– There are no think-tanks in Nigeria, Professor Jibrin
Ibrahim has said
– Professor Ibrahim disclosed that Charles Soludo and
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala collected millions of dollars, and
naira with nothing to show for it
– Professor Ibrahim berated the Nigerian government
for not looking inward to solve its problems
A senior fellow and former executive director of Centre for
Democracy and Development (CDD), Professor Jibrin
Ibrahim has revealed how former finance minister, Ngonzi
Okonjo Iweala, and the ex-governor of Central Bank of
Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Soludo mismanaged
millions of dollars and naira gotten from the Canadian
government and the CBN.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala indicted by
The erudite scholar who spoke on “Think-Tanks and Civil
Societies as Integral Partners in the Delivery of Public
Goods and Accountability for National Development” at
a recent workshop organized to examine the 17 years of
Nigeria’s democracy disclosed that there are no think-tanks
He made this comment in reference to what he said
transpired in 2007 when think-tanks set up by Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala and Professor Charles Soludo got funding
from the Canadian government without credible result to
show for it.
Professor Charles Soludo also
indicted by Professor Ibrahim
”Nigeria does not need civil society. So in a sense there is
no topic to discuss. I am saying this with all seriousness.
Sometimes I joke. But this time I am not joking.
”Let me tell you a story. In 2007, the Canadian High
Commission invited us for a workshop and they said the
Canadian government had studied the African situation.
”That we don’t have indigenous think-tanks that could
contribute positively towards policy development and
national development. It was on that basis they provided
multi-million dollar funding to support serious well-
grounded indigenous think-tanks.
”I was then the director of CDD, so I was very excited that
CDD is getting on the lime-light and we are headed for
millions of dollars.
”So we went for the meeting and they took a long time to
explaining the importance of sustainability. The project was
on sustainability and the ultimate objective is to get the
private sector in Nigeria to see the value of the great work
that these think-tanks are doing. And therefore they will
start providing indigenous support and these efforts will be
”That was the long spill that we were subjected to.
Meanwhile, we were all waiting. So how do we proceed?
”We assumed that given the principles of due process there
will be call for application. Think-tanks will now bring
evidence of the work they are doing, their capacity, and
their competence and on that basis they will choose the
best. But that is not what happened,” Prof Ibrahim
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He continued: ”After the presentation they informed us they
have chosen the three best think-tanks in Nigeria and then
they announced their names.
”The first was the Centre for the Study of the Economics of
Africa (CSEA), the second was the African Institute for
Applied Economics (AIAE) and the third was Nigerian
Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER).
”And I said we have heard of NISER but the first two we
have never had about. Where are they coming from? But
they said well you know these are really the in-thing in
contemporary Nigeria. The first one is set up in Abuja by
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the second established in Enugu
was by Charles Soludo.
”So why did you waste our time if you’ve already made
your decision? Why are you calling a cross-section of Civil
Society to tell us the best think-tanks in this country are
owned by Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Charles Soludo?
These are organizations nobody can talk about. We know
the people when they were in government.
”But I think the real issue is that Obasanjo was leaving then,
Ngozi had left and they were panicking that look we didn’t
need think-tanks in Nigeria then since Ngozi and Charles
were already in government and we have given them the
prescription and they were simply applying it.
”There is this new guy from Kastina (late President
Yar’adua) coming in and we are not sure he knows the right
thing. So it was in the context of that that they put millions
of dollars into these two institutions,” Prof Ibrahim said.
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The professor of African politics also disclosed that Charles
Soludo’s AIAE in addition to getting millions of dollars from
the Canadian government also received 500 million naira
from the Central Bank of Nigeria without any concrete work
done or policy paper to present.
”And it is also very interesting that the Enugu based centre
had also received 500 million naira from the Central Bank
of Nigeria (CBN) by a founder who happened to have been
a governor the CBN.
”Since then these two institutions we have never had a word
from them. No policy papers. Nothing. They have the
millions and millions and I think what that really put on the
table is that the question of thinking about policy has been
settled just like Prof. Ade Ojowu has said in 1986,” he said.