A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, fired a salvo at President Goodluck Jonathan, describing him as a drowning President who distorts facts and uses ethnic and religious politics to score political points.
This was part of a statement he released on Wednesday in a response to the Presidency’s reply to allegations El-Rufai had raised earlier on Saturday during an interview he granted Liberty FMin Kaduna.
El-Rufai, for instance, said Jonathan favoured his home state, Bayelsa in federal appointments, citing a report by the Governance and Sustainable Initiatives Limited, entitled ‘Analysis and Lessons of the Current Geopolitical Distribution of Federal Appointments’, to support his claim.
He said, “The Jonathan administration is said to have favoured his home state of Bayelsa 200 per cent times more than the next states with the highest federal representation – Delta, Edo and Anambra.
“If Jonathan is not playing the ethnic card, can he possibly explain to Nigerians why Bayelsa, which has the smallest population in Nigeria and the fewest number of local government areas, has more than double the number of federal appointees measured by population and weight of responsibility than that of the next state?”
According to him, the most populous states of Lagos and Kano are at the bottom of the representation ladder.
He recalled that the President was quick to exonerate those he called “my people” from the October 1, 2010 bombings in Abuja.
El-Rufai said Henry Okah, convicted of the offence in South Africa, revealed that a Presidency official contacted him to implicate some northerners.
He also said after the 2011 elections, Jonathan told a delegation of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that the only votes he got from the North were from Igbo residents in the region.
He asked, “Are those the words of a patriot or an ethnic bigot? This was after an election where he received nearly 100 per cent of all votes cast in the South-South and South-East states, in some cases getting more votes than there were registered voters or even residents.”
He also criticised Vice-President Namadi Sambo for the massive debts he incurred as the governor of Kaduna State.
The President’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, had then issued a reply on Sunday, describing el-Rufai as “a serial liar”.
The former minister, who, on Wednesday, insisted that Jonathan was playing the ethnic game, noted that the Presidency had not addressed issues he raised on Saturday.
He said, “It may interest the President to know that Nigerians are much wiser now and will not be deceived by the antics of a drowning president and his desperate aides.”
However, the Presidency in its reply to this new salvo from the Acting Deputy National Secretary of the new opposition party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) said el-Rufai and his ilk were “grossly irresponsible for targeting Jonathan in their politics of abuse and name-calling.”
Abati said nobody had the right to denigrate the office of the President under the guise of engaging in criticism.
Doing so, according to the presidential spokesman, is both “unreasonable and foolish.”
Abati said, “I have not seen the full text of El-Rufai’s statement. I will look out for it and study it and if need be, I will respond appropriately.”
Also, the media aide to the vice-president, Mallam Sani Umar, challenged el-Rufai to publish the facts on the Kaduna State debt profile and the water project.
Umar said, “I challenge El-Rufai to publish the debt profile of the state from 1996 to date for the public to decipher and judge whether huge debts were bequeathed to Kaduna State or not by the Sambo administration.”