SUBSIDY: I DIDN'T THREATEN TO RESIGN, SAYS OKONJO-IWEALA
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has cried out over what she described as a fresh campaign of calumny against with claims that she threatened to resign from the Goodluck Jonathan government should he back out on the fuel subsidy removal.
Dr. Okonko-Iweala's Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu said in a statement, in Abuja, yesterday, that the campaign which was launched on online media outfits on Wednesday was completely false.
Several online media published the story of the Minister of Finance threatening to resign at the Wednesday Emergency Federal Executive Council , FEC, meeting, should the federal government reverse the subsidy removal policy.
But Mr. Nwabuikwu explained, that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was not in the country on Wednesday and therefore did not attend the emergency FEC meeting, let alone threatening to resign from the cabinet.
“This speculation, like numerous others is absolutely false. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was not at the meeting because she was out of the country when it was going on.
“In other words, they are saying that she made a threat at a meeting that she did not attend. She made no such threat physically or through any other means. She had no reason to”, the S.A, said.
The spokesman said the campaign was executed by persons hiding behind the on-going controversy over the government's decision to deregulate the petroleum sector.
Mr. Nwabuikwu added, “for obvious reasons, the faceless campaigners have elected to tell their lies online because the normal journalistic principles of facts and balanced reporting are generally absent there.
“The agenda behind the alleged threat and similar stories is obvious: to inspire public hatred and odium against her person by manipulating public opinion so that she is seen as the sole person pushing for the removal of subsidies.
“Their calculation is that Nigerians are so angry and so gullible that they will believe anything if the lies are supported with manufactured “facts”. But we believe that fair minded Nigerians are not fools.
“It is clear that governments and certainly the Jonathan administration do not work in the manner that the peddlers of falsehood are saying. It is not only naive but also highly disrespectful to the President and the government as a whole to suggest that the entire decision making machinery of government is the sole preserve of any official”.
He restated that “Dr Okonjo-Iweala supports the decision on fuel subsidy removal because she believes that ending the subsidies will drastically reduce corruption in the downstream sector.
Deregulation will also help to end the waivers enjoyed by powerful cabals at the expense of the Nigerian people. In addition, the vast majority of Nigerians will also gain as the proceeds will be redirected into safety nets, other identifiable social interventions as well as provision of sorely needed infrastructure projects nationwide”.