Atiku was quoted by TheCable as saying at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.
He explained that he sold the idea to President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a vice president between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.
He said, “Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said, “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority.
Atiku also spoke on how an expert in the petroleum sector influenced his stance on the privatisation of the NNPC.
The former Vice President said, “I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said, ‘Prof, do you have a ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no. I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like the NNPC over there?’ He said no. And America produces oil more than any country? He said yes.
“So I asked him, ‘How do they do it in America?’ and he said taxation, and I decided that I will go by taxation too.”
Atiku criticised the current administration for the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.
He noted that the level of unemployment in the country was worrying, saying that the lack of adequate jobs could create a bigger problem if left unchecked.
He said, “We must create jobs, if not we will get mobbed one day by the unemployed youths.
They are like a time bomb… When businesses are folding up, shops are closing, industries are falling, foreign direct investments are not attracted; poverty is embarrassingly becoming our trademark.