President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday stated that he did not leave an empty treasury for his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, describing Pastor Tunde Bakare’s claims to that effect as false and untenable.
Bakare was quoted as claiming during a recent trip to Canada that President Buhari could not appoint a cabinet for six months because “he met an empty treasury.”
But in a statement by one of Jonathan’s media aides, Reno Omokri, he described Bakare’s statement as lies and a figment of both the imaginations of President Buhari and Pastor Bakare.
“The Jonathan administration left $2.07 billion in the Excess Crude Account when it handed over to the Buhari administration on May 29, 2015. This is an easily verifiable fact from both the Central Bank of Nigeria and is also available from other open sources”, Omokri stated.
“In addition to that, the Jonathan government left a foreign reserves of $29. 6 billion for the incoming government and $5.2 billion was left for the Buhari administration by way of dividend payments from the NLNG.
“Now, there is no way these huge amounts can be described as empty treasury. I challenge Pastor Tunde Bakare to disprove these figures I have given here or take me to court and I will embarrass him there and show him to be the liar that he is.”
He also disputed claims by Pastor Bakare that Nigeria no longer imports rice as untrue.
Omokri said, “first of all, even the Buhari administration has not claimed that Nigeria is no longer importing rice. What they said, which is also a lie, is that rice imports have reduced.
“But the truth is that Nigeria’s rice imports have actually increased by 60 per cent as revealed by no less an institution than the United States Department of Agriculture.
“In fact, according to the USDA, not only has Nigeria’s rice imports increased by 60 per cent, but Nigeria is projected to be the second largest rice importing nation.
“These are the exact words of the USDA “China and Nigeria are projected to remain the largest rice importing countries in 2019, followed by the EU, Cote d’Ivoire, and Iran.
“You do not have to take my word for this – google it by yourself. The last time Nigeria’s rice imports went down, according to the USDA, was in 2015 under former President Jonathan.”
Omokri added that Bakare’s claims that 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) occupied by Boko Haram are no longer an issue means that Pastor Bakare is out of touch, saying that as he was granting that interview, Baga, Doron-Baga, Kross Kawwa, Bunduran, Kekeno and Kukawa towns are all under Boko Haram/ISWAP’s control.
“In fact, the Governor of Borno State, a notorious political enemy of former President Jonathan, was forced to hold a press conference on New Year’s eve where he confessed that the situation has deteriorated and was worse than before.
“For emphasis, the following was the front page headline in the Punch on New Year’s eve “Residents flee as Boko Haram takes over Borno communities”, Jonathan’s spokesman said.
“There has been mass movement of people out of communities in Borno State through Damaturu the Yobe State capital to Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kebbi and Jigawa States.”
He added that unlike the Jonathan era, the insecurity in Nigeria is almost total, arguing that “as I write this today (January 2, 2019, Aminu Bello Masari, the Governor of Katsina State, President Buhari’s own state, raised an alarm on the insecurity and breakdown of law and order in his state.”
Omokri further stated, “We are not talking of Zamfara or the North-east. We are talking Katsina. If Buhari cannot secure his own state, is it Nigeria he can secure? And then there is Zamfara State, which is becoming as bad, if not worse, than the Northe-ast.”
He said that with these unimpeachable facts it is hard pressed to understand why “Pastor Tunde Bakare cannot respect himself and the calling he claims to have, by using his mouth to speak truth instead of lying like a heathen.”