THE Deputy Chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has stated that members of the confab didn’t get N7million each, contrary to the position of the Secretary General of the Federation (SGF), Engineer Babachir Lawal, in a public interview.
Prof Akinyemi, in a statement made available to Nigerian Tribune, expressed dismay at the choice of words, which he said the SGF used in a recent interview published in several national newspapers where he referred to delegates that attended the confab as “boys”.
The deputy chairman described the “intemperate language” of the SGF as “crude, rude, offensive and unbecoming of the high office of state he occupies.”
Professor Akinyemi stated that among the delegates the SGF referred to as boys were “the Emir of Ilorin, the Lamido of Adamawa, King Arfred 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… Presiding was a former Chief Justice of Nigeria and a former Minister of External Affairs.
Professor Akinyemi said: “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.”
The erudite scholar noted that: “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.”
Professor Akinyemi, however, called out the SGF to get his facts right in response to the SGF’s comment in the published interview where he (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,” Professor Akinyemi said.