Date Published: 06/13/11
The Jonathan Project: A Response to Rantings of an Ungrateful Mallam Nasir El-Rufai by George Kerley
In a ThisDay published article of June 10, 2011, a leading member of General Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) set out to paint an unfairly gloomy picture of President Goodluck Jonathan’s barely eighteen months in power as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In his pathetic piece of preposterous prose titled “Jonathan’s Tough Choices” Mallam Nasir El-Rufai gave himself up as a deeply ungrateful man by setting out to malign, undermine and impugn a sitting President who not too many months ago, granted him a quiet presidential pardon and restored to him the freedom with which he (El-Rufai) returned to a Nigeria that he had exiled from shortly after his own kinsman, former President Yar’Adua took over the reins of power in 2007.
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had run away from the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the claws of former President Yar’adua and the jaws of an arrest-hungry Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In beginning the rude commentary of his portrait of a gloomy Nigeria, Mallam El-Rufai stated that Nigeria remains a “Clique Democracy” as against a real people driven democracy.
For someone who was seen as a leading member of Obasanjo’s “Clique Democracy” and one who was noted to have flaunted that he was part of those that chose late President Yar’Adua who eventually scared him into exile, this leaves much to be said.
In continuing, the Mallam questioned the vision, character and will of the current Jonathan government to defy vested political and business interests and govern decently. He did not waste any time in concluding that President Jonathan’s government could not!
The question I ask the CPC Mallam is “What vested political interest”? Or “What vested business interest”?
What interest is greater or deeper than that which President Jonathan has firmly committed to? What deeper commitment can be greater than that of a President who boldly and emotionally declared that “I will never never fail you”? I wonder.
In his sordid attempt to gravely misinform and misguide gullible Nigerians, Mallam El-Rufai stated that “Jonathan’s politics of deliberate division and militarization has pitted Northerners against Southerners and Christians against Muslims to the point that obtaining the cohesion and social harmony necessary for economic development will be difficult in the short and medium term”
This short statement, coming from a man who served in various capacities in Obasanjo’s government, reveals in very clear terms, the treachery and extreme capacity for evil that abounds in the minds of all those who incited ignorant Northern youths to murder, rape, slaughter more than 200 young southerners including members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the gruesome post election violence that erupted across some states and cities of Northern Nigeria.
What politics of deliberate division did President Jonathan orchestrate? Militarization of the Niger Delta by oil-thieving Northern military cartels? Or the hypnotic incitement of ignorant youths of Northern extraction? Paranoid incitement of muslims in the North against voting for a Christian?
Why did El-Rufai not elaborate on this very warped accusation? Mallam El-Rufai should know better.
We understand that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai may feel strongly frustrated as he was not given any appointment by President Jonathan after his return from exile even when he sought fervently to be considered for various positions in the Jonathan cabinet. Yet we do not believe that his inability to get a good appointment should push him to this measure of treachery and outright malfeasance.
The CPC Mallam went further to accuse President Jonathan of depleting the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without any infrastructure to show for it. He accused President Jonathan of depleting this account down to $500 million from the $6 billion that former President Yar’Adua left behind alleging that President Jonathan shared out this ECA savings account to state governors, party apparatchiks and traditional rulers to buy their support for his presidential bid!
Again, how grimly preposterous! It becomes immediately clear that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who has served in top level government either does not have any functional knowledge of the workings of government OR harbors an intensely deep seated grudge against President Jonathan OR has just chosen to be outlandishly mischievous.
Does Mallam El-Rufai even know what the Excess Crude Account (ECA) is all about OR why it was set up in the first place?
When the ECA was set-up by President Obasanjo, it was meant to be savings against periods of sustained fall in oil prices. When there were high oil prices, it went up. However, in 2008, oil prices fell from about $147.
Such fall situation is what the ECA was created to contain, to cater for the budgetary adaptations that accompany such fall in oil prices.
If government did not save any money and no money was available to be used, then we would be faced with two options, bearing in mind that our economy is heavily dependent on government spending and oil revenues.
The two options are (a) Go and borrow and (b) Do nothing. Option B would clearly cause a complete closure of the economy and certainly not a choice.
Thus money was withdrawn from the ECA and it was put into what the Account was established or set-up to do.
Clearly, for mischievous reasons, Mallam El-Rufai may have deliberately refused to realize that the Federal Government, in partnership with the various other tiers of government (states and local) jointly invested about $5.5 billion into the National Independent Power Project (NIPP). This is beside the $1 billion seed money for the take-off of the National Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF).
How could El-Rufai not have researched about this especially when Mallam Atiku and his goons had raised so much heat on this matter during the build-up to the 2011 elections? More especially with Finance Minister Aganga’s regular explanations at the time.
El-Rufai went on to accuse President Jonathan’s government of also borrowing massively. Even though he nauseously doctored the figures, it was really worrying that he deliberately refused to see that with the renewed drive to push infrastructural development and set the foundation for an ambitious and progressive transformation agenda, processes had to be quickened.
And so in his quest to further misinform the gullible, he refused to mention that in the last few months the Federal Government had been settling key legacy issues most of which had been pending for about seven years now. These included the payment of N200 billion to Power Holding Company of Nigeria, payment of N387 billion representing 53% salary increase to civil servants and the release of N87.7 billion to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in preparation for the 2011 General elections.
In another spasm of neurotic arrogance typical of professional misleaders, El-Rufai stated that there had been no investment in physical and human capital even with the high oil prices that the administration had enjoyed and therefore reasoned these have caused renewed threats of militancy in the Niger Delta, kidnapping in the east and the growth of violent anarchist groups in the North.
At this point, it became clear to us that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai had lost it, even as we prayed fervently that this late entrant in Tunde Bakare’s Save Nigeria Group (SNG) will find the humility to first save himself.
Increased budgetary allocation for education (for the first time, the budget for education outmatched that for Defense), Establishment of about six new federal universities across all the geo-political zones, provisions of billions of naira to revamp and upgrade existing ones, establishment of new airports, upgrades of old airports, revamping of the textile industry in the North and the reopening of Northern Nigeria’s most prominent textile manufacturing facility, establishment of a fast-rail project in the North, commencement and completion of various phases of rail projects in the North and South-West, US FAA Category 1 Certification awarded to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority months after many aviation experts thought it was impossible, improved international ratings for Nigeria, increased budgetary allocations for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), re-invigorated and acceleration Amnesty Programme for ex-agitators in the Niger Delta etc…
On the matter of national security, The President, like every other Nigerian understands the value of peace, security and the safety of life and property and so he appointed a former Deputy Chief of Defense Intelligence, Former Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 st Division, Former Chief of Army Staff, Former Chief of Defense Staff, holder of the Corps Medal of Honor (CMH), Meritorious Service Star, Distinguished Service Star, Grand Service Star and the Recipient of President & Commander-in-Chief’s Merit Award (for best all round performance) of The National War College as well as Recipient of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) national award, General Owoye Andrew Azazi as National Security Adviser.
So you see Mallam, President Jonathan is in charge. He knows his onions.
At The Jonathan Project, we believe that a lot needs to be done for this country. We believe that President Goodluck Jonathan GCFR is a good man with a good head and a good heart. We believe that President Jonathan has the capacity and capability to bring and sustain change in this country. We believe and have keyed into the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, the 4 th President of Nigeria’s 4 th Republic. We also believe that the Era of Lamentation is over. Each day, we will hold him to his words “I will never never fail you”!
This is the season of strategic engagement. Now, let’s go there!
“The Jonathan Project”
Email: George.kerley@ thejonathanproject.info