OPINION: Why Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman is the best candidate for PDP spokesperson By Ikenna Asomba

…………The man who exposed Governor Elrufai’s lies on independence day spendings

It’s barely 37days to the Elective National Convention of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a political party which once prided itself as the Largest Political Party in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The D-Day is December 9, 2017.

On a very serious note, I picked interest in the forthcoming National Elective Convention of the PDP, particularly, the office of the party’s National Publicity Secretary, owing to the fact that the unique role of the opposition party in the sustainance of the true tenets of democracy and good governance cannot be under-emphasised.

The unending flip flops of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC government, at the centre, led by former military dictator, President Muhammadu Buhari, like a child suffering from teething problems, can’t not be corrected, without a virile opposition on ground.

Thus, the office of the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP must be occupied by a gallant and indefatigable individual with the verified capacity to put the ruling government on its toes, thus, holding it accountable to the Nigerian people.

Nigeria, in the last two and half years under President Buhari has suffered its worst recession since 32years; Nigeria, in the last two years, like never before in its chequered history, has become more divided along ethnic and religious fault lines.

Like never before, more lives have been lost in Nigeria, to sectarian violence, farmers-herdsmen clash; Boko Haram menace and State-sponsored massacres such as Nigeria’s Army killings of over N347 Shia Muslims and dumping them in a mass grave in Zaria, Kaduna in December 2015; killing of members of separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on several occasions, in Asaba, Delta State, Anambra, Abia and Rivers State, by the Nigerian Army.

Are we to talk of the tragic bombing of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Rann village of Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State by the military, where a fighter jet in January 2017, bombed aid providers, soldiers and displaced persons in what military authorities described as ‘ERROR’ killing over 100 persons?

What of the massive job loss, as a result of retrenchment of workers caused by the recessed economy, backlog of salary arrears in private and public institutions, poverty, hunger and starvation, steep cost of essential goods and services, increasing number of suicide missions? These have continued unabated over the last two and half years, owing to the directionless policies of the current administration.

Nigeria, no doubt, needs urgent help, and only through a virile opposition can we achieve this.

Since May 29, 2015, even though, the voiceferous Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State; former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and many a Nigerians, including but not limited to Reno Omokri, Prince Deji Adeyanju, Jude Ndukwe, Prince Henry Nwazuruahu Shield, among others, have daily kept the President Buhari’s regime on its toes, Nigerians without any further delay yearn for a virile opposition mouth-piece like we had during the days of Alhaji Lai Mohammed as Spokesman of the Action Congress (AC), later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and later the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is not to say that Alhaji Lai Mohammed didn’t throw caution to the wind in his stint as opposition spokesman. Perhaps, why he bagged for himself the sobriquet- ‘Lie’ Mohammed.

The Best Man For The Job

Without much ado, I boldly say that the PDP needs not go to Jericho looking for that right man for the job as he is here with us.

That right man is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) activist and former Minister of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman.

It has gone down in the history of Nigeria that Professor Sulaiman was that man who checkmated the penchant of Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State for dishing out Lies and Black Propaganda against former President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration.

If we all recall, Governor El-rufai had penchants for dishing out a lot of falsehoods against Jonathan and his government since he left the PDP and joined opposition politics.

But the last straw that broke he (El-rufai’s) back, was when he lied to Nigerians via his Facebook page on October 1, 2015, that the Jonathan administration spent a mind-boggling N64billion for the country independence anniversaries in four years (2011-2014).

El-rufai who was as usual then, still basking in the euphoria of Buhari’s victory, perhaps wanted to please Buhari by proclaiming that while Buhari earmarked N70 million as the spending for the 2015 Independence anniversary, the Jonathan administration had spent N64billion to cover the country independence anniversary spending in four years, giving the breakdown as:

N13billion spent in 2011
N15billion in 2012
N14billion in 2013 and
N22billion in 2014.

Where the pint-sized Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai got that falsified statistics is yet to be explained to Nigerians till date by him, even after he was busted by Prof. Sulaiman.

Busting El-rufai, on October 4, 2015, Prof. Sulaiman who is also the Spokesman for former Ministers’ Forum, had in a strong-worded and widely circulated press statement, disclosed that the Goodluck Jonathan administration only spent N333 million on three independence anniversaries (2012-2014) and not the billions of naira alleged by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

In the statement, Prof. Sulaiman described as “tissue of lies” the statement by Mr. El-Rufai on his facebook wall that the Jonathan administration spent billions of naira on Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebrations between 2011-2014.


The Press Statement read:

We were taken aback by the recent comment reportedly credited to His Excellency, Governor Nasir El-Rufai where he claimed that the immediate past President, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration spent N64billion to cover the country independence anniversary spending in five years.

The break down, according to the governor showed that N13billion was spent in 2011, N15billion in 2012 and N14billion in 2013 and N22billion allegedly spent in 2014.

This tissue of lies was contained on his facebook comment on Thursday. Ordinarily, we would have allowed this to go as just ranting of a favour seeker, but for the sake of ordinary Nigerians who were abreast of happenings under the administration and also those who never did, we will like to set the record straight.

It is important to correct the misinformation so that the unsuspecting public would not be misled.

For the record, a breakdown of our anniversary spending between 2012 to 2014 amounted to N332.6million.

We challenge the Office of the Government of the Federation (OSGF) to publish these details for the consumption of the public.

For the record, a breakdown of our spending for this event between 2012 and 2014 goes thus;

2012- 107.6million
2013-45million and
2014 had 180million.

So, the question here is where did the billions as claimed by El-Rufai emanate from? Even though that of 2010 and 2011 are not handy now, but it should be known that they all fall within the same bracket as the one stated, except that the 2010 anniversary was a golden one when the country marked her 50 year of independence. But even then, not such outrageous sum was either budgeted or expended .

Again, it is germane to explain the increase in the 2013 anniversary spending for the purpose of accountability.

The National Honours Award Investiture was incorporated into the celebration, thus making it two events in one, hence the N174, 800, 000.00 budget. We also want to add that the said award investiture could not hold in 2013 and the approved budget rolled over and was utilized to organise the investiture in 2014.

It is high time government functionaries desisted from abusing their immunity by destroying history and trading on lies just to gain cheap popularity or curry one favour or the other from certain quarters.

Perhaps President Olusegun Obasanjo was right in his assessment of El-Rufai when he said in his latest memoir, My Watch that his vivid recollection of him (El-Rufai) is his penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long. That exactly is what El-Rufai has done with his ungodly fabrication of lies against Jonathan government.

One hopes that President Buhari would be on guard against being misled by the likes of El-Rufai who are hell bent on misinforming the Nigerian publics.


El-Rufai was caught pants down, his final death knell, when the office of the Disgraced SGF, Babachir Lawal, corroborated Prof. Sulaiman’s statement.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by BudgIT Nigeria on the raging controversy, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation confirmed that indeed the Kaduna State governor lied.

In a response to the October 2, 2015 request by the Lagos-based online accountability and public finance platform, the Office of the SGF said governments (past and present) spent a total of N2.24 billion on the Independence Day Celebration/Centenary Actual Expenditure from 2010-2015.

The director (Finance & Accounts) in the Permanent Secretary’s Office, Mohammed Garba, said N1.7 billion was spent on the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2010, while no money was released for the celebration in 2011.

Similarly, about N107.6 million was spent in 2012; N45 million for 2013 and N180 million for 2014.

The figure also included the N70 million spent by the Buhari administration for the celebration last October.

Mr. Garba, however, explained that although former President Jonathan had given approval for N223.8 million for the 2013 celebrations, only N45 million was actually released to the OSGF.

He said about N138.14 million was also released by government for the Centenary honours awards.

As at then, several Media organisations called El-Rufai to react to the busting of his Black Propaganda, but could not reach him for comments.

This is Nigeria, as usual, we have all moved on, and nobody has dared asked Governor El-rufai to explain how he arrived at his phantom N64billion Independence Anniversary spendings till date.

However, one take-away from that expose of El-rufai is that he had since retreated into his burrows particularly as it regards his penchants for dishing our Lies and Black Propaganda against the Jonathan administration, initially his Stock in Trade.

Tied to this, El-rufai has also been inundated by the wheels of governance, which has thus gifted him humongous grey hairs even at 57. After two and half years in the saddle as the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, El-rufai now knows that Governance is far different from opposition politics. I can’t but agree that Talk is really Cheap.

Howbeit, I hereby seize this medium to say kudos to Prof. Sulaiman, the incoming National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. He actually tamed El-Rufai with the Truth.

The PDP, thus, Nigerians, yearn for a Brave Man with High Intellectual Sagacity like Professor Abubakar Olarenwaju Sulaiman to tame more El-Rufais parading themselves within the corridors of power like the Ananias and Sapphira of (Acts 5:1-11).


Not only did the incoming NPS of the PDP tame Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, he seems to be a Prophet. He may know this or not.

Having followed series of his interviews on National Dailies, I bring you some of the Prophesies he made in his interview with Daily Trust Newspapers et al, in the early stage of the current rudderless administration.

Speaking on Buhari’s Fight Against Corruption

1. The exercise to fight corruption made by this government will end up a nullity.

(Daily Trust, December 26, 2015). See link: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/people-exploited-jonathan-s-simplicity-former-minister-suleiman-olanrewaju-abubakar/126210.html

Speaking on the Constant Blame Game on Jonathan by the Buhari Government

2. Everything that happens now is Jonathan. Everything that will happen up till 2019 will be caused by Jonathan. My brothers in the APC are not prepared for governance; they are just masters of opposition politics. They are good when it comes to opposition, and that is what they will keep doing till 2019. When it comes to governance, forget about it.

(Daily Trust, December 26, 2015). See link: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/people-exploited-jonathan-s-simplicity-former-minister-suleiman-olanrewaju-abubakar/126210.html

Speaking on Buhari’s 2016 Budget’s Pegging of Capital Project at 30 per cent

3. The budget should be appreciated within the context that the Buhari government wants to impress Nigerians. They want Nigerians to believe they want to live up to their campaign promises. What the PDP is saying now is that “yes, you want to live up to your campaign promises, but on what premise?”

What the APC is trying to do is to mount debts for future generations of Nigerians because the budget is unachievable. In the budget, the oil benchmark, for example, is $38 per barrel. But already the price on the international market is below $38 and the projection is that it would go below $30.

The budget is not realistic and automatically, it will have to ride on credits, debts, loans which would be transferred to another generation-

(Daily Trust, December 26, 2015). See link: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/people-exploited-jonathan-s-simplicity-former-minister-suleiman-olanrewaju-abubakar/126210.html

Looking at the three prophesies, are they not already happening?

Is the exercise to fight corruption made by this Buhari government not ending up a nullity already? The endless scandals rocking the Buhari government is becoming odoriferous as the day goes by.

Is the Buhari government not still blaming Jonathan for its countless failures?

Is the Buhari government not piling debts upon debts for our unborn generations?

Indeed, the PDP needs a man like Professor Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman as its National Publicity Secretary.


Prof Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman is an indigene of Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State. A professor of Political Science & International Relations.

He is the immediate past Minister of National Planning/ Deputy Chairman National Planning Commission between 2014 – 2015 during the administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan GCFR.

He was also the Vice Chairman National Economic Council under the Chairmanship of the former Vice President, Arch Mohammed Namadi Sambo GCON.

He was the Chairman Technical Sub committee of Transition of power from Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari 2015.

He is currently the Publicity Secretary & also doubles as the Acting Secretary, Former Ministers’ Forum.

A member of the Jerry Gana led Strategy Review & Inter-Party Affairs Committee and several other committees to mention but just few.

He has been a renowned public commentator/analyst in the last two decades.

Prof Abubakar Sulaiman has constructively engaged the Buhari Led Government on national and topical issues especially as it affects the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Nigerians at large.

Prof Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman is a courageous, pragmatic, sagacious & a detribalised Nigerian. He is happily married with Children.

At this juncture, and ahead of the December 9, PDP Elective Convention, billed for Abuja, I call on well-meaning PDP Delegates across States of the Federation, to endorse the indefatigable and brilliant Professor Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman for the office of the National Publicity Secretary, NPS.


Ikenna Asomba is a Social Commentator, he wrote from Lagos.

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