The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Babachir Lawal has said in an interview on Vanguard that the report of the 2014 National Conference organised by the Goodluck Jonathan administration was not a priority of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Saying President Buhari was too busy to study the report of the National Conference, Lawal said:
“The government has not taken a decision on the 2014 National Conference. I understand that some Nigerians want it implemented but the government has been too busy with key areas of governance to talk about an exercise that we thought was essentially diversionary and a sort of, maybe, a “job for the boys.”
“If you remember, it was reported that almost everybody in the committee got N7 million and we consider it essentially as job for the boys. They probably produced a document that is good and commendable but I mean, this government is too busy with very more vital areas of governance and we are not intending to spend our time reading reports.
“The exercise of governance is not about reading reports. The reports are here, so many volumes that, for example, it would take me like seven days to go through and I wonder what happens to my work while I am reading it; while the economy needs attention, unemployment is there, insecurity is there, people are blowing up pipelines and so on.”
Chidinma Onu commented:
“The man that does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read”.
“To hide anything from Nigerians, put it in a book”
APC Had No Opportunity To Steal That’s Why We Only Probe PDP
When asked when the president is going to start dealing with corrupt persons in APC, the SGF said:
“Let us be very sincere and reasonable. Obviously, to my mind, the preponderance of corrupt people would be in the PDP for one reason; they have been in government for 16 years and they were the only ones enjoying the booty, and they were doing it in a flagrant manner.
“Tracing my own (political) genealogy for instance, from ANPP to CPC and now APC, we were not getting anything. Nobody was giving us contracts. PDP were the ones in government; they were the ones the president was approving money for sharing; they were the ones that took government money to fund their election. Access to government money This is the truth. APC had no access to government money to fund the president’s election. It got to a stage when PDP saw it clearly on the wall; you remember they even shifted the elections; it was so clear they were going to lose, and so they thought they could buy it.
“Throughout the last tenure of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign, their goodwill among Nigerians was on the decline and they were spending, and it got to a stage that they did not care about following the due process anymore because they thought they were in power and they thought they could buy their way through and remain in perpetuity. So, they became even careless about the manner they were taking the money.
“Remember Nigeria even borrowed $100million from the international market to fund the war on Boko Haram and they simply shared it. APC did not go to borrow anywhere. We were not sharing oil wells. We had no access to NNPC funds. So, if these agencies were converted into agencies for looting and pilfering, it is obvious that even if we had corrupt men in the APC, they did not have the opportunity to steal, and that is assuming we had.
“I cannot, in all honesty, say that all of us in APC are saints, but the truth is, we did not have access to funds to steal in the first place, and so we did not have opportunity also to reject the stealing. So, let them roast in their stew.
“Let them carry their cross. They can make all the noises and try to deflate APC, but our hands are clean by providence. Look, let us face it. If they arrest you, why don’t you say, ‘I shared the money with so and so persons’ and then let him turn out to be in APC? Those that they are arresting, it is from the interrogation that the information burst out. Let them leave us alone. This is just the beginning. They will return our money by the time we finish digging their soak-aways and bringing down their (overhead) tanks; we would recover our money.”]
Image: SGF Babachir in his typical brown