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Atiku at Kaduna townhall meeting insists on selling NNPC



By Shuaib Sadiq
Kaduna, Feb. 20, 2019   Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday in Kaduna reiterated his plan to privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), if  elected president on Feb 23.
Abubakar spoke at a town hall meeting with ward, local government and state party leaders in the state at the Kaduna Trade Fair Complex.
He said that the NNPC had failed to serve the purpose for which it was  established in 1977.
According to him, selling-off the Corporation and all the three  refineries is  the best option for the country, likening it to the sale of  Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL).
Abubakar said Nigeria is among the biggest  producers of crude,  but lamented that the country still imports refined products for local consumption  at exorbitant prices to the detriment of the common man.
He said, if elected President, he would deregulate the NNPC and sell it to Nigerians. the way Obasanjo sold NITEL.
However,  he  forgot to mention that the  sale of NITEL was disastrously done.
Under Obasanjo, NITEL went through several botched sales and management turnaround contracts. First, 51 per cent of the shares was sold  to a group of investors under the trading name of Investors International London limited.
The sale was cancelled after the investors failed to pay. Then  in 2003, , the government  approved a management turnaround contract with a firm called Pentascope. The contract was cancelled in 2005 after it became clear Pentascope did not have the adequate resources to run NITEL. In 2005, government again offered NITEL to Orascom. This failed again, leading the government to sell it  to a subsidiary of Transcorp in 2007. The  sale was revoked in 2009. In 2014, the firm was sold to NATCOM, a group of investors led by Tunde Ayeni. Ayeni since then has been running it as NTEL.
Abubakar, also former Vice president,  urged the people of Kaduna state to massively vote for the PDP, promising to allocate 40 per cent appointments to the youth to address the rising unemployment and restiveness.
He said that, his government if elected, would make education a priority by providing  scholarships to all deserving youth and women in the country.
Abubakar also promised to allocate 30 per cent of appointments to women, adding that, he would  provide adequate funds through the  Small and Medium Enterprise Agency to empower  women and the youth.
He said that his leadership would address, what he described as  alarming insecurity,  with killings of innocent Nigerians across all the geopolitical regions.
Abubakar  appealed to the electorate to vote the PDP into political offices in the state for the betterment of the people.
He said he would allocate more resources to the states and local government areas for faster development across  the country.
Earlier, the National Chairman of the PDP,  Uche Secondus and Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Yakubu Dogara, urged the Kaduna State Party leaders to work tirelessly to ensure the success of the party at the Feb 23 and March 9 general elections.
The Governorship candidate of the party, Isah Ashiru said   the party would bring development at all levels to the state, if voted into power.
Ashiru  said his administration  would reduce poverty to the minimum and create employment opportunities for the  youth and women as well as  persons with disabilities.
Ashiru appealed to the people come out en masse and vote for the party and ensure their votes count.
He, however, urged the youth against violence during and after the polls.
The  chairman of the party in the state , Mr Felix Hassan Hyat spoke in the same vein.
The News Agency of Nigeria   reports that former Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, former National chairman of the party, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, former governors Ramalan Yero of Kaduna and Ibrahim Shema of Katsina  were among top party leaders that attended the event.