Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Administration has denied reports attributed to the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that it spent over N64bn on Nigeria’s Independence celebrations in five years.
Operators of the former administration said in a statement signed on its behalf by the immediate past Minister /Deputy Chairman, National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, that the administration spent N332.6m on Independence celebrations from 2012 to 2014.
Sulaiman, who described the claim as a tissue of lies, challenged the Federal Government to make public the amount spent on the Independence Anniversary celebrations from 2012 to 2014.
He said the Federal Government under Jonathan spent N107.6m in 2012; N45m in 2013; and N180m in 2014.
He said that while the amount spent on the anniversary celebrations in 2010 and 2011 were not immediately available, they were in the same bracket with the other years.
The former minister said that there was an increase in the total sum spent on the celebrations in 2010 because of the Golden Jubilee celebration, adding that the sum budgeted was not the outrageous amount quoted by the governor.
He wondered where El-Rufai got the billions which he said was spent on the anniversary celebrations in five years from.
Suleiman said, “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 N64bn to cover the country’s Independence anniversary spending in five years.
“This tissue of lies was contained on his Facebook comment on Thursday. Ordinarily, we would have allowed this to go as just the ranting of a favour seeker, but for the sake of the 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 and 2014 amounted to N332.6m. We challenge the Office of the Government of the Federation 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 had N107.6m; 2013 was N45m and 2014 had N180m. So, the question here is where did the billions as claimed by El-Rufai emanate from?
“Even though those of 2010 and 2011 are not handy now, it should be known that they all fell 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 utilised to organise the investiture in 2014.”
He urged government functionaries to desist from abusing their immunities and destroying history for their selfish interests.
He said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have been right when he accused El-Rufai of lying and unfair embellishment in his memoir, ‘My Watch’, with his current claim.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be on his guard and not to allow those bent on misinforming Nigerians to mislead him.
“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 (E-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 the Jonathan government.
“One hope is that President Buhari would be on guard against being misled by the likes of El-Rufai, who are hell bent on misinforming Nigerians.”