Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has alleged that Nigeria went into recession under former President Goodluck Jonathan but that the government only covered it up by saying it was cash-strapped.
The minister, who spoke on The Osasu Show, said Okonjo-Iweala begged him to stop saying Nigeria was broke at the time.
Amaechi, who was then the chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), said the economy went into a recession due to excessive borrowing.
When asked about the recession of the Nigerian economy, Amaechi said: “People just pick up words without knowing what words mean. Even under Goodluck 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,” he said.
“The difference is that while our government is transparent and open, we are able to admit that, 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’re broke. The minister for finance came to my office in Abuja here 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 cashed strapped. That was what Ngozi Okonjo Iweala told me.”
“So I knew as chairman of Governor’s 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.”
AMAECHI: WE GENERATED 7,000 MEGAWATTS BEFORE AVENGERS STARTED BOMBING
When asked about the promises of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on power, Amaechi said the ministry of power already pushed generation to 7,000 megawatts.
“Don’t forget that until these so-called Avengers began to bomb, we had got to 7,000 megawatts, and what he promised was ten at the end of the first term,” he said.
“By the time the avengers, or whatever they call them started bombing, the minister of power, had driven the thing to 7,000 megawatts. Unfortunately, they began to hit the gas facilities, so what would you do?”
In the full interview, which would be aired on AIT by Friday morning (9am), Amaechi said the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will create 779 jobs for Nigerians.