Nigeria Governors’ Forum Chairman AbdulAzeez Yari yesterday ruled Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, was out of order over his claim that the $1b recently approved for the fight against Boko Haram is a ruse.
The governors, at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday, gave the federal government the green light to withdraw the money from the Excess Crude Account.
Fayose, in a statement at the weekend, said he was not part of the decision and claimed that the request for the money made no sense since the federal government had earlier boasted of defeating the terror sect.
He also alleged that the money would be diverted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s political campaign in 2019.
But responding to Fayose’s allegations yesterday, Yari who is also the governor of Zamfara State said the decision was a collective one by the forum.
He said Fayose’s absence from the meeting did not clear him or anyone for that matter of responsibility for the forum’s resolutions.
His words:”I am saying that that statement was an unfair cut against the Forum.
“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.”
Continuing, the Zamfara governor 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.
“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 pointed out that the issue of withdrawal was broadly deliberated at the forum’s meeting on the eve of the NEC 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 re-emerging 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 Fayose is on his own. We have to protect our people and we have to do it with everything we have.
“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.”
Fayose, in his statement had said:”For posterity sake, I wish to place it on record that I was not among the governors who approved the withdrawal of almost half of our savings in the Excess Crude Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government to fight an already defeated insurgency.
“Since they said they have defeated Boko Haram, what else do they need a whopping sum of $1 billion (over N360 billion) for; if not to fund the 2019 elections?
“The APC promised to wipe out Boko Haram within six months, now it is 31 months and what the APC government is wiping out is the economy of Nigeria and the means of livelihood of the people.”
The governor said N360 billion was equivalent to what the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) share to the federal government, 36 States and 777 Local Councils monthly, nothing that “Nigerians deserve proper explanations from the federal government on the rationale behind spending such huge sum of money to fight an already defeated Boko Haram.”