Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan spent N332.6 million for Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebrations in three years and not billions of naira as alleged by Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, Suleiman Abubakar, former minister of national planning under the former President said on Sunday.
The statement was issued in response to a post by El-Rufai on social media, in which he alleged that Jonathan’s administration spent N64billion to cover the country independence anniversary spending in five years.
In the break down he provided on the Facebook post, the former Federal Capital Territory minister alleged that Jonathan’s administration spent N13billion 2011, N15billion in 2012 and N14billion in 2013 and N22billion in 2014 to celebrate Nigeria’s independence.
But Sulaiman who described the claim by the minister as a “tissue of lies” and “ranting of a favour seeker” said it is important to correct the misinformation so that the unsuspecting public would not be misled.
According to him, a breakdown of Jonathan’s administration anniversary spending between 2012 to 2014 amounted to N332.6million. He also challenged the Office of the Government of the Federation (OSGF) to publish the 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,” said Abubakar.