Sunday, July 22, 2007
Cancellation of Refineries sales was Yar'Adua's call
CONTRARY to reports, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua actually gave the directive for the revocation of the sale of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries last Tuesday.
This was before the buyers - Bluestar Oil Services Consortium - wrote a letter withdrawing from the transaction.
The consortium, it was learnt, apparently got wind of the President's decision and acted swiftly before the letter containing the order could reach it.
But sources hinted that the revocation of the sale of the refineries was the kick-off of the reversal of some of the contracts and decisions "hurriedly taken in the dying days of President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration."
Said one of the sources: "Expect many of the decisions taken in the last few months of the tenure of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to be reviewed. Many reversals are coming. And you can bank on that."
The decision was taken at a meeting held last Tuesday in the President's office, which was attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.
Also present, as participants, were the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Funso Kupolokun and the Director-General of BPE, Mrs. Irene Chigbue.
President Yar'Adua directed Mrs. Chigbue to write the Consortium on the decision to revoke the sale. Apparently, someone privy to the decision, or who was told of it, informed Bluestar of the revocation order.
The presidency, however, believes that the decision to revoke the sale of the refineries could have been leaked through the privatisation agency.
So, by Wednesday, Bluestar Oil Services Consortium acted fast. Instead of waiting to receive the letter of revocation, they dispatched their own letter to the BPE, informing it of their decision to pull out of the sale.
And in order not to lose face, it put in motion its own public relations machinery, leaking to the media that it had pulled out. It was in all the media by Thursday.