Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained that the sale of two of the nation’s oil refineries had been concluded before he exited office in 2007, saying his successor, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, reversed the sale due to “pressure.”
Obasanjo said this in his serialised interview with ‘Book Club’, a programme on Channels Television, monitored in Lagos on Wednesday. The ex-President said business mogul, Aliko Dangote, leading a consortium of investors, had paid $750m for two of the refineries, as the Federal Government was finding it difficult managing the facilities at the time.
He, however, regretted that instead of the Yar’Adua administration to consolidate on the sale so that the investors could turn around the fortunes of the refineries, his successor succumbed to pressure and reversed the sale of the oil facilities.
Obasanjo equally revealed that not only did his successor cancel the sale, he also refunded the $750m paid by the investors.
He added: “The refineries are old and Dangote and some investors paid $750m for two of the refineries. My successor came to office and reversed the sale; he even refunded the money they paid. So, I went to him and said ‘why did you do this’? He said it was because of pressure. So, I said ‘so the pressure of some people was more important than the interest of the whole nation’! Right now, you will hardly be able to sell the refineries for more than $250m because they are very old.”
Obasanjo explained that most people, especially leaders, failed to analyse the decisions of those before them before upturning those decisions, pointing out that most leaders yielded to sentiment than informed opinions.