L-R; Former Vice President Namadi Sambo, Former Head of Interim Government Chief Ernest Shonekan, Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience Goodluck Jonathan, Ex-Senate President David Mark and Ex-Deputy Speaker House Representatives Emeka Ihadioha jointly cutting the 54th Independence Anniversary cake in 2014, during Presidential Change of Guards Parade at the Forecourt of the Presidential villa Abuja
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 Ebele Jonathan’s administration spent N64billion to cover the country independence anniversary spending in five years.
The break down, according to the governor showed that N13billion was spent in 2011, N15billion in 2012 and N14billion in 2013 and N22billion 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 record 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 to 2014 amounted to N332.6million. 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 2104 goes thus; 2012-107.6million; 2013-45million and 2014 had 180million.
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 50 year of independence. But 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 utilized 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 President Olusegun 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, for 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 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 Nigerian publics.
Former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman