National conference: Akinyemi blasts SGF for calling delegates boys

A former Minister of External Affairs and Vice Chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has criticised the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, for referring to delegates at the conference as boys.

Akinyemi also faulted the claim by the SGF in an interview published on Monday that delegates to the conference were paid N7m.

“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,” Akinyemi said in a statement “on the intemperate language” used by the SGF in the interview.
Akinyemi expressed disappointment that the SGF referred to delegates at the conference including traditional rulers and scholars who had served the country excellently as boys.

He said, “He (SGF) 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.”

On the claim by the SGF that everybody in the conference committee got N7m, Akinyemi said the SGF could simply have gotten the facts from his office.

“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 N7m per member. You do not have to depend on rumours or “dem say”,” he said.

He stressed that it was up to the government to implement the resolutions of the conference, saying, “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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