Former Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Chairman, 2014 National Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has clarified that members of the confab didn’t get N7million each, contrary to the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engineer Babachir Lawal, in a recent interview.
Prof Akinyemi, in a statement personally signed by him, expressed disappointment at the choice of words, which he said Lawal used in a recent interview published in several national newspapers where he was said to have referred to delegates that attended the confab as “boys”.
The former Minister described the “intemperate language” of Lawal as “crude, rude, offensive and unbecoming of the high office of state he occupies”.
According to him, among the delegates the SGF referred to as boys were “the Emir of Ilorin, the Lamido of Adamawa, King Alfred Diete Spiff, the Gbong Gwom of Jos, Emir of Yauri, Emir of Dutse, Emir of Askira and the Amanyanabo of Nembe.
“Various judges of the High Courts, delegates included a former Chief of Defence Staff, a former Chief of Air Staff, three former foreign ministers, a former Inspector General of Police, two former senate presidents, a former SGF, several former ministers, several SANs, several former governors, professors… and Presiding was a former Chief Justice of Nigeria and a former Minister of External Affairs”.
His words: “My own upbringing and diplomatic and scholar’s disposition will not allow me to yield to the temptation to call Engr Lawal by the name his own choice of words has reduced him to”.
According to him, “most of the delegates there were people who had paid their dues; served this country in high and exalted positions, risked their lives in the civil war and other domestic insurrections and showed exceptional excellence in the performance of their duties, obviously more excellence than Engr Lawal had demonstrated in his one year in office”.
He called on the SGF to get his facts right on what the SGF said “… everybody in the committee got N7 million.” “Come on Mr SGF. You have been in the office that funded the conference and you have been there for over a year, and all you need to do is to send for the files to know that what members were paid is much less than N7 million per head. You do not have to depend on rumours or ‘dem say.
“Frankly, I will not plead for the report of the conference to be considered by your government. Governments come and governments go. The problems will remain. We will all be judged by whether we were part of the solution or part of the problems”, Akinyemi stressed.