To my dismay, I woke up on Friday the 1st of June 2018 to find out that President Buhari, who is meant to be on a Ramadan fast, had released a statement, through the Presidency’s Twitter handle, alleging that the Jonathan government, which created the Sovereign Wealth Fund in 2012, had failed to save money in the fund after the initial $1 billion deposit it made into it.
Such a lie, coming at a time when the President is meant to be fasting is shocking!
The truth is that after starting up the Sovereign Wealth Fund with an initial deposit of $1 billion in 2011, the Nigerian Governors Forum, led by Rotimi Amaechi and supported by other Governors who later joined the APC, took the Jonathan administration to court to declare the Sovereign Wealth Fund illegal and assert their claim that the Jonathan led Federal Government could not force them to save.
In fact, Mr, Rotimi Amaechi released a statement justifying his opposition to the Sovereign Wealth Fund on August 31, 2011 and said:
“The SWF is an attempt to desecrate section 162 of Nigeria’s Constitution.
Section 162(1), (2) and (10) of the 1999 Constitution prescribed the mode of sharing the revenue of the Federation.
It states that “the Federation shall maintain a special account to be called the Federation Account into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The law says that anything that is outside the constitution is wrong and section 162 of the constitution also says so.”
Many attempts by the Jonathan administration to settle the matter out of court were rebuffed by Mr. Amaechi and his colleagues who had a hidden agenda to frustrate the plans by the Jonathan administration to save for a rainy day.
Working in tandem with Mr. Amaechi and his supporters in the Nigerian Governors Forum, the then minority APC members of the House of Representatives also filed another suit at a Federal High Court on the 7th of February, 2014, seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the Jonathan administration from operating the Excess Crude Account, from which they intended to source for money to fund the Sovereign Wealth Fund, and to pay all the proceeds of that account into the Federation Account for sharing amongst the three tiers of government.
As a result of these actions, the Jonathan administration paid the 36 states of the federation a total of N2.92 trillion from the Excess Crude Account between 2011 and 2014. Using the value of the Naira at that time that amount was just above $20 billion dollars.
It therefore amounts to historical revision for the Presidency to make these spurious allegations against the Jonathan administration,
President Muhammadu Buhari should be aware that just like I told him, after the many lies from his Democracy Day Speech, Ramadan fast does not just mean abstaining from food, it also means abstaining from lies.