Former president Goodluck Jonathan allegedly turned down the chance presented to him, to stem the tide of under-development in his home region while in power, at least this is what Idahosa Okunbo, a director at Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Ltd. said of the man.
Okunbo, a core investor in Yola and Ibadan power distribution companies, said he was completely disappointed in Jonathan who told him that although the idea was laudable, the Niger Delta region wasn’t the only region in the country.
“It is not only about the arms struggle, it’s about intellectual struggle; I have done a movie (Black November). What was my drive in sponsoring that movie? I believed I had to give something back to that region(Niger Delta), and I was fighting my cause intellectually.
“Unfortunately, President Jonathan was also from our area. I told him plainly, listen, if we have $200 billion for the development of the Niger Delta, $50 billion will give us three major refineries, three petroleum mega plants that will employ the youths.
“And we would also be able to refine the oil that is coming from our land, we would give value to the oil, and proper infrastructural development to our land.
“I was disappointed, I was completely deflated when the former president told me it’s a laudable idea but Niger Delta is not the only region in Nigeria,” Okunbo said.
Okunbo did not provide context for the episode, like the exact time, or what the prevailing conditions in Nigeria were at the time he made the request to Jonathan.
In the build-up to the 2015 elections, Jonathan was accused of corruption and nepotism, with many of his critics accusing him of favouring his region in appointments and awards of contracts.
Whether this changes the perception of the former president will be difficult to determine, but it does lend some sort of credence to Jonathan’s claims that those allegations were false.