John Shiklam in Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has condemned the alleged attack on his person by former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, over the sharing of ecological funds.
The governor had at a briefing with State House correspondents after the national economic council (NEC) meeting in Abuja last Thursday, alleged that states governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties that were sympathetic to the PDP-led federal government were favoured in the distribution of the fund in 2013.
The committee, according to the governor, â€œestablished beyond all doubts that in 2013, the administration of President Jonathan gave N2 billion to certain states of the federation but excluded other states.â€
But the former president had in his reaction through his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, dismissed the allegations, describing El-Rufai as a liar.
Eze, in a statement last Friday said El -Rufai had a knack for lying which Olusegun Obasanjo, his former principal, confirmed.
â€œThe fact remains that the ecological fund is a specialised fund with certain constitutional requirements which must be met before a state can access the fund. 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,â€ Eze had said.
But at a news conference yesterday in Kaduna, spokesman to El-Rufai, Samuel Aruwan, said it was unfortunate that the former president has responded to the revelations by launching a personal attack on the governor.
According to him, Jonathan did not make a distinction between a committee of the National Economic Council and the person chairing it.
â€œWhile this is unfortunate and calculated to draw the headlines, Jonathan strained to explain away this strange pattern of fund allocation…
â€œBut the facts are not deniable. They are in official records, and cannot be erased by slinging mud at people.
â€œAs chairman of the NEC Ad-hoc Committee on the Ecological Fund, El-Rufai wishes to advise Jonathan to wait for the presentation of the final report of the committee before he responds,â€ Aruwan said.
According to him, while the final report of the committee was being awaited, El-Rufai wishes to respond to the personal attacks as follows:
â€œFormer President Jonathan is not a man that can take responsibility for anything. In March 2015, not long after making a concession call to President Buhari, he summoned his party and asked its leadership to reject the results of an election whose winner he had congratulated in private. That effort at duplicity failed spectacularly and the will of the people prevailed.
â€œSo, no one should be surprised that he is denying presiding over the skewed distribution of ecological funds. His denial begs the question. What special circumstances ensured that only states that were controlled by the PDP and its allied parties qualified for N2 billion each?
â€œIs it not curious that not only were his allies-the only ones who got the funds-but that the various ecological problems in all 17 states required the same N2 billion across the states?
â€œAlmighty God made it possible for the sun to shine on all. But Jonathan exercised his powers as president as if he governed for only his party or his family.
â€œThe Jonathan government was so conscious that there was something untoward with sharing public funds in that manner that they did not publicise the payments to their preferred states.
â€œDr. Jonathan cannot argue with the facts. The payments are in the records of the Ecological Fund. He knowingly engaged in discriminatory disbursement of federal funds. The legality of that is open to question, despite the existence of presidential discretion.
â€œThankfully, Jonathan did not deny that the N2 billion payments were skewed to certain states. His mindset in trying to create equivalence between those payments and federal support for the green wall projects in some of the northern states can be easily seen as a disingenuous argument.
â€œHe claimed El-Rufai is a liar, quoting sources that did not once mention any lie that can be attributed to him. One of El-Rufaiâ€™s identified weaknesses in the Nigerian political space is his bluntness and fidelity to principles. Even his enemies admit that grudgingly about him.
â€œEl-Rufai will not allow Jonathan to make him the issue when the criteria the former president used in allocating N2 billion each to allied state governments remain so murky. There is no need to cry wolf before the final report of the committee is presented.
â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, El-Rufai has not only never sought to work with Jonathan, but he actively persuaded others not to accept any offers to avoid destroying their credibility.â€