The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, AbdulAzeez Yari, has reacted to Governor Ayo Fayose’s declaration that $1 billion withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account, for use in the fight against Boko Haram, is a ruse.
The Ekiti governor had said in a statement on Friday that the spending made no sense since the Buhari adminstration claimed it had defeated Boko Haram.
The governor alleged the withdrawal, approved by the governor’s forum, was meant to finance President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
Mr. Fayose also denied that the withdrawal from the excess crude account received his approval.
But Mr. Yari, who is also Zamfara state governor, claimed the decision to allow the Federal Government access the money, was a collective one by the forum.
He said being absent from the meeting where the decision was taken did not clear anyone of responsibility for the forum’s resolutions.
“I am saying that that statement was an unfair cut against the Forum,” Governor Yari Abubakar said. “When a decision is taken by the Forum in one’s absence, once there was a quorum at the meeting where the decision was taken, (it) becomes binding on all. I am sure Fayose was not making the statement to undermine the Forum. He was just doing his thing.”
Mr. Yari said the decision was a “conscious sign by the two parties to show the synergy between the NGF and the Presidency, “which ought not to be politicized,”
“This same lack of unity between governors and the presidency had brought about poor governance in the past, throughout the country and now that we are working together no one should constitute a wedge in the process,” he said.
He added that “you can never spend too much on security because the safety of lives and property are the most cardinal among all the principles of governance, in any democracy.”
Governor Yari said the issue of drawing from the ECA was broadly deliberated at the forum’s meeting on the eve of the National Economic Council meeting where the decision was taken.
“If Governor Fayose was there at the meeting, he would have seen the wisdom in the decision. Yes, the administration is claiming to have decimated the insurgents out of Sambisa Forest but they are reemerging in different flashpoints across the country. They need to be tackled wherever they are and the NGF decided to support the Presidency just as it (The Presidency) had been supporting states with their own problems,” Governor Yari Abubakar argued.
A statement issued by the governors’ forum secretariat in Abuja said Mr. Yari was considering addressing a press conference on the matter to “clear the air”.
“Governor Fayose is on his own. We have to protect our people and we have to do it with everything we have,” he said. “Let me reemphasize one more thing, Mr President is a responsible and honest leader who does not believe in money politics and he would never divert public resources into it.”