Contrary to his scathing criticisms, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mallam Nasir El-Rufai gave President Goodluck Jonathan a clean bill of health on financial accountability and transparency on the international front,a fresh report by Wikileaks has revealed.
In a United States diplomatic cable just made public by the whistle blowing organization, El-Rufai described President Jonathan as “ clean and honest”.
Details of the confidential cable with reference 07ABUJA77, show that the controversial politician gave the endorsement during an interactive session with the erstwhile American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr John Campbell, in the build-up to the 2007 general elections.
Explaining the rationale behind the emergence of late President Umaru Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan as the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) candidates, El-Rufai informed the ambassador that “they were the only two Governors that could have cleared the EFCC hurdles”
The cable further reported El-Rufai as stating that in the contest for the Vice Presidency, “Governor Jonathan was the only candidate that met Obasanjo’s guidelines- honesty and Ijaw”
The Ambassador’s report disclosed that “the Minister said the PDP leadership pushed for Rivers Governor Peter Odili as the Vice Presidential candidate but that Odili along with Governors Markafi (Kaduna) and Mu’azu (Bauchi), face ‘integrity issues’ with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)”.
These disclosures are in sharp contrast to the virulent and disparaging attacks by former minister on President Jonathan whom he is accusing of corruption, profligacy and mismanagement of the nation’s resources.
In one of his recent tirades against the President, El-Rufai alleged that he used “crony capitalist and state funds – variously estimated at between 1 and 2 billion dollars to facilitate his election”
He also accused Jonathan of “practically sharing out the nation’s savings account to state governors, Party apparatchiks and traditional rulers to buy their support for his presidential bid”
According to the diplomatic cable, El-Rufai denied nursing any presidential ambition but stated that his rumoured interest was only being advanced by his admirers including Obasanjo.
“When President Obasanjo called me to ask about my intention, I told him that I would do it, but that I had not campaigned for the position” the report quoted El-Rufai. It added that “According to El-Rufai, the president agreed with him and told him that there were ‘other bridges’ to cross before EL-Rufai was ready “
In the report, The former Minister claimed to have known late President Yar Adua for about 25 years and described him as an “odd fellow”.