Former All Progressives Congress chieftain Chief Tom Ikimi has opened a political can of worms concerning the mega deal between Oando and Conoco Phillips.
Ikimi has revealed that APC chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu met secretly with Diezani Madueke to broker the $1.5 billion deal on behalf of Oando.
Tinubu, whose party has always been very critical of Madueke, is being called “hypocritical” by observers. The APC had in the past called for the sack of the minister and also called for her prosecution by anti-corruption agencies.
According to The Cable:
Departing APC chieftain, Chief Tom Ikimi, has taken a swipe at former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, over the recently approved $1.5 billion oil deal between Oando Plc and ConocoPhillips in the upstream sector. The deal, aggrieved APC members told TheCable, was struck in June at a secret meeting between Tinubu and minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, at the Abuja home of the PDP national chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mua’azu ─ a day to the APC national convention, where Ikimi failed in his bid to become APC national chairman.
He believes Tinubu worked against his bid and finally wrote to the party on Tuesday to withdraw his membership, but not before carpeting the former Lagos State governor who was said to have opposed Ikimi because he could “sell” APC to PDP. Ikimi, in his resignation letter, in turn insinuated that Tinubu was the one doing the “selling” ─ although he did not mention him by name.
He asked in his letter: “Who by the way is the buyer? Is it the PDP Government that opened its doors once more recently to one of the APC foremost boastful and noisy leader to consummate a mega oil deal on the eve of that controversial APC convention? Who then is really selling and who is indeed buying?” The mega deal had been stalled for a while allegedly by the federal government for political reasons, but was approved shortly before the convention in what is now being interpreted as a 2015 “tactical manoeuvre” by President Goodluck Jonathan. ConocoPhillips, an American company, had reached an agreement with Oando two years ago for the Nigerian company to take over its interest in the upstream oil and gas operations.
However, as Oando made to raise the needed finance for the deal, the federal government was seen as raising obstacles to its successful completion. When Oando, which is listed on the stock exchanges of Nigeria, South Africa and Canada, tried to raise a bond on the London Stock Exchange last year for the transaction, it was scuppered by an allegation in court that former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori ─ who is currently serving a jail sentence for corruption in the UK ─ had an interest in Oando.
This caused Oando a big set-back, temporary affecting its value in the stock market. ConocoPhillips’ fields produced about 43,000 barrels of oil a day last year and have proven reserves of 213 million barrels of oil equivalent. With the take-over of ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian upstream assets, Oando is now one of the biggest players in the upstream sector in the country.
But Tinubu’s associates have consistently denied insinuations that he has a stake in Oando Plc. Meanwhile, Ikimi also took a swipe at Tinubu over the failed presidential quest of Malam Nuhu Ribadu who only won one state in the south-west in 2011 despite being the candidate of the dominant party, Action Congress of Nigeria (now party of APC), in the zone. Jonathan won five of the six states under the control of ACN. Ikimi wrote: “Who sold Mallam Nuhu Ribadu’s ACN Presidential candidature in 2011? Was it Chief Tom Ikimi?”