I regret not privatising NNPC – Obasanjo, former Nigerian President

Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President said he regretted not privatising the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, during his eight years in office.


The former president, while speaking in Lagos yesterday at the opening of a two-day maritime conference, said the Federal Government should allow the organised private sector play a critical role in repositioning the nation’s moribund assets and infrastructure.

Obasanjo said past experience in Nigeria has shown that the private sector will always make a meaningfully contribution to the sustainable growth and development of the nation when given the opportunity.

While pointing out that the organised private sector had aided and stabilized the nation’s telecommunications industry by creating jobs and paying money to the government on a sustainable basis, he regretted not privatising the NNPC.

He said, “NNPC is supposed to be doing well like Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).

“The involvement of the private sector will ensure growth.”

Obasanjo noted that NLNG is doing well because of the involvement of the private sector.

He said, “The NLNG is making money for the government because of the involvement of the private sector.”

Obasanjo added that Nigeria’s maritime sector had not made much impact because of lack of transparency.

He said, “A General once left this country with two ships. He later came back with no accountability.

“That cannot happen in the private sector.” Obasanjo, who was chairman of the event tagged “Building a sustainable maritime industry in Nigeria,” noted that corruption was one of the factors hindering growth and development of the nation.

He further disclosed that he met five ships while he took over as head of state and later bought 19 more before leaving office in 1979, but added that, “20 years after and in 1999, there was no ship left.”

He said while one of the ships was sold as a scrap for $500,000, “government later bought the same ship for $2 million. It was repaired for $1million.

“It was later seized for not being sea worthy, I was informed. We were asked to pay $2 million.

“I told them to keep the ship. It was later released (without any payment).”

Obasanjo said over 90 per cent of global trade is carried out via the sea, noting that “this underscores the fact that a sustainable maritime industry has direct impact on the economy of the nation and also determines the competitiveness of its export.”

He said, “The private sector should be encouraged to take the driving seat in the development architecture of the Nigerian maritime industry.

“Hopefully, this will bring about the desired efficiency in the management of the project and sustained funding.

“Nigeria should look beyond its national maritime sector as an economic hub for the country but should by now be consolidating its position as the regional and global force in the maritime domain,” he said.



  1. Mr regret u can still do it now,since u refused to go for retirement like other former Presidents,u shared power with yara due,Gej and now sharing with buhari and u re talking about regret,wayo man

  2. Stupid goat!always regretting.The ones u privatized like the phcn and co.what’s the outcome.u mean u should have bought nnpc wen u were in power so dat all these fuel hike now come to your covers.

  3. People dat God had placed in positions of authority must be respected, irrespected of our views of their performances in office.True Godly africans will not talk down on their leaders, both current & past.

    • @Akin Taiwo I totally agree with you on this view. No matter how disenchanted we may be with anybody especially leaders (past and present, whether they are the same tribe or not) we should be extra careful in how we address them. We Nigerians should learn to take pains in RESPECTFULLY communicating our grievances – in pointing out obnoxious, wicked and heinous personalities without DISRESPECTING them or calling them names. For example, I have never accepted President Buhari as capable of CHANGING Nigeria from the present sorry state to the desired eldorado, I have also never come to terms with the styles of the likes of Bola Tinubu, Obasanjo, etc. when viewed from the perspectives of national sages; BUT I resist everything in me that may pressure me to DISRESPECT them whether openly or secretly. This ought to be our template as Nigerians and as Christians (if all of us are perhaps..)

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