Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP on Wednesday in Kaduna reiterated his plan to privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), if elected president on Feb 23.

The good news, however, is that he no longer said he would sell to his friends.

Abubakar spoke at a town hall meeting with ward, local government and state party leaders in the state at the Kaduna Trade Fair Complex.

He said that the NNPC had failed to serve the purpose for which it was established in 1977.

According to him, selling-off the Corporation and all the three refineries is the best option for the country, likening it to the sale of Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL).

Abubakar said Nigeria is among the biggest producers of crude but lamented that the country still imports refined products for local consumption at exorbitant prices to the detriment of the common man.

He said, if elected President, he would deregulate the NNPC and sell it to Nigerians, the way Obasanjo sold NITEL.

However, he forgot to mention that the sale of NITEL was disastrously done by the administration, of which he was a part and chairman of Bureau of Public Enterprises, which handled the sale.

Under Obasanjo, NITEL went through several botched sales and management turnaround contracts. First, 51 per cent of the shares was sold to a group of investors under the trading name of Investors International London limited.

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The sale was cancelled after the investors failed to pay. Then in 2003, the government approved a management turnaround contract with a firm called Pentascope. The contract was cancelled in 2005 after it became clear Pentascope did not have the adequate resources to run NITEL.

In 2005, government again offered NITEL to Orascom. This failed again, leading the government to sell it to a subsidiary of Transcorp in 2007. The sale was revoked in 2009. In 2014, the firm was sold to NATCOM, a group of investors led by Tunde Ayeni. Ayeni since then has been running it as NTEL.

Abubakar, also former Vice president, urged the people of Kaduna state to massively vote for the PDP, promising to allocate 40 per cent appointments to the youth to address the rising unemployment and restiveness.

He said that, his government if elected, would make education a priority by providing scholarships to all deserving youth and women in the country.

Abubakar also promised to allocate 30 per cent of appointments to women, adding that, he would provide adequate funds through the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency to empower women and the youth.

He said that his leadership would address, what he described as alarming insecurity, with killings of innocent Nigerians across all the geopolitical regions.

Abubakar appealed to the electorate to vote the PDP into political offices in the state for the betterment of the people.

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