The Presidency on Wednesday took on the Peoples Democratic Party and those it called the party’s agents over their position on the relief released to state governments by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, accused the PDP of creating unnecessary controversy over “the well-intentioned effort” of the President.
He described as “banal and ludicrous” the claim by the party’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, that the past government should be given credit for saving the money that was disbursed.
The statement read in part, “Mr. Metuh’s claim that a significant amount of the funds came from savings accumulated in the Excess Crude Account and handed over to the Buhari administration is completely false and deliberately intended to mislead the public.
“As we clearly stated yesterday (on Tuesday), the funds approved by President Buhari for sharing to the three tiers of government on Monday came entirely from dividends and taxes paid to the Federation Account by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, not from the Excess Crude Account.
“The disbursed NLNG dividends and taxes were paid into the Federation Account in June this year and confirmed by the Central Bank’s statement to the Federal Government on July 7, 2015.
“The funds cannot, therefore, be considered ‘savings’ by the Jonathan administration which left office in May, 2015, as disingenuously claimed by Mr. Metuh.
“Instead of being repeatedly impugned and castigated by the PDP and its agents for honestly telling Nigerians that the nation’s treasury has been immensely depleted and its resources looted or squandered under previous administrations, President Buhari should be commended for the openness, transparency and accountability which he has now brought to the management of national funds.
“It was in keeping with that disposition that the President promptly disclosed the accrual of the NLNG dividends and taxes to the Federation Account at his recent meeting with state governors and approved the convening of a special session of the FAAC to share it.
“As a state governor, who was present at the meeting, remarked, under the past administrations, the states never had the benefit of such disclosures.
“Mr. Metuh and others, who now ungratefully see Monday’s disbursement of the NLNG proceeds as their “legitimate” earnings and not a “bailout” from the Federal Government, may wish to tell Nigerians if such earnings were ever disclosed by the PDP Federal Government and paid to the states in the past.
“The public may also wish to note that the Buhari administration itself has never referred to the actions which it was taken to ease the current financial difficulties of states as a “bailout.”