Former President Goodluck Jonathan, has debunked claims by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai that his administration spent N64 billion on Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary celebrations in five years.
El-Rufai had in a message posted on his Facebook page to commemorate Nigeria’s 55th Independence Anniversary, gave a breakdown of the amount spent by the former Jonathan administration as follows: N13 billion in 2011; N15 billion (2012); N14 billion (2013) and N22 billion (2014).
A statement signed by the immediate past Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman, described El-Rufai’s statement as a “tissue of lies”.
The statement reads in part: “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”.
Sulaiman wondered where the billions claimed to have been spent on Independence celebrations by El-Rufai came from, pointing out that while the expenditure of 2010 and 2011 are not handy now, the amount could not have been as “outrageous” as claimed by the Kaduna governor.
The former minister explained that the increase in the 2013 Independence anniversary spending was because the National Honours Award Investiture was incorporated into the celebration, thus making it two events in one.
“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”, he added.
The statement called on government functionaries to desist 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.
It stated that “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”, it concluded.