Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s new book, “Fighting corruption is dangerous”, is making waves in the polity especially with the 2019 political season upon us.
The former finance minister said in her book that after getting an offer from former President Goodluck Jonathan to serve in his government, she received a “friendly advise” from a former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke.
According to her, the ex-governor advised her to reject the appointment as it would give “Jonathan and his government credibility” which the president allegedly did not deserve. She accused Duke of claiming that if she turned down the appointment, the “administration would be weak and would likely not succeed.”
In a statement shared on social media on Wednesday, Duke responded to Okonjo-Iweala’s claims in four points –
- He confirmed that the meeting really took place: “It is true I met with Ngozi when the rumors were swirling about her being considered for appointment,” he said. He said he met her because they were friends, and since she had been “literally dismissed from an earlier appointment as finance minister, I urged caution.”
- She lied about the details of the meeting: Duke said he never made mention of “adding or subtracting credibility to anyone or government. It was ‘two friends’ discussing careers. It ended there and she subsequently made her choice which I respected.”
- She ought not to have relayed the details of the chat: The former governor stated that Okonjo-Iweala’s reporting of a private conversation “in whatever self laundering attempt she may be up to” was “in poor tase and demeaning”.
- He was vindicated: “With hindsight, I was vindicated, Ngozi, as Minister of Finance and Economy, despite massive revenue receipts, left Nigeria poorer than she met it,” he said.
Duke has signified interest to vie for the presidency in 2019. He is a member of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria movement.