TOLU OGUNLESI: Let me tell you guys a quick interesting story about the ECA (Excess Crude Account).

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So, as you all know you cannot spend ECA money without the approval of the State Governors, under the aegis of the National Economic Council statutorily chaired by the Vice President.

Do you know what happened under GEJ? (We can’t leave him out since you insisted on dragging him into the story).

Under GEJ the distrust between Governors and the Presidency/FG was so high it was mind-boggling.
Many Governors had zero trust in the Federal Governor.
And you couldn’t blame them.
And it wasn’t only opposition Governors oh, that were affected by this cat-and-mouse thing.

Amaechi was a PDP Governor when the then PDP Presidency waged massive war against him. Remember the Governors Forum election madness.

This was the state of affairs at the time:
At one point the National Economic Council meeting didn’t hold for FIVE months…….

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Meanwhile this is the meeting where Governors are supposed to give approvals for ECA releases, and also engage with the FG generally.
This fueled resentment among the Governors. Also the feeling that the GEJ Administration was hiding something.
How can you keep cancelling NEC, month after month.
Treating Governors like sh*t, on top money that they co-own with you. That was the situation under GEJ.
Meanwhile oil was like $100 per barrel, but nothing to show for it. ECA wasn’t rising as they expected, stories were rife of billions of $$ missing.
The NEC that was a platform for engagement & explanation, you ‘died’ it. Kept Interfering in Govs Forum politics (recall 16 vs 19).
Against this backdrop, could you really blame the Governors at the time for insisting that ECA be shared to the last kobo? Why keep your money with people who fail to account for it, treat you like dirt, and do everything to prevent you from sitting with them for explanation?

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Contrast this with NEC under Buhari / Osinbajo:
Every month without fail NEC holds. In a spirit of camaraderie.
The Governors are treated with respect, they enjoy coming to NEC. They get monthly accounting of Federation funds (ECA, Ecological Funds, Stabilization Acct, etc).
If they have complaints they raise it, and get answers. Nobody cancels NEC; Buhari & Osinbajo have no interest in interfering with Governors Forum or hiding anything from them.

Every State gets their dues, regardless of partisan affiliation. Every single one, every single time!
It is these same Governors that in the last few years have decided on their own — wholeheartedly too —to transfer $500 million from the ECA to the SWF @nsia_nigeria.
All through the boom years of GEJ nothing like this happened after the $1bn seed fund used to establish the NSIA.
It is these same Governors that in December 2017 approved release of $1 billion from the ECA for purchase of security equipment (aircraft, weapons, etc).

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No cat-and-mouse game between FG and States. Mutual respect everywhere. Every month at NEC, States get clarifications & updates.

What is Excess Crude Account (ECA)

Excess Crude Account (ECA) is the name of a Nigerian government account that was created to save revenues, in excess of the budgetary benchmark price, that were generated from the sale of oil.

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