The immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has refuted claims of Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, alleging that he spent N64 billion on October 1 celebrations between 2010 and 2015.
This was contained in a statement issued by the immediate past Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission, Abubakar Sulaiman.
Sulaiman said contrary to el-Rufais claim, the Jonathan-led administration spent only N332.6 million for the celebration in five years — an average of N66 million per year.
You will recall that el-Rufai had last Thursday, October 1 posted a comment on his Facebook page alleging that Jonathan administration spent N64billion to cover the country’s independence anniversary spending in five years.
According to him, a break-down of how the money was spent showed that N13billion was spent in 2011, N15billion in 2012 and N14billion in 2013, while N22billion was allegedly spent in 2014.
Sulaiman said former President Olusegun Obasanjo was “perhaps” right in his assessment of el-Rufai as someone who has a penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long.
The statement read in full: “We were taken aback by the recent comment reportedly credited to His Excellency, Governor Nasir El-rufai, where he claimed that the immediate past president, His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Jonathan-led administration spent N64 billion to cover the country’s independence anniversary’s spending in five years.
“The breakdown, according to the governor, showed that N13 billion was spent in 2011, N15 billion in 2012 and N14 billion in 2013 and N22 billion allegedly spent in 2014.
“This tissue of lies was contained on his Facebook comment on Thursday. Ordinarily, we would have allowed this to go as just ranting of a favour seeker, but for the sake of ordinary Nigerians, who were abreast of happenings under the administration and also those who never did, we will like to set the records straight.
“It is important to correct the misinformation, so that the unsuspecting public would not be misled.
“For the record, a breakdown of our anniversary spending between 2012 and 2014 amounted to N332.6 million. We challenge the Office of the Government of the Federation (OSGF) to publish these details for the consumption of the public.
“For the record, a breakdown of our spending for this event between 2012 and 2014 goes thus— 2012 (N107.6 million); 2013 (N45 million) and 2014 (N180 million). So, the question here is, where did the billions as claimed by el-Rufai emanate from? Even though that of 2010 and 2011 are not handy now, but it should be known that they all fall within the same bracket as the one stated, except that the 2010 anniversary was a golden one, when the country marked her 50th year of independence. Even then, not such outrageous sum was either budgeted or expended.
“Again, it is germane to explain the increase in the 2013 anniversary spending for the purpose of accountability. The National Honours Award Investiture was incorporated into the celebration, thus making it two events in one, hence, the N174, 800,000.00 budget. We also want to add that the said award investiture could not hold in 2013 and the approved budget rolled over and was utilised to organise the investiture in 2014.
“It is high time government functionaries desisted from abusing their immunity by destroying history and trading on lies just to gain cheap popularity or curry one favour or the other from certain quarters.
“Perhaps Obasanjo was right in his assessment of el-Rufai when he said in his latest memoir, ‘My Watch’, that his vivid recollection of him (el-Rufai) is his penchant for lying, unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long. That exactly is what el-Rufai has done with his ungodly fabrication of lies against Jonathan-led government.
“One hopes that President Buhari would be on guard against being misled by the likes of el-Rufai, who are hell-bent on misinforming the Nigerians.”