Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described Governor Nasir el-Rufai as a big liar, urging Nigerians not to take him seriously.
Jonathan said this in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Friday, while reacting to el-Rufai’s claims on the disbursement of Ecological Fund under the Jonathan’s administration.
El-Rufai had on Thursday at the National Executive Council meeting, said, “What President Goodluck Jonathan did was to take N2bn each from the Ecological Fund and give to some PDP states. Any PDP state that was not his friend, like Kano and Kwara, didn’t get.”
However, the former President said it was only the states that met the criteria for accessing the fund that received it.
Jonathan said even some states governed by his staunch supporters like Akwa Ibom and Ekiti did not receive the fund as well.
The statement read in part, “It is so easy to expose Mallam Nasir el-Rufai as a liar as Akwa-Ibom, a PDP state governed by the then Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and a close confidante of the then President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, did not get the monies alluded to by Mallam el-Rufai from the Ecological Fund as did multiple other PDP states including Ekiti state, a state governed by a thoroughbred patriot and Jonathan supporter, Ayo Fayose.”
Jonathan said states ruled by the Labour Party and the All Progressives Grand Alliance also received the fund.
He added, “Also, it is false that non-PDP states did not get monies from the fund. Nemesis catches up faster with liars than any other agent of evil. El-Rufai was probably led by the gods against his own sinister plot to confess in another breathe that states under non-PDP parties like APGA and Labour party also benefitted.
“The fact remains that the Ecological Fund is a specialised fund with certain constitutional requirements which must be met before a state can access the funds. Every state benefitted from the fund under President Jonathan, who bent over backwards to accommodate states that had difficulty meeting the criteria for accessing the fund.”
He said el-Rufai’s ‘sinister’ narrative was intentionally silent on the over N10bn specially deployed to fund the Great Green Wall project in some northern states, in view of the need to work with the rest of Africa on the African initiative to check desert encroachment in the Sahel.
The states included Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Kano which belong to el-Rufai’s class of ‘non-friendly’ states that he claimed never benefitted from any discretionary fund.
The former President said the similar principle applied to the conditions for accessing the Universal Basic Education Fund, where some states have not had access to what is due them because they have yet to fulfil the mandatory criteria for allocation.
“Would it then be right in the name of el-Rufai’s position on equity to blame the failure of those states to access their UBEC funds on Jonathan?”, the ex-President asked.
The statement added, “It is really sad that judicious presidential interventions to tackle emergencies and other pressing national needs are being interrogated in a rather facile manner, by those who never get tired of playing dirty politics.”
Jonathan said the Kaduna governor was in the habit of telling lies against him. Citing several alleged instances.
“Nigerians may recall that this is not the first time that el-Rufai has vented his known passion for lying against the former President. The public will recall that in October 2015, he falsely alleged that former President Jonathan spent a whopping N64bn on Independence Day celebrations, during his tenure when in fact only N333m was spent,” the statement added.
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