The battle of wits between Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole and former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, continued yesterday with the governor insisting that the former minister must explain to Nigerians, how she withdrew $1 billion from the Federation Account to prosecute the re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking in Benin, the Edo State capital, Oshiomhole, also said the former Minister needs to tell Nigerians how the Excess Crude Account was drawn down to $4.1 billion from the peak of $10 billion when no approval was given by the National Economic Council (NEC) for any withdrawals.
The governor, who said Okonjo-Iweala would have been declared a pathological liar if she were a witness in court due to the inconsistencies in her statements, said a forensic audit, would truly determine how much was illegally spent from the Federation Account under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch.
“The truth is, many things went wrong even at the federal level. While the federal government, under Goodluck Jonathan, with the then Coordinating Minister of the Economy liked to blame governors for wasteful spending, for not saving for the rainy day, for not investing properly, the truth is the real weakness in the Nigerian federal chain has been the Federal Government.
“You have heard of the last installment of $4.1 billion that was in the Excess Crude Account as of November, 2014, and from that time till today, we have not; when I say we, federal, states and local governments have not touched that money. We have not agreed to take anything out of it, and yet it has been drawn down to about $2 billion. Which means $2.1 billion disappeared.”
But the former minister, in a statement by her Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said the allegation that $1 billion was allegedly spent out of ECA fund for presidential election “is the kind of ludicrously false statement that has unfortunately become a trademark of the governor in his public campaign of falsehood against Dr Okonjo- Iweala.”
Nwabiukwu described remarks credited to the governor as “just another example of the numerical diarrhoea that seems to have afflicted His Excellency in recent times in his effort to damage the reputation of the former minister.”
He added that the governor had, within the last few months, asked Okonjo-Iweala to explain all kinds of totally wild and unsubstantiated figures, ranging from $30 billion, $20 billion, $2.1
Ripples… without borders, without fears