BY MSUE AZA, Kaduna
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, yesterday fired back at former President Goodluck Jonathan, saying he should not personalise report of the national economic council which investigated disbursement of Ecological Fund.
The governor described the former Nigerian leader as someone who does not learn to take responsibility, which accounts for his (Jonathan’s) recent comment on the N2 billion Ecological Fund granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states during his tenure.
Speaking through his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan at a news conference in Kaduna, el-Rufai said Jonathan failed to justify why he released the fund only to PDP states instead of all the states.
According to the governor, the former president should have waited for the presentation of the final report of the committee before responding to the position of the National Economic Council (NEC).
Apparently miffed by an interim report submitted by an 11-man Committee headed by El-Rufai to NEC last week Thursday, Jonathan, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, said evenformer President Olusegun Obasanjo could attest to what he called el-Rufai’s penchant for lying.
But hitting back at the former president, the governor regretted that Jonathan chose to resort to personal attacks instead of addressing the moral issues raised in the interim report of the investigation instituted by NEC.
He added that the former president failed, in his response, to show where he (el-Rufai) lied regarding the disbursement of N2 billion to each of the affected states as contained in the NEC interim report on the utilisation of the Ecological Fund.
The governor’s media aide said, “He (Jonathan) did not make a distinction between a committee of the National Economic Council and the person chairing it. While this is unfortunate and calculated to draw the headlines, Dr. Jonathan strained to explain away this strange pattern of fund allocation. But the facts are not deniable. They are in official records, and cannot be erased by slinging mud at people.
“As chairman of the NEC Ad-hoc Committee on the Ecological Fund, Malam Nasir El-Rufai wishes to advise Dr. Jonathan to wait for the presentation of the final report of the Committee before he responds. While we all await the final report, Malam Nasir El-Rufai wishes to respond to the personal attacks as follows”
“Former President Goodluck 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.
“So, 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 N2bn each?”
el-Rufai reminded the former president that the probe being carried out by his committee was at the instance of NEC and not a personal initiative
Blasting Jonathan for being partial in the disbursement of the funds, the governor said, “Is 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 N2bn across the states?
“Dr. 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.
“Thankfully, Dr. Jonathan did not deny that the N2bn payments were skewed to certain states. His mindset in trying to create an 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