Revelations by the Kaduna state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, indicate that the former president Goodluck Jonathan spent about N64 billion on independence anniversaries between 2011 and 2014.

El-Rufai

El-Rufai, who hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for ‘reluctantly’ approving N70m for the Independence Day anniversary, also noted in a Facebook post on Thursday that under Jonathan the federal government spent billions every year on Independence Day.

“This is the APC/PMB change we voted for. Independence anniversary expenditure for the past five years: 2011 – N13bn; 2012 -N15bn; 2013 – N14bn; 2014 – N22bn; 2015 -N70m,” he commented.

The Punch reports that in the spirit of the country’s independence celebration, el Rufai urged the people of Kaduna not to lose hope, stating that Nigeria is yet to be in its rightful place but can achieve great things with purposeful leadership.

He said: “On this occasion, the Kaduna State government decided to extend mercy to prisoners. Pursuant to Section 212 of the constitution, the prerogative of mercy was exercised in favour of 14 prisoners.

“The government commuted the death sentences of five convicts, who will now serve prison time. Five prisoners serving sentences of three years and above were released on the basis of good behaviour or time served already.

“In addition, three prisoners were released on the basis on age while one person was released due to ill health. In doing our duty to show mercy, the government warns that it will not tolerate crime and threats to security.”

“We can celebrate because 2015 is the year that the people of this country decided it was time to begin the rebirth of a nation. Against the most concerted campaign ever mounted by a government to divide the people it was meant to lead, Nigerians refused to be set against one another.

“I pay tribute to the many sacrifices that were made to make the historic elections of this year possible. What the voters of 2015 did was to make democracy a bulwark of patriotism. In other words, the people cast their votes for their country. May we never again be saddled with people who (rated) themselves above the country.”

This report is comes on the heels of reports suggesting that el Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, is conniving with the former Lagos governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to frustrate the embattled Senate president, Bukola Saraki., who is presently on trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.