Jonathan spent N64bn on independence anniversaries –El-Rufai


Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for budgeting N70m for the Independence Day anniversary.

El-Rufai noted in a Facebook post on Thursday that under former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Federal Government spent billions every year on Independence Day.

He noted that between 2011 and 2014, Jonathan spent over N64bn celebrating Independence Day.

Curiously, in 2010 Jonathan budgeted N10bn for Nigeria’s golden jubilee celebration.

He wrote, “This is the APC/PMB change we voted for. Independence anniversary expenditure for the past five years: 2011 – N13bn; 2012 -N15bn; 2013 – N14bn; 2014 – N22bn; 2015 -N70m

In a separate post titled, ‘Our chance for national rebirth’, el-Rufai urged on the people of Kaduna not to lose hope.

He noted that the nation was not yet where it ought to be but with purposeful leadership, things would get better.

The governor subsequently pardoned some convicted prisoners.

He said, “On this occasion, the Kaduna State government decided to extend mercy to prisoners. Pursuant to Section 212 of the constitution, the prerogative of mercy was exercised in favour of 14 prisoners.

“The government commuted the death sentences of five convicts, who will now serve prison time. Five prisoners serving sentences of three years and above were released on the basis of good behaviour or time served already.

“In addition, three prisoners were released on the basis on age while one person was released due to ill health. In doing our duty to show mercy, the government warns that it will not tolerate crime and threats to security.”

He said one of the highpoints of the last 55 years was the 2015 general elections which saw the defeat of his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the victory of the All Progressives Congress which will ensure the needed change.

He thanked Nigerians, specifically the people of Kaduna for voting for change and steering the nation to the path of greatness.

El-Rufai said, “We can celebrate because 2015 is the year that the people of this country decided it was time to begin the rebirth of a nation. Against the most concerted campaign ever mounted by a government to divide the people it was meant to lead, Nigerians refused to be set against one another.

“I pay tribute to the many sacrifices that were made to make the historic elections of this year possible. What the voters of 2015 did was to make democracy a bulwark of patriotism. In other words, the people cast their votes for their country. May we never again be saddled with people who (rated) themselves above the country.”

The former minister said education remained the key to development.

He, therefore, declared a state of emergency in the education sector.

He said, “Education is emancipation! Education is freedom from want and disease! The provision of free basic education in decent schools and with skilled teachers is one of the priorities this government will accomplish in its four-year term.

“We have spent the past few months planning school repairs, the provision of school furniture and the training of teachers. Today, we move to declare a state of emergency in education. We ask for your support as we begin to implement extraordinary measures in the educational sector.”

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