A former spokesperson for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, has dismissed an allegation by a former Governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, that Jonathan ran the apex bank like the late Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin Dada, who ran aground his country’s central bank.
In an interview in the current business edition of The Interview, Soludo described the CBN as “the ATM of the Presidency under Jonathan.”
Soludo said, “Recent revelations regarding the $2.1bn scandal involving a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the apparent abuse of the CBN as an ATM by the Presidency should get reasonable people thinking.
“Imagine a scenario where a President can order the CBN to create an intervention fund for national stability and the CBN literally ‘prints’ say, N3tn, and doles it out as cash to the President to prosecute an election campaign, or for just about anything he fancies. I don’t know any other country where such is tolerated, except perhaps what I watched in a movie about Idi Amin and his governor of the Central Bank.”
But speaking with our correspondent in a phone interview on Monday, Okupe said Soludo’s accusation was baseless.
According to the former spokesperson, Jonathan was a very meek leader who did not take rash decisions on the country’s finances.
He said, “I have read what Soludo said but sincerely I don’t see any reason to compare former President Jonathan with Idi Amin. It is a baseless point. Idi Amin was a tyrant and an all-in-one. He fought the British by deporting foreigners from his country. That is what I know about Idi Amin. How such figure relates to Jonathan is what I don’t understand.
“I honestly disagree with him because it’s like comparing another dictator like Adolf Hitler of Germany with Ghana’s President. I do not understand why Soludo is coming out to attack the former President. Nigerians come up with different stories depending on situations. His accusation that Jonathan ran the CBN like an ATM machine is out of point. Jonathan was a meek leader who was mindful of his actions. Soludo was wrong. Jonathan doesn’t fit into that type of preposterous description. He was not rash in taking decisions.”