. According to the source, shortly following the formation of the PCC, Sayyu Dantata, a member, through his company, MRS Oil submitted a N225billion oil subsidy request for payment, Femi Otedola, through his company, AP, submitted a N105billion oil subsidy request for payment, a ‘mysterious’ construction company by the name Pinnacle Construction also submitted a claim for N300billion – during the same period.
It was during the same period that Stella Odua Ogiemwonyi who was one of the leaders in the Jonathan campaign organization filed a claim that she had spent her own personal money to the tuned of N5billion – for the maintenance of the campaign secretariat. Stella Odua Ogiemwonyi is the Chief Executive Officer of Sea Petroleum and Gas. Interestingly, her company submitted claims for oil subsidy payments in excess of N5billion. Her claim was approved and paid.
Cursory inquiry confirms that a significant percentage of the claims submitted by the members of the PCC were fraudulent. The fraudulent oil subsidy claims freed the President’s ability to spend in a manner deemed unprecedented by informed experts.
On March 16, 2011, the campaign released N55million to a media company [name withheld] for a single advertisement slot. By March 31, 2011, the campaign paid N7.3billion in advertisements. On March 28, 2011, it donated one car and one bus to each of the 36 chapters around the country and the FCT – along with a cash donation of N14million to each chapter [totaling N518million]. In monetary terms, its equates to a little over N1billion. Between April 12 and April 15, 2011, the campaign disbursed N107billion.
When approached regarding the sourceof the exobitant spending, the Director of the Neighbor to Neighbor Initiative [the main NGO funding and managing the Jonathan campaign], Mr. Mike Omeri stated the donations came from online contributors.
Comparing the yearly trendings of the oil subsidy claims submitted from 2006 to 2011, highlights the anomaly in the oil subsidy claims between March 2011 and August 2011. In 2006, subsidy claims was submitted for 26.9million liters of petrol for the amount N200billion, in 2008, subsidy claims was submitted for 33.4million liters of petrol for the amount N630billion, and for 2010, subsidy claims was submitted for less than 33million liters of petrol for a little over N600billion.
And so it begs the question, What the President knew about the N1.76trillion subsidy payment.