Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised Nigerians not take seriously the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, concerning his statement on how the Ecological Fund was spent during the Jonathan administration.
Jonathan in a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, on Friday, had reacted to el-Rufai’s claim, describing it as untrue.
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 such as Akwa Ibom and Ekiti did not receive the fund.
The statement reads in part, “It is so easy to expose Mallam Nasir el-Rufai … 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.”
“Also, it is false that non-PDP states did not get monies from the fund… 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 benefited 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 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 benefited from any discretionary fund,” the statement added.