cable 09ABUJA259, C) NIGERIA: SHELL BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON OIL GAS ISSUES

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000259

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
USDOE FOR GEORGE PERSON AND CHAYLOCK

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2028
TAGS: EPET ENRG ELAB PINR ECON SENV PGOV NI
SUBJECT: (C) NIGERIA: SHELL BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON OIL GAS ISSUES,
COMMENTS ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH AND HIGH-LEVEL CORRUPTION

REF: ABUJA 203

Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4. (b
& d).

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Shell's regional executive vice president for
Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter
Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27 in Abuja and provided
an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially the security
situation. She said that Nigeria now had one of the highest negative
ratings for maritime operations, creating problems for Shell in
hiring oil tankers to load, as tanker operators will work only under
highly selective conditions. Last year there were about 80 piracy
attacks on land and water combined. This year already 15 have been
tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. On corruption,
Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil
cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil.
Oil buyers would pay NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu
and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large bribes to lift oil. Pickard
also reported an instance of the Attorney General Aondoakaa allegedly
soliciting a $20 million bribe to sign a document. The International
Oil Companies (IOC) are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new
petroleum sector energy bill. The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch,
and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers.
Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She
said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert, though
very drawn in the face, thin, and frail. Her information is that the
President was not in danger of dying soon, but also was unlikely to
ever fully recover from his ailments. (Note: see septel on oil/energy
sector issues for the Ambassador's meeting with the new Minister of
Petroleum Resources. End Note). END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Shell's regional executive vice president for Africa Ann
Pickard and government relations representative Peter Francis met
with the Ambassador on January 27, 2009 in Abuja and provided an
update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard reported that
Shell's meeting with Minister of Petroleum Resources Dr. Rilwanu
Lukman scheduled for earlier that day had been cancelled; the third
week in a row where key appointments had fallen through, with the
excuse of being summoned to the Presidential Villa. (Note: Emboffs
have observed that meetings with ministers and senior staff are
indeed often cancelled with the explanation that they have been
summoned to the Presidential Villa, even when the President is out of
town. End note). Econ Counselor and Econoff (notetaker) also
attended the discussion.

- - - - - - - - -
from bad to worse
- - - - - - - - -

3. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to share with Pickard that
the Mission was in the midst of completing its Strategic Plan and
asked Pickard where she thought Nigeria was headed. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially in terms of security.
She said that Nigeria now had the highest negative rating for
maritime security, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers
to load; tankers will work only under highly selective conditions.
She also noted that late on the evening of Saturday January 17,
Nigerian militants attacked and boarded two vessels at a Shell crude
oil loading platform in Bonny and took eight crew members hostage.
Standard procedure on the tanker was followed: the ship went into
immediate lock down; there were no injuries or fatalities from the
boarding. The eight Nigerian crew members who were taken hostage were
later released. The pirates who went through the sections of the
boat to which they were able to gain access, smashing and stealing
computers, electronics, and personal items of the crew members. The
second vessel was a tug boat towing a supply vessel from Bonny to
Calabar. Last year there were about 80 incidents of piracy; this
year already 15 had been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3
for Exxon. GON officials have told Shell to "hire more security."
The price of doing business in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria
continues to climb she concluded. [Note: The International Maritime
Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce -
www icc-ccs org - reports that the waters off the Gulf of Guinea
(Nigeria) remain the second worst, with 40 incidents in 2008 to the
Horn of Africa (Somalia) with 42 recorded incidents. The IMB notes
that in 2009 the Horn of Africa will be more intense as Spring comes
due to the large number of foreign warships in the region on active
patrol to ensure the safety and security of vessels. The same
increased security is not expected for Nigeria in 2009. End Note]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
shell believes coup unlikely; corruption worsening
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Abuja 00000259 002 of 003


4. (S/NF) The Ambassador asked what Shell's thoughts were on any
potential for a coup. Pickard answered that there is little
intellectual capital to plan and execute a coup and Shell sees little
potential for one. Pickard then went on to say that corruption in
the oil sector was worsening by the day. The Ambassador asked for a
few examples. Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the
lifting of many oil cargoes and there are some "very interesting"
people lifting oil (People, she said that were not even in the
industry). As an example she said that oil buyers would pay Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) General Managing Director
Yar'Adua, (Note: not related to President Yar'Adua. End Note) Chief
Economic Advisor Yakubu, and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large
bribes, millions of dollars per tanker, to lift oil. The IOCs
control the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargos, so GON actors do
not have the same opportunity for illicit gain. Pickard also said xxxxxxxxxxxx
Attorney General Aondoakaa had told a visitor that he would sign
a document only if the visitor paid $2 million immediately and
another $18 million the next day.

- - - - - - -
very bad bill
- - - - - - -

5. (C) Pickard reported that Shell, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron all have
big license review disputes with the GON. Shell has taken its
dispute to court and the court is supporting Shell's position.
According to her, Shell is stepping back for the moment, however, to
see how the other two majors negotiation fair, but is not taking its
case out of court yet. The IOCs are quite concerned about the "very
flawed" new petroleum sector energy bill. The bill is silent on what
fiscal regimes would be applied. Shell says that the bill could
reduce the corporation's overall value in Nigeria. GON discussions
around the bill have mentioned the possibility of moving to five-year
licenses and prohibiting exploring both oil and gas from the same
source, which would contradict how oil and gas extraction works in
practice. The bill is silent on joint ventures; it just states that
NNPC will be incorporated. Pickard said the bill was "likely to sail
through." The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch and U.K. COMs to
convey points on the bill to GON policymakers. (Note: Pickard
mentioned that the IOCs will not share company information directly;
they will hire consultants, like McKinsey, to produce common themes
so the messages from the IOCs to be shared with the relevant
Ambassadors are clear and consistent. End note). Pickard lamented
that the expected cycle of petroleum is at least five years for the
first oil to flow, another 10 years of production to begin to break
even. These numbers change when oil is $40 per barrel instead of $100
per barrel. Hence, a five year license would not be an incentive for
investment and development.

- - - - - -
gas issues
- - - - - -

6. (C) The Ambassador said that the Mission was looking at
performance measures for the economy, i.e. the linkage between the
country's electricity output and gross domestic product (GDP). The
Ambassador shared that the Mission feels strongly that gas for
feedstock is the key to Nigeria's power production, which is only
about 2,800 average megawatts for a country of 140 million people.
Pickard agreed and added that the U.S. got it wrong on its domestic
natural gas policies, which it took over 20 years to sort out. So it
is not surprising that Nigeria has it wrong at this point. She said
there is not adequate infrastructure for gas. Gathering plants and
pipelines to carry the product to the power plants still have to be
financed and built. The Nigeria Independent Power Projects (NIPP)
were located where there is no gas and no infrastructure. In
addition, the international oil companies were coerced into building
a power plant each, something they have no expertise in, and they are
scrambling to deliver gas to these plants.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
yar'auda vacation is perhaps something else
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (S/NF) Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing
game. She said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems
alert but drawn in the face and frail. She reported that a xxxxxxxxxxxx
contact says that the President was not in danger of
dying soon but has serious ailments from which he will never fully
recover. Pickard shared that Berger provides transportation
including planes for the President and has reportedly flown in
doctors and technicians to attend the President (reftel). She said,
for instance, that xxxxxxxxxxxx confided that they flew the
President from Germany to Saudi in September 2008. Additionally, the
Berger contact thought the President would not return to the Villa

Abuja 00000259 003 of 003


offices, as they were moving the President's personal things out of
the Villa. (Note: What we think this means is that Yar'Adua is
spending most of his time in the presidential residence and not in
the Villa offices. End Note).

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hopes that oil nationalism can be tempered
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (C) The Ambassador asked how comfortable Shell was with the new
appointment of Dr. Rilwanu Lukman as Minister of Petroleum Resources,
and the appointment of Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo as the new NNPC GMD.
Pickard sees the nationalism card cooling with the removal of former
NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, given that new Minister of Petroleum Lukman is
more "pragmatic" and will hold sway over deputy Minister Ajumogobia.
(Note: Ajumogobia's technical assistant told EconOff in a meeting on
January 14, 2009 that the State Minister was focusing on Gas, since
before the mass cabinet change he was State Minster of Petroleum,
with a separate State Minster for Gas.) End Note. She said she was
also okay with NNPC chief Barkindo. She has worked with Barkindo
several times over the past few decades, especially when they were
both working climate change. She said Barkindo led Nigeria's
technical delegation to climate change negotiations that produced the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)and the
Kyoto protocol to UNFCCC during while he served on its Bureau at
various times. She indicated that although his undergraduate studies
were in political science, he obtained his MBA from Southeastern
University in Washington DC and did postgraduate work in petroleum
economics and management at Oxford University. Although she also said
terms like nationalistic and Chavez she however said that she thought
he could be steered in the right direction on the petroleum sector.

- - - -
comment
- - - -

9. (C) Although Pickard clearly seems frustrated with the way things
are going in the maritime security, oil sector legislation, and
corruption which affects Shell's bottom line, it was useful to hear
that she has hopes for the new Petroleum Minister and NNPC chief.
Septel on the Ambassador's meeting with new Petroleum Minister Lukman
will address many of these same issues.

10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.

Sanders

cable 08ABUJA1016, S/NF) NIGERIA: xxxxxxxxxxxx

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001016

SIPDIS
NOFORN

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA, INR/B
DOE FOR GPERSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/2033
TAGS: PGOV PINR KDEM KISL SOCI NI
SUBJECT: (S/NF) NIGERIA: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Ref: a. ABUJA 320
b. ABUJA 799
c. ABUJA 972

Classified By: A/Pol/C Heather Merritt, reasons 1.4 (b, c & d).

1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that Yar'Adua began
experiencing symptoms of acute renal failure in late 1999,
and traveled at that time to Mainz, Germany, to consult with
kidney specialists. xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed, that in 1999, German
doctors told Yar'Adua to undergo dialysis treatment, and that
a dialysis unit was subsequently installed in his private
Katsina residence in 2000. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx when
Yar'Adua's condition worsened in 2002, he traveled to Saudi
Arabia to receive a kidney transplant. To ensure his body
would accept the transplant, Yar'Adua took steroids and other
medications which in due course reportedly caused the
discoloration that we see today on the President's face.
Moreover, xxxxxxxxxxxx averred that Yar'Adua's poor health reduced
his capacity to govern and, correspondingly, his political
influence in the North. xxxxxxxxxxxx also alleged that during
Yar'Adua's tenure as Katsina governor his wife, Hajiya Turai
Yar'Adua, persuaded Yar'Adua to divert millions of dollars of
public funds from the Katsina state treasury into private
accounts. (Note: We have heard of similar illicit enrichment
attempts by Mrs. Yar'Adua now that she is in the Villa as
well as scarce allegations that President Yar'Adua had
engaged in corruption while Katsina governor. End Note.) On
the political front, amidst current rumors of President
Yar'Adua's failing health, the northern political elite
appears increasingly concerned that in the event of
Yar'Adua's untimely demise, the presidency may return to the
South. END SUMMARY.

2. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx spoke with
PolOff May 26. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that Yar'Adua began experiencing
symptoms of acute renal failure in late 1999, after traveling
to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the lesser pilgrimage in Mecca.
Upon returning from Saudi Arabia, xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed, Yar'Adua
traveled to Mainz, Germany to consult with kidney experts.
According to xxxxxxxxxxxx the German specialists instructed
Yar'Adua to promptly go on dialysis treatment. xxxxxxxxxxxx stated
that the German-based Julius Berger construction company,
which had significant financial ties to the Yar'Adua family
(through the President's elder brother Shehu Yar'Adua), was
contracted to set up a dialysis unit in Yar'Adua's home in
Katsina. Doctors from Germany were brought to Katsina to
train local physicians in dialysis operations, though, xxxxxxxxxxxx
asserted, Yar'Adua also retained the services of German
kidney specialists in Wiesbaden, making frequent trips there
between 2000 and 2002.

3. (S//NF) Following a 2001 visit to Saudi Arabia, xxxxxxxxxxxx
said, Yar'Adua's condition worsened, and he was diagnosed
with chronic renal failure. Upon returning from Saudi
Arabia, Yar'Adua's dialysis treatments become more rigorous,
xxxxxxxxxxxx confided, and his dialysis machine was moved into his
private bedroom. xxxxxxxxxxxx maintained that Yar'Adua likely
received a kidney transplant in Saudi Arabia in either late
2001 or early 2002. xxxxxxxxxxxx also claimed that Yar'Adua's
dialysis machine was removed from his Katsina residence in
2002 and that discoloration was evident on his face at that
time, which he assessed was the result of Yar'Adua taking
steroids and other medications to enable his body to accept a
transplant. xxxxxxxxxxxx rejected notions Yar'Adua suffered from
Churgg-Strauss syndrome. Additionally, xxxxxxxxxxxx explained that
the raised patch of skin often noted by observers on
President Yar'Adua's right hand is not connected to his
kidney ailments, but instead the result of a serious car
accident Yar'Adua sustained in 1999. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx
after Yar'Adua's car accident, his physicians removed some
tissue from his buttock area to graft to his injured, and
badly disfigured hand.


Abuja 00001016 002 of 003


4. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that Yar'Adua "always" craved
power, dating back to the days when Yar'Adua first contested
and lost the governorship of Katsina state in 1991. Indeed,
xxxxxxxxxxxx remarked, Yar'Adua's politically prominent family
"bred" him to assume office in the future. However, xxxxxxxxxxxx
asserted that throughout Yar'Adua's administration in
Katsina, his performance suffered due to his poor health,
which contributed to his constant fatigue, and to "an
inability to govern." Whereas Katsina state commissioners
and permanent secretaries routinely worked twelve-hour days,
xxxxxxxxxxxx said that governor Yar'Adua himself entered the office
at 10:00am and returned home around 3:00pm each day.
According to xxxxxxxxxxxx Yar'Adua seemed disinterested in
engaging in the requisite politicking that is the hallmark of
political relations between elected leaders and power brokers
in the North, and Nigeria generally. Yar'Adua's
disinclination to travel while governor, even to neighboring
states to meet with the northern political elite, also
perpetuated his political isolation.

5. (S//NF) During his tenure as governor of Katsina, xxxxxxxxxxxx
maintained, Yar'Adua appeared deliberative and ruthless in
managing the affairs of his state. While intelligent,
Yar'Adua, according to xxxxxxxxxxxx neither tolerated disagreement
nor insubordination. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that Yar'Adua ultimately
relied on a handful of confidants, whom xxxxxxxxxxxx considered
sycophants more than dispassionate consultants. xxxxxxxxxxxx said
that Yar'Adua, paradoxically, routinely ignored the counsel
of even his purportedly trusted advisers, preferring instead,
to make his own decisions. In so doing, xxxxxxxxxxxx said,
Yar'Adua had been assessed by some other northern elders as
both an unimpressive leader, and an irresponsible one.

6. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx suggested that while Yar'Adua served as
governor of Katsina, Yar'Adua's wife Hajiya Turai Yar'Adua,
manipulated him into diverting millions of dollars of funds
from the state treasury into private Yar'Adua family
accounts. xxxxxxxxxxxx alleged that Yar'Adua used these stolen
funds to construct a lavish private residence in Katsina and
to finance family vacations to the Middle East and the UK
(Ref A). Though xxxxxxxxxxxx acknowledged that Yar'Adua as former
governor had built primary and secondary schools in Katsina,
xxxxxxxxxxxx criticized Yar'Adua for failing to properly fund the
training of teachers for those schools. As a result, xxxxxxxxxxxxx
said, unlike in the past, under Yar'Adua's two terms as
governor, Katsina students consistently failed to meet
national standards in math and reading assessments. xxxxxxxxxxxx
said that for Yar'Adua, "it was all about the spectacle of
governing." Even the roadways in Katsina, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, may
have been impressive, particularly when compared to the
deplorable road network in other parts of the North, however,
xxxxxxxxxxxx alleged that while the roads had been built, the
contract costs were egregiously inflated and the excess funds
were siphoned. xxxxxxxxxxxx said some Katsina road contracts had
been given to non-existent, "ghost" companies, which were
secretly "owned" by Turai Yar'Adua.

7. (S//NF) COMMENT:xxxxxxxxxxxx allegations of Turai Yar'Adua's contract-related
corruption in Katsina also seem credible in light of similar
claims previously reported by the Mission since she became
the First Lady (see Ref A, for example).xxxxxxxxxxxx perspective may help shed light on
President Yar'Adua. As reported (Ref C), we believe the
President has two sides: one, for international consumption;
and the other, which turns a blind eye to certain rule of law
issues, particularly as it pertains to his wife.
Then-governor Yar'Adua's unwillingness to engage in the
necessary politicking to build a broad base of support in
Katsina may have been relatively insignificant against the
backdrop of insular Katsina state, or even northern regional,
politics. However, as president of a diverse nation, with
competing regional interests and powerful patronage networks,
Yar'Adua's continued political isolation (even within the

Abuja 00001016 003 of 003


North) may illustrate, to an extent, why even today Yar'Adua
has not fully succeeded in truly stamping his authority on
the PDP or the Presidency.

8. (S//NF) COMMENT CONT'D: Certainly, Yar'Adua's health
remains a cause of concern for northern power brokers,
especially in light of the possibility that Vice President
Goodluck Jonathan would constitutionally be next in line for
the presidency in the event of Yar'Adua's demise, although we
doubt the northern elite would allow this to transpire.
Opposition presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari (All
Nigeria People's Party) told PolOff May 13 at his Kaduna home
that given the North's trepidation of power returning to the
South (if, for instance, Yar'Adua cannot complete his term),
Buhari feels vindicated in his insistence on challenging the
President's election. Buhari intimated that members of the
northern political elite have begun visiting him to affirm
their allegiance to him, and to support him as he continues
to contest Yar'Adua's election at the Supreme Court (see Ref
B). Buhari noted that, in light of news of Yar'Adua's
troubling health, some northern power brokers now believe
fresh polls (wherein Buhari emerges the victor) might be the
best way of ensuring that the North retains the presidency.
End comment.

9. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx END NOTE.
Sanders

cable 09ABUJA202, NIGERIA: SARAKI ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH, NEED FOR

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000202

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA
DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL EFIN KCOR TBIO NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SARAKI ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH, NEED FOR
ACTION ON PRIORITIES IN 2009, APPOINTMENT OF FORMER NFIU CHIEF TO GOVERNOR'S FORUM

Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b
& d).

1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador met with Kwara State Governor and
President of the Governor's Forum (GF) Bukola Saraki on
January 28. Saraki was his usual self, discussing President
Yar'Adua's health situation and his own attempt to resolve
some of the EFCC's issues by appointing the former NFIU Chief
as Director General of the GF. He also noted that he had
followed through on the framework for stemming polio
outbreaks tha tthe Ambassador had given to him in December
2008 to share with the 36 governors. (NOTE: The Ambassador
had provided the interagency points on what states needed to
do better to address polio in Nigeria.) Saraki continues to
maintain that Yar'Adua does not have lung cancer and noted
that he is less fatigued and breathing better than in
September 2008. Saraki told me Yar'Adua recognizes the need
to take visible action on his seven point agenda in 2009, as
January 2010 will see the beginning of political maneuvering
for the 2011 elections. Saraki put the recent reconciliation
between former President Obasanjo and former VP Atiku in the
context of preparations for the 2011 elections. He again
thanked Ambassador for a presentation on polio sent by the
Mission and noted that the governors agreed to work to
eradicate polio in their respective states under the umbrella
of the "Make Your State Polio Free" campaign. END SUMMARY.

Saraki comments on yar'adua's health
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2. (C) On the President, Saraki began by saying Yar'Adua will
remain in Abuja the week of January 26 and plans to travel to
Katsina and other areas of Nigeria the next week. He holds
to his view (as a medical doctor) that Yar'Adua is
chronically ill, suffering from kidney disease, but maintains
that he knows of no plans to go to Germany for treatment and
does not believe he has lung cancer or is in need of a kidney
transplant at this time. Saraki said Yar'Adua wanted to go
out of Nigeria with his family for vacation, but was
concerned that international travel would be perceived as
another medical trip, so decided to stay in Nigeria to allay
any fears. Regarding Yar'Adua's health in general, Saraki
said that Yar'Adua suffers from less fatigue and shortness of
breath than he had in September 2008, and has not had a major
episode since returning to Nigeria from his September trip to
Saudi Arabia, implying that his medical regime has given him
some relief.

3. (C) NOTE: In a January 27 meeting, Shell Petroleum Vice
President for Africa Anne Pickard noted to Ambassador that xxxxxxxxxxxx
the German construction and transport company
Julius Berger xxxxxxxxxxxx provide transportation to and
from Germany for doctors looking after Yar'Adua, as well as
helps ship medical equipment to Abuja.

Yar'adua realizes need to act in 2009
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
4. (C) Saraki asked the Ambassador (given her recent trip
back) how Nigeria is being viewed in the U.S. these days.
Ambassador noted that there was still concern that there was
not more movement on Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda, nor concrete
steps to improve the Niger Delta situation and the lack of
movement on the anti-corruption fight remains at the top of
the list. Saraki said he discussed this with Yar'Adua and
that Yar'Adua realized he needs to move faster and no longer
has the liberty to be as deliberative as his nature might
dictate. Saraki said that he and Yar'Adua are of like minds
in seeing 2009 as a "make or break" year. In January 2010,
political camps within the PDP will already be formulating
their positions on candidates for the 2011 election and it
would be harder for Ministers and others to take any bold
actions as they seek their godfathers for 2011. Ambassador
asked Saraki if he thought the PDP would support Yar'Adua for
another term, if he so desired. Saraki said he did not know,
noting there are already others interested (i.e., Atiku) who
will also be working the party members. Saraki said he did
not know and has not received any signal from Yar'Adua
regarding his plans for 2011.

Abuja 00000202 002 of 002



Saraki on obasanjo-atiku meeting
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (C) Saraki maintained that former President Obasanjo and
former VP Atiku were having a "lovefest" in order to prepare
for the 2011 elections. Asked about internal machinations
within the PDP lately, which clearly have the governors on
one side and politicos like Obasanjo and Atiku on the other,
Saraki said this was the case and he expected things to
continue in this vein as people begin to decide who they are
going to back for the 2011 election. Saraki said Atiku would
officially be coming back into the PDP in March 2009.

Gov's forum to put efcc back on track
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (C) Saraki said he is trying to work behind the scenes
getting the issues surrounding the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission "back on track." He maintained this was
the motivation behind hiring former Nigerian Financial
Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Director Ashishano Bayo Okauru as
Director General of the Governor's Forum (announced publicly
on January 27). Saraki said Okauru is not/not being pursued
on corruption nor national security grounds and neither is
there an arrest pending on him. According to Saraki, Okauru
has worked out his "resignation issues." (COMMENT: Given
previous EFCC focus on the Saraki family, we are skeptical of
the Governor's comments as he has a vested in terest in the
EFCC taking its spotlight off his family. END COMMENT.)

State-level polio eradication campaigns
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (C) Saraki said the governors were appreciative of the
polio presentation the Ambassador sent to the Governors'
Forum in December, noting the attendance of Ministry of
Health officials at the forum. The governors agreed to a
campaign to make their states polio-free and report on polio
issues at each GF meeting. Further developments will be
reported septel.

8. (C) COMMENT: Although Saraki is very plugged in with
President Yar'Adua and holds a lot of political sway with
many governors, particuarly in the north, we always need to
weigh his motives with the information he provides in
one-on-one meetings. He certainly sees himself as a
potential political candidate at sometime and sees Yar'Adua
as one of his best vehicles to get there. On the other hand,
he clearly has fears about the Obasanjo-Atiku reunion as they
would be a more difficult faction of the PDP to control.

9. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
SANDERS

10ABUJA215 wikileaks document Nigeria

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ABUJA215 2010-02-26 16:04 2010-12-08 16:04 SECRET Embassy Abuja
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #0215/01 0571637
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O R 261637Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0436
INFO RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0014
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC 0004
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0006
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0028
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH 0027
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0025
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0027
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0027
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
Friday, 26 February 2010, 16:37
S E C R E T ABUJA 000215
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/W, AF/RSA, INR/AA
NSC FOR GAVIN
OSD FOR DASD HUDDLESTON
LONDON FOR POL (PLORD)
PARIS FOR POL (BAIN AND KANEDA)
ROME FOR AF WATCHER
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
EO 12958 DECL: 2020/02/26
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PINS, PINR, PTER, MARR, NI
SUBJECT: GOODLUCK JONATHAN REMAINS ACTING PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA
REF: ABUJA 207; FEB 24 A/S CARSON-AMB SANDERS TELCON
CLASSIFIED BY: Robin R. Sanders, Ambassador, STATE, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (D)
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SUMMARY
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1. (C) Ambassador met February 26 with Acting President (AgP) Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the Vice President’s official residence, Aguda House, in Abuja to review the current political situation following the return earlier this week of ailing President Yar’Adua. Moves are afoot, between Jonathan and key northerners in the lead such as former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, to encourage the Yar’Adua family to let go and let the President resign with dignity. This will allow Jonathan to serve as interim President until elections and also allow him to designate a vice president. Given the dysfunctional level of the current Cabinet, Jonathan said that once this happens, he will dissolve the cabinet, after consulting with the Council of State. Both moves, he believes, will appease Northern politicians, as he suspects that more northerners will support the resignation idea. Jonathan claims he wants to do a good job over the next 12 months, and leave a legacy of credible elections, electoral reform, including replacing the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) chairman and all of the commissioners. He promised the Ambassador that he would look at her suggestion of using terminal leave for the INEC chairman, which could have him out earlier than June. The Acting President also agreed to allow U.S.-UK technical assistance to help improve the voter registry and provide for a parallel vote tabulation. He expects things to calm down in the next 10-14 days, will not leave the country until things are resolved, and has opened channels with the military. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was leaving Jonathan’s private office when Ambassador was entering. End Summary.
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WHO’S IN CHARGE?
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2. (C) Jonathan told the Ambassador “everyone’s confused” about who is in charge of Nigeria. There has been an increase in the level of uncertainty in the internal political situation following ailing President Yar’Adua’s return, which was shrouded in secrecy, during the early hours February 24. The AgP said he was “unhappy” that the first statement issued following Yar’Adua’s return referred to Jonathan as “Vice President.” The GON issued a second statement February 25 that reversed course and refers to Jonathan as the Acting President. Jonathan said that the Villa received a lot of pressure to correct this error so that the lines of leadership and executive direction were clear.
3. (C) The AgP lamented, “This terrible situation in the country today has been created by four people: Turai Yar’Adua [the ailing President’s wife], his Chief Security Officer (CSO) [Yusuf Mohammed Tilde], his Aide-de-Camp (ADC)[Col. Mustapha Onoedieva] and Professor Tanimu Yakubu [Yar’Adua’s Chief Economic Advisor].” The AgP said he does not know their motives, but expected it was likely for nefarious purposes. He added Minister of Agriculture Abba Ruma and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Adamu Aliero had provided a second-tier of layering to the bubble surrounding Yar’Adua. The AgP noted that “people are angry,” and did not want to allow those surrounding Yar’Adua to replicate the control and access similar to what they had done in Jeddah for the past three months.
4. (C) Jonathan said the CSO and ADC saw him separately to let him know that they did not intend to mistreat the AgP and expressed their willingness to work with him (which the AgP doubts). The AgP said he told them both “then the best thing is to stop the charade.” The AgP told the Ambassador he believes Yar’Adua is in a semi-comatose state without an understanding of what is going on around him.
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ENCOURAGE PRESIDENT TO RESIGN
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5. (C) The AgP said that Former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who according to Jonathan has become one of his closest advisors, worked out a strategy where he would reach out to other former Nigerian Heads of State, including former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to approach those closest to Yar’Adua, especially his wife Turai, to try to convince them that the best, and most dignified step to take for the country and for Yar’Adua as a human being would be for the President to resign. This action would constitutionally make Jonathan Nigeria’s President. Doing such would also be easier than convincing two-thirds of the 42-member Federal Executive Committee (FEC) to declare the ailing President “physically incapacitated and medically unfit” to continue in the office of the Presidency. Jonathan said he and his wife, Patience, visited Turai as a humanistic gesture to express their best wishes for the recovery of Yar’Adua and out of respect for his ailing boss. The AgP said under no circumstances did he want Turai to come to his official residence.
6. (C) Once Yar’Adua resigns and Jonathan becomes interim President, he said he would choose a Vice President that could appease the Northerners by working with them to identify a
candidate. AgP Jonathan also shared that until Yar’Adua resigns, and things come down he would not leave the country. (N.B. This is in reference to the POTUS invitation to attend the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit). The issue of identifying a northerner as a vice presidential candidate, Jonathan underscored this appears to be the thing most on the minds of the northerners as they feel cheated out of the Presidency with Yar’Adua’s illness.
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FEARS ABOUT MILITARY
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7. (C) Jonathan said “everyone, including the Army Chief of Staff (COAS) [LTG Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau] and Chief of the President Guards Brigade [BG Abdul Mustapha]” are concerned about the confusion over who is the executive of the nation. The AgP said the military chiefs are making sure no politicians are reaching out to the rank-and-file, and encouraging the military to stay in the barracks so that the uncertain political situation does not generate coup-like behavior emanating from the mid-ranks because of the confusion. As the Ambassador began her meeting with the Acting President, he had just concluded a meeting with COAS LTG Dambazau (see reftel A for Ambassador’s conversation with the COAS February 24).
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USG ADVICE: BECOME A NATIONAL FIGURE
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8. (C) Based on points developed telephonically with Assistant Secretary Carson (ref B), Ambassador encouraged Jonathan to change the perception that he is a regional figure, and be seen, rather, as a national figure who has the best interest of the nation at heart. Ambassador expressed that given that the U.S. and Nigeria are very best friends, we feel the need to share our concerns, as any good friend would do, and that we are counting on him to steer Nigeria through this troubled and uncertain period. At the moment, Jonathan’s detractors believe he is a surrogate for former President Obasanjo. Ambassador advised the AgP that he needs to publicly demonstrate that he is the sole executor of national issues, not being directed or serving a political purpose for Obasanjo or others, so that his leadership would not be in question and the polity would accept that he had the best interest of nation at hand. The AgP said he appreciated our advice, including publicly holding Obasanjo at arms length. He said he would consider taking steps, including possibly convoking the entire diplomatic corps to brief them on the current political climate, using this and other events to demonstrate that he is his own man,
and diminish the appearance he is a regional leader.
9. (C) Jonathan noted that the Northern politicians would always be uncomfortable with him as president, and he understood the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) picked him as Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007 because he represented the Niger Delta. Jonathan said he was handling Niger Delta issues until the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs was created in September 2008, allowing him to distance himself from being viewed as someone who could only work on that issue. “I was not chosen to be Vice President because I had good political experience,” he said. “I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice President, but that does not mean I am not my own man.” However, he said, with the changed circumstances, the AgP said that his sole focus is to leave a legacy of both electoral reform and credible elections, including changing the entire Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The AgP said he was appreciative of the Ambassador’s remarks made during the National Day reception February 25 and Assistant Secretary Carson’s February 24 statement because both provided him with the courage to press forward.
10. (C) Jonathan shared initially, he had the intention to dissolve the Cabinet early the week of February 22, and had planned to make that announcement at the February 24 FEC meeting, but found out that Yar’Adua was returning, and thus dissuaded him from acting. He said the last Cabinet meeting was disastrous and included yelling and screaming, and it is totally dysfunctional. He said he is “not a politician” and had very limited experience as an administrator, but concluded, “I will not tolerate a brawl.” Jonathan said he will dissolve the Cabinet once he knows people are more comfortable with him being the Acting President or if the current strategy to convince Yar’Adua surrogates and family members to allow the ailing president to resign.
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ELECTORAL REFORM AND INEC
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11. (C) Jonathan agreed to the USG offer of technical assistance to review and update Nigeria’s national voter registry and funding for a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT). The AgP asked us for a letter formally offering this assistance (NB: we are providing to him today). The Ambassador noted the technical assistance could begin as early as the end of March with his approval (which he gave) with software installed that can assist with cleaning up the voter registry.
12. (C) On the INEC Chairman, Ambassador told the AgP that the USG
would not continue any election assistance if Iwu remains on seat after June 2010. She described the meeting between A/S Carson and Iwu, noting the latter showed no signs of respect for good governance. The AgP said he understood the USG would not be able to continue providing technical assistance if the current INEC chairman remains beyond his five-year mandate that ends in June 2010. Ambassador raised the issue of using Iwu’s terminal leave to get him out sooner. The AgP said he would ask the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to inquire if the current chair could take terminal leave, which could have him out as soon as next month. Jonathan again said that once he solidifies his position as Acting President or President, and that once the political environment is less uncertain, he would begin taking steps to replace all thirteen of INEC’s commissioners, and work toward replacing Iwu earlier than June provided he can confirm the amount of terminal leave Iwu has. However, the AgP noted this would not be easy, but he is committed to seeing this through.
13. (C) Jonathan said he does not anticipate standing for elections in 2011 and that he is not working towards being a presidential candidacy. He wants to put into place an electoral structure that will be ready for national elections. He did, however, note that, “if they want me to run, that will be something to consider at that time.” However, he stressed that his focus now and for the next 12 months will be on “doing a good job and witnessing respectable and credible elections in 2011.”
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FIRM UP THE PARTNERSHIP AGAINST TERRORISM
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14. (S) Ambassador raised with the AgP the case of Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed (aka “Talha”). Talha was indicted earlier this week in New York on terrorism charges. Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) was about to release Talha onto an international flight before Nigerian police intervened and took him into custody. Ambassador underscored that the SSS’ close call in violating an Interpol Red Notice would not be helpful in making the case for Nigeria’s removal from the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration List of “Countries of Concern.” Ambassador also asked that SSS appear as witnesses when requested to demonstrate Nigeria remains a partner to the U.S. in the international fight against terrorism. She added that at least at the Director level, SSS not only knew about the Interpol notice, but simply said they did not want to hold him any longer. Ambassador added that the GON police forces did the right thing and stepped in to block the suspect from boarding the plane. He is now in police custody. Ambassador officially requested that he be turned over to the FBI agents here to escort him to the U.S. to stand trial.
15. (S) The AgP said he would call in SSS Director General Gadzama to clarify the security agency’s role in Talha’s near-release and that if the three SSS officers implicated had taken such action without authorization, they would face serious implications, including termination. Ambassador also took the opportunity to request Jonathan stop repeating that the December 25 attempting bombing case involving Nigerian Abdulmutallab was an “one-off aberration” and that Nigeria indeed does have foreign terrorist links and elements operating in country, as exemplified by Talha.
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COMMENT
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16. (C) After two days of uncertainty, that included signals of competing heads of state emanating from the dueling titular references within a Villa press release, it appears that Jonathan has plans to firmly take the reigns of the presidency, with the support from key northerners and the senior leadership of the military. As the Ambassador stepped out of her meeting, at least two Ministers and a Governor were waiting to consult with the Acting President. The Acting President’s bottom line is that he would do his best in the job in the next twelve months. He also wanted to ensure we understood he would “not be manipulated by anyone.” We believe the USG is firmly placed to advance our bilateral agenda, including the creation of an environment conducive to free, fair, and credible elections with the approval and assistance of Nigeria’s de facto head of state. Even if he decides to contest for the presidency, Jonathan seems sincere in wanting to leave a lasting legacy of electoral reform for Africa’s most populous nation. It is always hard to judge how some will behave (or surprise you) when leadership is unexpectedly thrown in their lap. The verdict is out on Jonathan and his previously underwhelming personality and performance needs to keep us in the cautious lane, but so far, so good. Things are quiet. The COAS is doing the right things. Jonathan is reaching out to key respected northerners, like Abdulsalami, which we see as a good thing. Our next steps should be to continue to encourage the AgP on the right path; help on the push back on Obasanjo through former and current USG officials; and, if the drum beat calling for the ailing President to resign picks up speed, we should ensure that we indicate our support for this given that it probably the best thing for the country. End Comment. SANDERS

09ABUJA1907 wikileaks document Nigeria

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ABUJA1907 2009-10-20 06:06 2010-12-08 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Abuja
VZCZCXRO4227
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1907/01 2930617
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 200617Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7262
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 2129
RUEHSA/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 0101
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
Tuesday, 20 October 2009, 06:17
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 001907
NOFORN
SIPDIS
DEPT PASS USAID/AFR/SD FOR CURTIS, ATWOOD AND SCHLAGENHAUF
DEPT PASS TO USTDA-PAUL MARIN, EXIM-JRICHTER
DEPT PASS TO OPIC FOR BARBARA GIBIAN AND STEVEN SMITH
DEPT PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
JOHANNESBURG FOR NAGY
USDOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
TREASURY FOR TONY IERONIMO, ADAM BARCAN, SOLOMAN AND RITTERHOFF
EO 12958 DECL: 02/04/2029
TAGS EPET, ENRG, EINV, ECON, ETRD, PGOV, NI
SUBJECT: (C) SHELL MD DISCUSSES THE STATUS OF THE PROPOSED PETROLEUM
INDUSTRY BILL
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Dundas McCullough for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
Ref: Abuja 1836
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SUMMARY
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1. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa met with the Ambassador on October 13 to discuss the status of the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill. She said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 and that the international oil companies would have to move quickly if the House passed the bill in the coming weeks. She said there was “total alignment” among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies. She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern and call on the Speaker of the House to see where he stood on the bill. She expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year but would get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up at the end of the year. Shell’s views of the PIB track closely with ExxonMobil’s views as reported in reftel. END SUMMARY.
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CURRENT STATUS OF THE PIB
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2. (C) Shell EVP for Shell Companies in Africa Ann Pickard met with the Ambassador at the Embassy on October 13. The DCM and Economic Counselor joined the Ambassador, and XXXXXXXXXXXX accompanied Pickard. The Ambassador asked Pickard for her views about the status of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). Pickard said the GON wanted the National Assembly to pass the bill by November 17 in order for the GON to be able to announce it at the upcoming CWC Gulf of Guinea Conference in London November 17-19. She said that if the House passes the PIB in the coming weeks, “we need to move quickly” to obtain any necessary changes before it becomes law. Fortunately, she added, “We are working with the House and the House appears to want to work with us.” She continued that if the Senate passes the PIB, “We aren’t worried.” Unfortunately, she explained, “We think the Senate will pass a bad bill” but it won’t really matter. She added that she would be at the Nigerian House and Senate later that day and would let the Embassy know if there were any unexpected developments.
3. (C) The Ambassador asked if Shell had had engagements with the GON outside the National Assembly, such as with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Pickard said, “We are meeting with them at all levels.” She noted that an IMF team headed by Charles McPherson was in Abuja to look at the PIB and that Shell would be meeting with them as well. In contrast, she said, “We are worried about the World Bank’s political agenda and it is not clear what their agenda is.” She said the World Bank was working on how to make the IJVs “bankable” so that they would be able to go to international and domestic banks for financing.
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GAS FLARING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
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4. (C) Pickard said the PIB requires an end to gas flaring by 2010. She said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of QShe said the industry won’t be able to do that due to the lack of investment and security. Shell is ahead of the other IOCs and could be ready by 2011. Shell would have to spend $4 billion to do this, but the GON would also have to fund its part and that is a risk. Shell would shut in oil production in fields where it is uneconomic to end gas flaring, and it would let others have the gas for free where it is economic to do so.
5. (C) Pickard continued that NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo was interested in doing something on climate change in preparation for the climate change summit in Copenhagen December 6-18. Barkindo was spread pretty thin so Shell will ask him how they can help him prepare for the summit. She added that Shell had recently told the oil producing countries that coal will squeeze out oil as a result of the CO2 footprint issue if the oil producing
ABUJA 00001907 002 OF 004
countries and IOCs do not do more to address the issue.
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POTENTIAL BENEFITS
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6. (C) Pickard summarized the PIB’s potential benefits. The creation of fully integrated and independently functioning international joint ventures (IJVs) would solve the oil and gas industry’s longstanding funding problems if the proposed IJVs are done right. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was previously forced to reduce its ownership of some existing joint ventures to 49 percent to make them profitable enough to obtain financing. The proposed division of responsibilities between the NNPC and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources also would be good. The IOCs currently do not know if the NNPC is their partner or regulator.
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COHESION WITHIN THE INDUSTRY
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7. (C) The Ambassador asked if the industry was united in its approach to the PIB. Pickard replied that there was “total alignment with the international oil companies at every level.” She acknowledged that Shell had more exposure to the loss of acreage than any other company. “We could lose 80 percent of our acreage,” she said. The problem comes from the fact that the PIB will redefine how a company can hold on to its exploration and production blocks, limiting what can be kept to two kilometers around each well. “Everyone offshore loses a lot,” she continued. “We will have to bring satellites on fast or we will lose the blocks.” However, the problem with that is that the companies have to be able to pass things through to the blocks quickly and it takes years to get a rig in due to delays in the Nigerian approval process. (NOTE: Pickard told Econoff in Lagos that Shell “sent away” three platforms in late September. END NOTE.)
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ALIGNMENT WITH NIGERIAN OIL COMPANIES
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8. (C) The Ambassador asked about the IOCs’ alignment with the Nigerian oil companies. Pickard replied that “the Nigerian companies are with us” because they will be taxed at the same rate in the current version of the PIB. The IOCs are starting to see what the Nigerian companies want to do.
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THE USG’S ROLE
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9. (C) The Ambassador asked what the Embassy could do to help with the Joint House Committee on Petroleum Upstream and Downstream and Justice that is working on the PIB. Pickard said she hoped the current level of dialogue between the GON and the IOCs continues. Unfortunately, “We have not been able to meet with President Yar’Adua for nine months,” she said. “They have him protected.” She said it would be helpful if the Embassy would continue to deliver low-level messages of concern. In particular, she thought it would be helpful for the Embassy to call on Speaker of the House Dimeji Bankoke to see where he stood on the bill. Beyond that, she would like to keep the Embassy in reserve and use it as a “silver bullet” if the PIB passes the House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and Qthe House. The Ambassador noted that the U.S., U.K., Dutch and French Embassies had already made a joint call on NNPC General Managing Director Dr. Mohammed Barkindo.
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CHINA’S INTEREST IN NIGERIA’S OIL BLOCKS
----------------------------------------
10. (C) Pickard mentioned China’s recently reported interest in Nigeria’s oil blocks. She said Shell had received a copy of the letter that Special Advisor to the President on Petroleum Matters Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah had sent to the Chinese which said that their offer for oil exploration blocks was not good enough. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Odein Ajumogobia had denied that the letter
ABUJA 00001907 003 OF 004
had been sent, but later conceded that the GON was only “benchmarking” to see what the IOCs should pay for shallow-water licenses. Pickard said Shell had good sources to show that their data had been sent to both China and Russia. She said the GON had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to all the relevant ministries and that Shell consequently had access to everything that was being done in those ministries.
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CHANGING RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN THE GON’S TEAM
--------------------------------------------- --
11. (C) Pickard observed that there might be changes with how the GON management of the petroleum sector is organized. Minister of Petroleum Resources Rilwanu Lukman may be given the responsibility for implementing the PIB, while Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ajumogobia may get the Directorate of Petroleum Resources and ongoing business. The problem with these changes is that the GON could still get “unempowered people” who are not able to address the issues. The question is whether Ajumogobia would be able to step up. (NOTE: Press reports on October 17 reported that Lukman will be given overall responsibility for the formulation of policy, and oversee the implementation of the PIB, the Integrated Joint Venture negotiation and rollout, the fiscal terms transition and implementation, the new organization implementation, and stakeholder management. We will also supervise the NNPC and its subsidiaries, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the African Petroleum Producers Association, and the University of Petroleum. Ajumogobia will be in charge of the Gas Master Plan Transition Implementation, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, the alternative fuels, and the Petroleum Equalization Fund. He will also oversee the Directorate of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Training Institute and the Pricing Regulatory Agency. END NOTE.)
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SHELL’S CURRENT PRODUCTION
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12. (C) The Ambassador asked about the level of Shell’s current operations. Pickard said Shell was producing 663,000 barrels per day as of October 13, including the Bonga field. Approximately 80,000 barrels per day had been brought back from the Forcados field on the previous day. Some 900,000 barrels per day of capacity was still shut in. Of that, Shell could bring back 600,000 barrels per day, while the remaining 300,000 barrels per day is “too unreachable.”
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AMNESTY IN THE NIGER DELTA
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13. (C) The Ambassador asked Pickard what she thought about the future of the GON’s amnesty offer to militants in the Niger Delta. She responded that Shell expected the situation in the Niger Delta to be “quiet” until the end of the year. It will then get “out-of-hand” when the election cycle starts up in December, January and February. She expressed particular concern about Bayelsa State, home to Shell’s 500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Q500,000 barrel-per-day capacity Bonny field. Pickard also noted that Shell saw Israeli security experts in Bayelsa, but not in the Delta, and that there had been “a big drop in kidnapping” as a result.
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Looking Ahead
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14. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX
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COMMENT
ABUJA 00001907 004 OF 004
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15. (C) Shell’s views of the PIB and the alignment among the IOCs and with the Nigerian oil companies track closely with the views of ExxonMobil, as reported in reftel. The main difference is that Shell tends to minimize the different tax concerns and financial vulnerabilities of the individual IOCs. Shell is much more vulnerable than the other IOCs because its operations are concentrated in less favorable JV concessions that are located in the violence-prone Niger Delta. ExxonMobil and Chevron’s operations are concentrated in more favorable production sharing contracts (PSC) in the relatively violence-free offshore areas. In the event that the PIB retains negative terms or violence returns to the Delta, Shell can be expected to hurt the most and cry the loudest.
16. (U) Embassy Abuja coordinated this telegram with ConGen Lagos.
SANDERS

09ABUJA259 wikileaks document Nigeria

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ABUJA259 2009-02-10 16:04 2010-12-08 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abuja
VZCZCXRO7442
OO RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0259/01 0411610
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 101610Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5253
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0802
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 000259 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
USDOE FOR GEORGE PERSON AND CHAYLOCK

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2028
TAGS: EPET ENRG ELAB PINR ECON SENV PGOV NI
SUBJECT: (C) NIGERIA: SHELL BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON OIL GAS ISSUES,
COMMENTS ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH AND HIGH-LEVEL CORRUPTION

REF: ABUJA 203

Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4. (b
& d).

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Shell's regional executive vice president for
Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter
Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27 in Abuja and provided
an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially the security
situation. She said that Nigeria now had one of the highest negative
ratings for maritime operations, creating problems for Shell in
hiring oil tankers to load, as tanker operators will work only under
highly selective conditions. Last year there were about 80 piracy
attacks on land and water combined. This year already 15 have been
tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. On corruption,
Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil
cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil.
Oil buyers would pay NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu
and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large bribes to lift oil. Pickard
also reported an instance of the Attorney General Aondoakaa allegedly
soliciting a $20 million bribe to sign a document. The International
Oil Companies (IOC) are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new
petroleum sector energy bill. The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch,
and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers.
Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She
said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert, though
very drawn in the face, thin, and frail. Her information is that the
President was not in danger of dying soon, but also was unlikely to
ever fully recover from his ailments. (Note: see septel on oil/energy
sector issues for the Ambassador's meeting with the new Minister of
Petroleum Resources. End Note). END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Shell's regional executive vice president for Africa Ann
Pickard and government relations representative Peter Francis met
with the Ambassador on January 27, 2009 in Abuja and provided an
update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard reported that
Shell's meeting with Minister of Petroleum Resources Dr. Rilwanu
Lukman scheduled for earlier that day had been cancelled; the third
week in a row where key appointments had fallen through, with the
excuse of being summoned to the Presidential Villa. (Note: Emboffs
have observed that meetings with ministers and senior staff are
indeed often cancelled with the explanation that they have been
summoned to the Presidential Villa, even when the President is out of
town. End note). Econ Counselor and Econoff (notetaker) also
attended the discussion.

- - - - - - - - -
FROM BAD TO WORSE
- - - - - - - - -

3. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to share with Pickard that
the Mission was in the midst of completing its Strategic Plan and
asked Pickard where she thought Nigeria was headed. Pickard said that
things were going from bad to worse, especially in terms of security.
She said that Nigeria now had the highest negative rating for
maritime security, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers
to load; tankers will work only under highly selective conditions.
She also noted that late on the evening of Saturday January 17,
Nigerian militants attacked and boarded two vessels at a Shell crude
oil loading platform in Bonny and took eight crew members hostage.
Standard procedure on the tanker was followed: the ship went into
immediate lock down; there were no injuries or fatalities from the
boarding. The eight Nigerian crew members who were taken hostage were
later released. The pirates who went through the sections of the
boat to which they were able to gain access, smashing and stealing
computers, electronics, and personal items of the crew members. The
second vessel was a tug boat towing a supply vessel from Bonny to
Calabar. Last year there were about 80 incidents of piracy; this
year already 15 had been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3
for Exxon. GON officials have told Shell to "hire more security."
The price of doing business in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria
continues to climb she concluded. [Note: The International Maritime
Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce -
www icc-ccs org - reports that the waters off the Gulf of Guinea
(Nigeria) remain the second worst, with 40 incidents in 2008 to the
Horn of Africa (Somalia) with 42 recorded incidents. The IMB notes
that in 2009 the Horn of Africa will be more intense as Spring comes
due to the large number of foreign warships in the region on active
patrol to ensure the safety and security of vessels. The same
increased security is not expected for Nigeria in 2009. End Note]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
SHELL BELIEVES COUP UNLIKELY; CORRUPTION WORSENING
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


ABUJA 00000259 002 OF 003


4. (S/NF) The Ambassador asked what Shell's thoughts were on any
potential for a coup. Pickard answered that there is little
intellectual capital to plan and execute a coup and Shell sees little
potential for one. Pickard then went on to say that corruption in
the oil sector was worsening by the day. The Ambassador asked for a
few examples. Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the
lifting of many oil cargoes and there are some "very interesting"
people lifting oil (People, she said that were not even in the
industry). As an example she said that oil buyers would pay Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) General Managing Director
Yar'Adua, (Note: not related to President Yar'Adua. End Note) Chief
Economic Advisor Yakubu, and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large
bribes, millions of dollars per tanker, to lift oil. The IOCs
control the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargos, so GON actors do
not have the same opportunity for illicit gain. Pickard also said a
former associate of hers (protect) had told her he had been present
when Attorney General Aondoakaa had told a visitor that he would sign
a document only if the visitor paid $2 million immediately and
another $18 million the next day.

- - - - - - -
VERY BAD BILL
- - - - - - -

5. (C) Pickard reported that Shell, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron all have
big license review disputes with the GON. Shell has taken its
dispute to court and the court is supporting Shell's position.
According to her, Shell is stepping back for the moment, however, to
see how the other two majors negotiation fair, but is not taking its
case out of court yet. The IOCs are quite concerned about the "very
flawed" new petroleum sector energy bill. The bill is silent on what
fiscal regimes would be applied. Shell says that the bill could
reduce the corporation's overall value in Nigeria. GON discussions
around the bill have mentioned the possibility of moving to five-year
licenses and prohibiting exploring both oil and gas from the same
source, which would contradict how oil and gas extraction works in
practice. The bill is silent on joint ventures; it just states that
NNPC will be incorporated. Pickard said the bill was "likely to sail
through." The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch and U.K. COMs to
convey points on the bill to GON policymakers. (Note: Pickard
mentioned that the IOCs will not share company information directly;
they will hire consultants, like McKinsey, to produce common themes
so the messages from the IOCs to be shared with the relevant
Ambassadors are clear and consistent. End note). Pickard lamented
that the expected cycle of petroleum is at least five years for the
first oil to flow, another 10 years of production to begin to break
even. These numbers change when oil is $40 per barrel instead of $100
per barrel. Hence, a five year license would not be an incentive for
investment and development.

- - - - - -
GAS ISSUES
- - - - - -

6. (C) The Ambassador said that the Mission was looking at
performance measures for the economy, i.e. the linkage between the
country's electricity output and gross domestic product (GDP). The
Ambassador shared that the Mission feels strongly that gas for
feedstock is the key to Nigeria's power production, which is only
about 2,800 average megawatts for a country of 140 million people.
Pickard agreed and added that the U.S. got it wrong on its domestic
natural gas policies, which it took over 20 years to sort out. So it
is not surprising that Nigeria has it wrong at this point. She said
there is not adequate infrastructure for gas. Gathering plants and
pipelines to carry the product to the power plants still have to be
financed and built. The Nigeria Independent Power Projects (NIPP)
were located where there is no gas and no infrastructure. In
addition, the international oil companies were coerced into building
a power plant each, something they have no expertise in, and they are
scrambling to deliver gas to these plants.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
YAR'AUDA VACATION IS PERHAPS SOMETHING ELSE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (S/NF) Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing
game. She said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems
alert but drawn in the face and frail. She reported that a Julius
Berger (protect) contact says that the President was not in danger of
dying soon but has serious ailments from which he will never fully
recover. Pickard shared that Berger provides transportation
including planes for the President and has reportedly flown in
doctors and technicians to attend the President (reftel). She said,
for instance, that her Berger contact confided that they flew the
President from Germany to Saudi in September 2008. Additionally, the
Berger contact thought the President would not return to the Villa

ABUJA 00000259 003 OF 003


offices, as they were moving the President's personal things out of
the Villa. (Note: What we think this means is that Yar'Adua is
spending most of his time in the presidential residence and not in
the Villa offices. End Note).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
HOPES THAT OIL NATIONALISM CAN BE TEMPERED
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (C) The Ambassador asked how comfortable Shell was with the new
appointment of Dr. Rilwanu Lukman as Minister of Petroleum Resources,
and the appointment of Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo as the new NNPC GMD.
Pickard sees the nationalism card cooling with the removal of former
NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, given that new Minister of Petroleum Lukman is
more "pragmatic" and will hold sway over deputy Minister Ajumogobia.
(Note: Ajumogobia's technical assistant told EconOff in a meeting on
January 14, 2009 that the State Minister was focusing on Gas, since
before the mass cabinet change he was State Minster of Petroleum,
with a separate State Minster for Gas.) End Note. She said she was
also okay with NNPC chief Barkindo. She has worked with Barkindo
several times over the past few decades, especially when they were
both working climate change. She said Barkindo led Nigeria's
technical delegation to climate change negotiations that produced the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)and the
Kyoto protocol to UNFCCC during while he served on its Bureau at
various times. She indicated that although his undergraduate studies
were in political science, he obtained his MBA from Southeastern
University in Washington DC and did postgraduate work in petroleum
economics and management at Oxford University. Although she also said
terms like nationalistic and Chavez she however said that she thought
he could be steered in the right direction on the petroleum sector.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -

9. (C) Although Pickard clearly seems frustrated with the way things
are going in the maritime security, oil sector legislation, and
corruption which affects Shell's bottom line, it was useful to hear
that she has hopes for the new Petroleum Minister and NNPC chief.
Septel on the Ambassador's meeting with new Petroleum Minister Lukman
will address many of these same issues.

10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.

SANDERS

Wikileaks, cables from Abuja - Nigeria

Abujacity.com-Wikileaks1

 

Clicklogo to read the complete printout of cables from Abuja

BY: Robin R. Sanders,  Ambassador (US ambassador to Nigeria)

 

 

SUBJECT: GOODLUCK JONATHAN REMAINS ACTING PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA REF: ABUJA 207; FEB 24 A/S CARSON-AMB SANDERS TELCON CLASSIFIED BY: Robin R. Sanders, Ambassador, STATE, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (D) ------- SUMMARY

1. (C) Ambassador met February 26 with Acting President (AgP) Dr. Goodluck Jonathan at the Vice President’s official residence, Aguda House, in Abuja to review the current political situation following the return earlier this week of ailing President Yar’Adua. Moves are afoot, between Jonathan and key northerners in the lead such as former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, to encourage the Yar’Adua family to let go and let the President resign with dignity. This will allow Jonathan to serve as interim President until elections and also allow him to designate a vice president. Given the dysfunctional level of the current Cabinet, Jonathan said that once this happens, he will dissolve the cabinet, after consulting with the Council of State. Both moves, he believes, will appease Northern politicians, as he suspects that more northerners will support the resignation idea. Jonathan claims he wants to do a good job over the next 12 months, and leave a legacy of credible elections, electoral reform, including replacing the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) chairman and all of the commissioners. He promised the Ambassador that he would look at her suggestion of using terminal leave for the INEC chairman, which could have him out earlier than June. The Acting President also agreed to allow U.S.-UK technical assistance to help improve the voter registry and provide for a parallel vote tabulation. He expects things to calm down in the next 10-14 days, will not leave the country until things are resolved, and has opened channels with the military. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was leaving Jonathan’s private office when Ambassador was entering. End Summary.

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

2. (C) Jonathan told the Ambassador “everyone’s confused” about who is in charge of Nigeria. There has been an increase in the level of uncertainty in the internal political situation following ailing President Yar’Adua’s return, which was shrouded in secrecy, during the early hours February 24. The AgP said he was “unhappy” that the first statement issued following Yar’Adua’s return referred to Jonathan as “Vice President.” The GON issued a second statement February 25 that reversed course and refers to Jonathan as the Acting President. Jonathan said that the Villa received a lot of pressure to correct this error so that the lines of leadership and executive direction were clear.

3. (C) The AgP lamented, “This terrible situation in the country today has been created by four people: Turai Yar’Adua [the ailing President’s wife], his Chief Security Officer (CSO) [Yusuf Mohammed Tilde], his Aide-de-Camp (ADC)[Col. Mustapha Onoedieva] and Professor Tanimu Yakubu [Yar’Adua’s Chief Economic Advisor].” The AgP said he does not know their motives, but expected it was likely for nefarious purposes. He added Minister of Agriculture Abba Ruma and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Adamu Aliero had provided a second-tier of layering to the bubble surrounding Yar’Adua. The AgP noted that “people are angry,” and did not want to allow those surrounding Yar’Adua to replicate the control and access similar to what they had done in Jeddah for the past three months.

4. (C) Jonathan said the CSO and ADC saw him separately to let him know that they did not intend to mistreat the AgP and expressed their willingness to work with him (which the AgP doubts). The AgP said he told them both “then the best thing is to stop the charade.” The AgP told the Ambassador he believes Yar’Adua is in a semi-comatose state without an understanding of what is going on around him.

ENCOURAGE PRESIDENT TO RESIGN

5. (C) The AgP said that Former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who according to Jonathan has become one of his closest advisors, worked out a strategy where he would reach out to other former Nigerian Heads of State, including former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, to approach those closest to Yar’Adua, especially his wife Turai, to try to convince them that the best, and most dignified step to take for the country and for Yar’Adua as a human being would be for the President to resign. This action would constitutionally make Jonathan Nigeria’s President. Doing such would also be easier than convincing two-thirds of the 42-member Federal Executive Committee (FEC) to declare the ailing President “physically incapacitated and medically unfit” to continue in the office of the Presidency. Jonathan said he and his wife, Patience, visited Turai as a humanistic gesture to express their best wishes for the recovery of Yar’Adua and out of respect for his ailing boss. The AgP said under no circumstances did he want Turai to come to his official residence.

6. (C) Once Yar’Adua resigns and Jonathan becomes interim President, he said he would choose a Vice President that could appease the Northerners by working with them to identify a candidate. AgP Jonathan also shared that until Yar’Adua resigns, and things come down he would not leave the country.

(N.B. This is in reference to the POTUS invitation to attend the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit). The issue of identifying a northerner as a vice presidential candidate, Jonathan underscored this appears to be the thing most on the minds of the northerners as they feel cheated out of the Presidency with Yar’Adua’s illness.

FEARS ABOUT MILITARY

7. (C) Jonathan said “everyone, including the Army Chief of Staff (COAS) [LTG Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau] and Chief of the President Guards Brigade [BG Abdul Mustapha]” are concerned about the confusion over who is the executive of the nation. The AgP said the military chiefs are making sure no politicians are reaching out to the rank-and-file, and encouraging the military to stay in the barracks so that the uncertain political situation does not generate coup-like behavior emanating from the mid-ranks because of the confusion. As the Ambassador began her meeting with the Acting President, he had just concluded a meeting with COAS LTG Dambazau (see reftel A for Ambassador’s conversation with the COAS February 24).

USG ADVICE: BECOME A NATIONAL FIGURE

8. (C) Based on points developed telephonically with Assistant Secretary Carson (ref B), Ambassador encouraged Jonathan to change the perception that he is a regional figure, and be seen, rather, as a national figure who has the best interest of the nation at heart. Ambassador expressed that given that the U.S. and Nigeria are very best friends, we feel the need to share our concerns, as any good friend would do, and that we are counting on him to steer Nigeria through this troubled and uncertain period. At the moment, Jonathan’s detractors believe he is a surrogate for former President Obasanjo.

Ambassador advised the AgP that he needs to publicly demonstrate that he is the sole executor of national issues, not being directed or serving a political purpose for Obasanjo or others, so that his leadership would not be in question and the polity would accept that he had the best interest of nation at hand. The AgP said he appreciated our advice, including publicly holding Obasanjo at arms length. He said he would consider taking steps, including possibly convoking the entire diplomatic corps to brief them on the current political climate, using this and other events to demonstrate that he is his own man, and diminish the appearance he is a regional leader.

9. (C) Jonathan noted that the Northern politicians would always be uncomfortable with him as president, and he understood the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) picked him as Yar’Adua’s running mate in 2007 because he represented the Niger Delta. Jonathan said he was handling Niger Delta issues until the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs was created in September 2008, allowing him to distance himself from being viewed as someone who could only work on that issue. “I was not chosen to be Vice President because I had good political experience,” he said. “I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice President, but that does not mean I am not my own man.”  However, he said, with the changed circumstances, the AgP said that his sole focus is to leave a legacy of both electoral reform and credible elections, including changing the entire Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The AgP said he was appreciative of the Ambassador’s remarks made during the National Day reception February 25 and Assistant Secretary Carson’s February 24 statement because both provided him with the courage to press forward.

10. (C) Jonathan shared initially, he had the intention to dissolve the Cabinet early the week of February 22, and had planned to make that announcement at the February 24 FEC meeting, but found out that Yar’Adua was returning, and thus dissuaded him from acting. He said the last Cabinet meeting was disastrous and included yelling and screaming, and it is totally dysfunctional.

He said he is “not a politician” and had very limited experience as an administrator, but concluded, “I will not tolerate a brawl.” Jonathan said he will dissolve the Cabinet once he knows people are more comfortable with him being the Acting President or if the current strategy to convince Yar’Adua surrogates and family members to allow the ailing president to resign.

ELECTORAL REFORM AND INEC

11. (C) Jonathan agreed to the USG offer of technical assistance to review and update Nigeria’s national voter registry and funding for a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT). The AgP asked us for a letter formally offering this assistance (NB: we are providing to him today). The Ambassador noted the technical assistance could begin as early as the end of March with his approval (which he gave) with software installed that can assist with cleaning up the voter registry.

12. (C) On the INEC Chairman, Ambassador told the AgP that the USG would not continue any election assistance if Iwu remains on seat after June 2010. She described the meeting between A/S Carson and Iwu, noting the latter showed no signs of respect for good governance. The AgP said he understood the USG would not be able to continue providing technical assistance if the current INEC chairman remains beyond his five-year mandate that ends in June 2010. Ambassador raised the issue of using Iwu’s terminal leave to get him out sooner. The AgP said he would ask the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to inquire if the current chair could take terminal leave, which could have him out as soon as next month. Jonathan again said that once he solidifies his position as Acting President or President, and that once the political environment is less uncertain, he would begin taking steps to replace all thirteen of INEC’s commissioners, and work toward replacing Iwu earlier than June provided he can confirm the amount of terminal leave Iwu has. However, the AgP noted this would not be easy, but he is committed to seeing this through.

13. (C) Jonathan said he does not anticipate standing for elections in 2011 and that he is not working towards being a presidential candidacy. He wants to put into place an electoral structure that will be ready for national elections. He did, however, note that, “if they want me to run, that will be something to consider at that time.”

However, he stressed that his focus now and for the next 12 months will be on “doing a good job and witnessing respectable and credible elections in 2011.”

FIRM UP THE PARTNERSHIP AGAINST TERRORISM

14. (S) Ambassador raised with the AgP the case of Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed (aka “Talha”). Talha was indicted earlier this week in New York on terrorism charges. Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) was about to release Talha onto an international flight before Nigerian police intervened and took him into custody. Ambassador underscored that the SSS’ close call in violating an Interpol Red Notice would not be helpful in making the case for Nigeria’s removal from the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration List of “Countries of Concern.” Ambassador also asked that SSS appear as witnesses when requested to demonstrate Nigeria remains a partner to the U.S. in the international fight against terrorism. She added that at least at the Director level, SSS not only knew about the Interpol notice, but simply said they did not want to hold him any longer. Ambassador added that the GON police forces did the right thing and stepped in to block the suspect from boarding the plane. He is now in police custody. Ambassador officially requested that he be turned over to the FBI agents here to escort him to the U.S. to stand trial.

15. (S) The AgP said he would call in SSS Director General Gadzama to clarify the security agency’s role in Talha’s near-release and that if the three SSS officers implicated had taken such action without authorization, they would face serious implications, including termination. Ambassador also took the opportunity to request Jonathan stop repeating that the December 25 attempting bombing case involving Nigerian Abdulmutallab was an “one-off aberration” and that Nigeria indeed does have foreign terrorist links and elements operating in country, as exemplified by Talha.

COMMENT 

16. (C) After two days of uncertainty, that included signals of competing heads of state emanating from the dueling titular references within a Villa press release, it appears that Jonathan has plans to firmly take the reigns of the presidency, with the support from key northerners and the senior leadership of the military. As the Ambassador stepped out of her meeting, at least two Ministers and a Governor were waiting to consult with the Acting President. The Acting President’s bottom line is that he would do his best in the job in the next twelve months. He also wanted to ensure we understood he would “not be manipulated by anyone.” We believe the USG is firmly placed to advance our bilateral agenda, including the creation of an environment conducive to free, fair, and credible elections with the approval and assistance of Nigeria’s de facto head of state. Even if he decides to contest for the presidency, Jonathan seems sincere in wanting to leave a lasting legacy of electoral reform for Africa’s most populous nation. It is always hard to judge how some will behave (or surprise you) when leadership is unexpectedly thrown in their lap. The verdict is out on Jonathan and his previously underwhelming personality and performance needs to keep us in the cautious lane, but so far, so good. Things are quiet. The COAS is doing the right things. Jonathan is reaching out to key respected northerners, like Abdulsalami, which we see as a good thing. Our next steps should be to continue to encourage the AgP on the right path; help on the push back on Obasanjo through former and current USG officials; and, if the drum beat calling for the ailing President to resign picks up speed, we should ensure that we indicate our support for this given that it probably the best thing for the country.

End Comment. SANDERS

 

 

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