Ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says he was queried by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 for proposing the privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Speaking on Tuesday at the launch of We Are All Biafrans, a book of essays by journalism and activist, Chido Onumah, in Abuja, Atiku said he made the proposal before the Obasanjo government was inaugurated 17 years ago.

“In May 1999, I attended the OTC in Houston, Texas, where I advocated that NNPC should be privatised,” he said.

“When I returned my boss (Obasanjo) queried me for saying that. Indeed, when we were inaugurated and he formed his cabinet, he allocated the portfolio of minister of petroleum to himself

“However, Obasanjo said last week that his greatest regret was not privatising NNPC during his eight years in power. That is 17 years after I proposed it.”

Abubakar, who was vice-president from 1999 to 2007, said the reliance on oil has destroyed the political and economic structure of Nigeria.

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