Two-time former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has given reasons why he made a former World Bank staff, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a Finance Minister during his administration.
In his book titled, “Making Africa Work” co-authored with Greg Mills, Director of Brenthurst Foundation; Jeffrey Herbst, President of NEWSEUM and Dickie Davis, a retired major general, Obasanjo said some fraudulent projects and the Paris Club debt led to his “head hunt” for Okonjo-Iweala from World Bank.
According to Obasanjo, “On assumption of office as president, I discovered that the accumulated debt of Nigeria to the Paris Club was some $30 billion. Some of the projects that constituted the debt were dubious, if not outright fraudulent.
“One typical example was a turn-key project for $8 million where the money was drawn out with no site clearance let alone the foundation being laid. And yet, there was a video of the purported commissioning of the project. This happened in Enugu state, one of the 36 states in Nigeria.
“Obviously, it involved collusion and corruption between the state government and the lender and promoter of the project. All the same, the loan was a commitment and it had to be repaid. Such had become the practice of Nigerian debt to the international community.
“I visited most Western capitals to present anew Nigeria’s case. One such visit was to Washington DC where I met President Clinton and the president of the World Bank, Jim Wolfensohn.
“I would then explain that Nigeria’s population of almost 150 million at the time and its stage of development should justify such relief.”