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So Sad… How Governor Aregbesola ‎Assaulted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

So Sad… How Governor Aregbesola ‎Assaulted Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
April 26
16:04 2018

Holding an office as exalted as that of a governor of a state comes with some decorum expected of a thorough gentleman. But if a chilling account of what once transpired between Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, present Governor of Osun State and former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as narrated by the latter was truthful, then Governor Aregbesola could not pass the gentleman test unless he has passed through some finishing class in flying colours after the narrated event.

In her holds-no-barred book, ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines’, which is currently enjoying some rave reviews in Nigeria’s literary space, Okonjo-Iweala gave an account of how Aregbesola resorted to diatribes against her because he was against her position that Nigeria should save up funds in the Excess Crude Accounts for the rainy day.

Though the opposition against her argument was chiefly mounted by the chair of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Aregbesola was written to have taken the matter more personally than any other governor who was against the saving. The anti-saving stance was ably backed by Adams Oshiomole, Godswill Akpabio and Babatunde Fashola, who Okonjo-Iweala wrote, objected on constitutional grounds, drowning the voices of few governors, like Peter Obi, who supported saving.

“I recall one session early in 2014 where I was quizzed, harangued, and bullied by some governors and then verbally assaulted by Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. The Vice President had to intervene to tell Governor Aregbesola that people might carry on aggressively in his state capital but that such behaviours would not be tolerated I the meeting or in Abuja.

The Vice President’s firm stance and his support ended the abuse. Although some of Governor Aregbesola’s fellow governors apologized to me after the meeting, I felt very uncomfortable after the verbal attacks and decided to limit my attendance at National Economic Council meetings as much as possible and to keep my distance from the hostile governors. Some of these same governors – particularly Adams Oshiomole of Edo State – spearheaded attacks against me after I left government in 2015, trying to tarnish my name with false accusations of corruption,” Okonjo-Iweala revealed.

She explained further that the governors’ agitation against saving eventually succeeded, as the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government succumbed to pressure and the accumulated savings “which should have been safeguarded to secure the country against a fall in oil prices” were shared.”

As often is the case with memoirs as controversial as Okonjo-Iweala’s, some of the names mentioned might be refuting or confirming claims made in the book in days to come. The book elicited a terse response from Donald Duke whom, according to Okonjo-Iweala, acted as harbinger of intimidating message from an anonymous cabal who wanted her to reject Jonathan’s ministerial offer to her. Days ahead will prove if Ogbeni Aregbesola would toe Duke’s path or ignore Okonjo-Iweala because the Ilesha-born politician is currently engrossed in politics of succession as he rounds off his two tenures in November.

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2 Comments

  1. Phil
    Phil April 26, 16:54

    What is there to refute or repudiate as if Nigerians do not know that Gov Aregbesola is hostile, aggressive, uncouth, unrefined and an attack dog or hench man of Asiwaju in Lagos years before becoming a Governor?

    When you consider the vehemence and hate with which the said , then Opposition Governors , prosecuted the fight against Saving for the rainy day or creating the Sovereign Wealth Fund, you need to winch to tell you that such ludicrous behaviour can not be put past a man like that in the furore of those days when these selfsame Governors minced no words in hurling insults and brick bats at GEJ, then President. Does he have much regards for women in the first place? Please talk about something more altruistic jare.

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  2. Don O.
    Don O. April 28, 21:41

    Who amongst the opposition governor then were responsible? Their Frontliner Amaechi is at best a brat and rascally irresponsible as well as uncouth. Everything about this party has been made manifest. They destroyed our economy and turn round to blame Jonathan. As we speak, their economic team is so kindergarten and laughable.

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