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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

You are wrong Says Ex Foreign Affairs Minister Prof Bolaji Akinyemi to Sec to Fed Govt

..condemns SGF crude language 

By Paul Ukpabio

Ex Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Bolaji Akinyemi is angry. Yesterday, he took on the current Secretary to the Federal Government Engr. Babachir David Lawal and told him that he is simply rude, crude and offensive. He also went further to add that, it is unbecoming of the Secretary of the Federal Government's high office of state which he Engr Lawal occupies, by virtue of the intemperate language he used recently on a convergence of elder statesmen who have paid their dues in several ways in the country through service, of which he the Professor, was the Deputy Chairman.

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi expressed his dis-pleasure, in a press release which he circulated to counter the Secretary of Government's earlier interview used in some Nigerian newspapers. 

According to Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, the literary face off became necessary when on June 17 Engr. Babachir David Lawal (the Secretary to the Federal Government) took members of the 2014 National Conference to the cleaners in an interview published in different Nigerian newspapers. The said interview which described the erstwhile members of the 2014 National Conference as mere 'boys.' brought out the literary anger and poetic ire of the polished and usually calm ex Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In his words, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi stated that:

"I have no quarrel with the SGF reiterating the opposition of Government to the 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE. But I find the language in which his views are couched to be crude, rude, offensive and unbecoming of the high office of state he occupies.

Prof Bolaji Akinyemi
He referred to the delegates as “boys”, BOYS!!!!!!!!!! Among the delegates are 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, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, Various judges of the High Courts, BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!! 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 etc. etc. etc. Presiding was a former Chief Justice of Nigeria and a former Minister of External Affairs. 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. 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 Bolaji Akinyemi also went further to recall how in the same interview Engr Lawal had erroneously mentioned that members of the 2014 National Conference had collected N7m as payment for attending the conference. Said he: 

"Come on Mr. SGF. Grow up. 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 member. 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."

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