A former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has hit back at former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her revelations that he tried to dissuade her from joining the Goodluck Jonathan administration in order to undermine it.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala had in a new book titled ‘fighting corruption is dangerous’ revealed that Mr. Duke visited her in Washington DC, USA and asked her not to accept an impending appointment from Mr Jonathan because people like him wanted the government to lose credibility and fail.
The revelation by the former minister drew widespread reaction at a time Mr. Duke is considered one of the leading candidates to run for president in the 2019 Nigerian elections.
Mr Duke took to his Twitter handle on Wednesday to react to the allegation by the former coordinator of Nigerian economy.
He admitted that it is true he met with Mrs Okonjo-Oweala “when the rumours were swirling about her being considered for appointment.”
He also said “as friends” and with Mrs Okonjo-Iweala “having been literally dismissed from an earlier appointment as finance minister,” he simply urged caution.
“I made no mention of adding or subtracting credibility to anyone or government,” he said.
He also said it was just a matter of “two friends” discussing careers, adding “it ended there and she subsequently made her choice which I respected.”
Mr. Duke, however, hit hard at Mrs Okonjo-Iweala for revealing to the public what he considers a private discussion between two friends.
“I think it is in poor taste and demeaning of her to report a private conversation in whatever self laundering attempt she may be up to.
“With hindsight, I was vindicated, Ngozi, as Minister of Finance and Economy, despite massive revenue receipts, left Nigeria poorer than she met it,” he said.
Mr Duke was Cross River Governor during the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency and during which period Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was finance minister.
Although he nursed a presidential ambition in 2007 when Mr Obasanjo was leaving office, he was schemed out of the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket which was won by late Umaru Yar’Adua who eventually chose Mr Jonathan as his running mate and won the presidential election.
Mr Jonathan became the president following the death of Mr Yar’Adua.
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