Ezekwesili Lied Shamelessly – Doyin Okupe
The Presidency has refused to join the former World Bank Vice President for Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili in a national debate over the spending of the funds in the nationâs excess crude account.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, insisted that Dr. Ezekwesili “lied shamelessly” and that there is no basis for entering into any debate with her.
Dr. Okupe advi sed the former Minister of Education to disclose to Nigerians the source of the money she claimed was left in the excess crude account by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
According the President’s aide, the figure stated in the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), grossly differ from Dr Ezekwesili stated.
He explained that as at May 2007, when former President Obasanjo handed over power to late President Umaru Musa YarâAdua, the excess crude account had $43 billion and that as at the 22nd of January 2013, the excess crude account stood at $45.3 billion.
He therefore enjoined the former Minister to explain the source of her figures.
Dr Okupe further affirmed that the presidency will not engage in a debate with Dr Ezekwesili because the facts as stated in the books of the CBN are very clear. “I will not engage in a debate over facts that are clear. I will engage in debates over government policies but not facts” he affirmed.
“It is preposterous for her to be demanding a debate over an outlandish and incorrect figure she is giving to incite Nigerians against the government” Dr Okupe added.
Dr. Ezekwesili had on Monday, via her Twitter account, asked the Federal Government to accept her challenge to a public debate, as, according to her, âit would demonstrate a healthy democratic culture of responding to citizens.â
She also insisted that the $67 billion which the Obasanjo administration left in the foreign reserve and the excess crude account was brazenly misappropriated by the respective governments that succeeded him.
The former World Bank executive had earlier alleged in her keynote address at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka convocation that $67billion was mismanaged by the succeeding governments of late YarâAdua and Jonathan.
Describing the allegation of misappropriations against her by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, on Sunday, as âcarelessâ the ex-minister stated that the N458.1 billion in reference was the entire budget of the education sector, including statutory bodies to which sitting ministers had no access.
Mr. Maku had accused the former minister of misappropriating the said sum allocated to the countryâs educational sector when she served as minister between 2006 and 2007.