Nigeria Oil Scandal, Obasanjo Criticism Weakens Jonathan’s Re-election Chances

Nigeria Oil Scandal, Obasanjo Criticism Weakens Jonathan’s Re-election Chances

From Bloomberg

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is facing the biggest test of his three years in office after reports the central bank questioned the lack of accounting for $50 billion in oil revenue and a former leader criticized him for failing to tackle corruption.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a stalwart of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, said in a letter to Jonathan this month that he has failed to tackle graft and security threats in Africa’s biggest oil producer. He also accused him of widening a split between the mainly Muslim north and largely Christian south in a bid to retain power.

Obasanjo’s criticism came after newspapers including Lagos-based ThisDay said Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi wrote Jonathan a letter alleging that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. is withholding more than three-quarters of oil revenue earned from January 2012 to July this year. The cumulative effect has been to dim Jonathan’s chances of winning Nigeria’s next election.

“If the vote was tomorrow, the PDP would lose, which would be unprecedented for a ruling party in Nigeria,” Manji Cheto, vice president at consultancy Teneo Intelligence in London, said in a Dec. 16 phone interview. “The prevailing narrative about the advantages of incumbency doesn’t seem to be working in Jonathan’s favor.”

A southern Christian who won elections in 2011, Jonathan, 56, hasn’t said if he will run in the 2015 vote. His administration is battling Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group in the north, rampant oil theft, falling revenue from crude oil exports and piracy off Nigeria’s coast.

Written by Daniel Magnowski | Read more at Bloomberg