In an attempt to justify the dubious process by which $1 Billion was taken from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government ostensibly to fund an anti terror war with the same Boko Haram that the Buhari administration said was ‘finished’ and ‘technically defeated,’ the Zamfara state Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, made some startling revelations which has exposed him to ridicule and further shown that his party, the All Progressive Congress, and its members, are a patently dishonest bunch with no credibility whatsoever.
Speaking yesterday (Tuesday 19th December, 2017) at Aso Rock Presidential villa, Alhaji Yari said of the $1 Billion withdrawal as follows:
“This thing (ECA withdrawal) has been done in 2014 where $2bn was withdrawn in agreement with the governors at that meeting. Governor Akpabio was the one that moved the motion. This is not the first time a decision like this is being taken. It happened during Jonathan’s era when they took $2bn. WE ALL AGREED at that time collectively in the same chamber to withdraw $2bn to procure equipment for the military and also for logistics for the military. That was what generated discussions at the same chamber and there was NO CONTROVERSY, there was NO OPPOSITION to the decision at that time.”
Notice from this statement that Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, an APC member, is now admitting that he and his colleagues in the APC all agreed to the withdrawal of $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account that was made in 2014. Note further that he said there was no controversy and no opposition to the decision taken in 2014.
However, Nigerians may recall that at the material time when this incident occurred, both the All Progressive Congress and its prominent members like the then Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, the then Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and their National Leader, Bola Tinubu, denied that there was ever any agreement with the Jonathan administration over the withdrawals and publicly attacked the then President and accused him of looting and other forms of corruption.
In fact, in 2015, when the former Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala said exactly what Governor Yari has been forced to admit to, Governor Nasir El-Rufai (who was not even a governor in 2014 and was not present at the meeting Governor Yari has described) called Dr. Mrs. Iweala a liar and described her as ‘morally flexible’.
Then on the 1st of July, 2015, then Governor Adams Oshiomhole was interviewed on Channels television and described as untrue the statement by Dr. Mrs. Iweala that the governors under the aegis of the National Economic Council agreed to the withdrawal of $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account and called the process by which the money was withdrawn by the Jonathan administration as an “administrative arrangement not known to the constitution”.
Only as recently as last week, the fallacious Rotimi Amaechi repeated the falsehood that neither he nor his colleagues were ever consulted or gave their acquiescence before the Jonathan administration withdrew funds from the Excess Crude Account.
Again, at the material time in 2014, when the Jonathan administration tried to explain why it needed the funds to fight the same Boko Haram insurgents that the Buhari government claimed has been technically defeated, the APC released a statement and ‘described as disingenuous and sheer blackmail the argument that the money is for national security or that it would facilitate the release of the over 200 school girls who were abducted about 100 days ago.’
The APC spokesman, Lai Mohammed, who is now the minister of information further said “putting more money in the hands of an incompetent and massively corrupt administration can only encourage more incompetence and corruption.”
Not done, Mr. Lai Mohammed also claimed that the monies then President Jonathan was seeking was meant to be used to impeach APC Governors and rig the 2015 elections.
His exact words were “With the Jonathan Administration allegedly spending or setting aside an average of 2 billion Naira to impeach each Governor of APC states, and the PDP-led Administration using the common wealth to bribe voters in a desperate bid to win elections at all costs”.
Not to be outdone, the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, called the request by the Jonathan administration “dubious”.
But in keeping with the principle that no matter how far and fast falsehood has traveled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth, Governor Abdulaziz Yari has now vindicated both former President Jonathan and the former minister of finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, by admitting in 2017 that both he and his colleagues (which included Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole) actually agreed with the Jonathan administration to withdraw $2 billion from the Excess Crude Account in 2014.
I therefore call on the Nigerian public and the international community to note that the APC and its members all lack credibility and are willing to say anything at anytime to justify their political position irrespective of whether it is true or false.
Reno Omokri (for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan)
Number One Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies