The immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday denied withdrawing $1bn from the Excess Crude Account to finance the campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In a statement by her Media Adviser, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, the former finance minister described the allegation by Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State that she spent $1bn out of the ECA to fund the re-election bid of Jonathan as a “ludicrously false statement that has unfortunately become a trademark of the Governor in his public campaign of falsehood.”
The statement said the comment by the governor was “just another example of the numerical diarrhea that seems to have afflicted His Excellency in recent times in his effort to damage the reputation of the former minister.”
It reads in part, “He has, within the last few months, asked Dr Okonjo-Iweala to explain all kinds of totally wild and unsubstantiated figures, ranging from $30bn, $20bn, $2.1bn, N720bn and now $1bn.
“To say the obvious, the accusations are totally lacking in credibility. Governor Oshiomhole’s published comments also contain other falsehoods.
“For instance, he quoted Dr Okonjo-Iweala as saying that she and the Finance Commissioners of the 36 states approved the spending of $2.1bn out of the Excess Crude Account, adding that the Commissioners had disowned the statement. This is also a complete distortion.
“Dr Okonjo-Iweala never said the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee approved spending out of the ECA. Rather as the Commissioners themselves stated, the former Minister of State Finance informed them that former President Jonathan approved the expenditure to end the debilitating fuel queues across the country.”
The statement said the Finance Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala regularly published details of revenue allocations from the ECA in national media.
“Oshiomhole’s tortured ‘calculations’, based on his ‘four figure tables’, are mere political numbers conjured to achieve a political purpose. Nigerians can see through the elaborate antics,” she said.