Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, says it is untrue that she mocked Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, and Babatunde Fashola, his power, works and housing counterpart.
Okonjo-Iweala was alleged to have referred to Amaechi and Fashola as “scavengers turned saints”.
She was said to have made the statement in ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous’, her recently-released book on her role in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Reacting to the claims in a tweet, Okonjo Iweala said she never made the statement in her book.
Describing the peddlers of rumour as “mischief-makers,” the ex-minister said they were only “putting words” in her mouth.
The GAVI boss and former managing director at the World Bank, expressed appreciation for the reviews of her book while urging “mischief makers” to get a copy so “they can make intelligent contributions”.
“At no point in my book, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous’, did I say ‘yesterday’s scavengers are today’s saints’,” she said.
“While I appreciate all the reviews and discourse the book is generating at home and abroad; mischief-makers who wish to add their comments should get their own copy of the book so that they can make intelligent contributions, rather than putting words in my mouth”.
In the trending social media report, Okonjo-Iweala allegedly talked about the challenges she faced while trying to ensure the federal government under the administration of Jonathan saved during the season of oil boom.
The alleged report is reproduced below:
“Rotimi Amaechi as Chairman of Nigeria governors Forum took Jonathan government for trying to save for raining season including Fashola and most APC members, today they are the ones shouting that the PDP did not save, hypocrites and liars.
“We then established a stabilization mechanism and opened an account for the oil surplus, which posted up to $22 billion.
“In 2008, when prices fell from 148 to $ 38 a barrel, no one has heard of Nigeria because the country was able to tap into this fund. And that, I am very proud [of].
“When I returned to the department in 2011, there remained only $4 billion on this account (because part of the money saved was used to fund the amnesty programme for Niger Delta Militants embarked upon by the Yar’adua government) while the price of oil was very high!
“I tried again to put money aside. The PRESIDENT agreed, but the GOVERNORS did not accept.
“I suffered a lot of attacks from them (and they took us to the court up to the supreme court) and now that the country would really need this account, these same people accuse me of not having saved!
“If Nigeria had been more careful, we would not be here today. It hurts me. We have the mechanism, we had the experience, but we were prevented to act.
“Unfortunately, the same scavengers of yesterday are the saints of today.” (The Cable)