Former statistician-general of the federation, Yemi Kale, has stated that he “never said” he was under pressure to publish misleading data on the Nigerian economy.
According to TheCable, Kale made the clarification on Wednesday in reaction to claims that he had said he fought off pressure to fabricate inaccurate data while he was held the office.
Speaking during an interview on The Morning Show on Arise TV, the former Statistician-General of the Federation was asked how he responded to attacks and criticism from government officials when data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) did not favour the government.
Kale said: “I’m extremely stubborn which a few of my friends have said is a good requirement for the job. But on a serious note, when I started this job, I remember mentioning to my key staff that if I am going to do this job right, I must be ready to be fired at a moment’s notice.
“If you go to my previous office, I never really settled down properly because I expected that anytime, I could be removed. And that was the price I was prepared to pay for trying to do the job properly.
“I had to convince myself that it is just a job. I’m serving my country and I will serve it correctly and I’m ready to lose my job for doing the right things. I am not ready to keep my job for doing the wrong things.
“Once I convinced myself that that’s the way it was going to go, I didn’t particularly care about any political attacks or any opinions.
“All I did was to ensure that we followed the correct methodology. Before the report came out, I was very hands-on because I knew that if anyone found any mistakes, they can use that against me. I would check every single thing to ensure that things are done properly. Once I’m very confident about it, it goes out.
“In terms of political interference, I don’t think it is new to Nigeria. I remember even in the US, the former President Trump would always agree with the good data, and say the ones he didn’t like, he didn’t believe they were correct.
“So I wasn’t fazed by different comments made by different people that did not agree. We are supposed to publish data that is correct and accurate in line with what comes out on the field and that’s exactly what we focused on.”
Kale stated that there was never a time during the interview did he make the comment on data falsification that is being attributed to him.
“It has come to our attention that a publication is quoting Dr. Yemi Kale wrongly, this is fake news and should be ignored. We have confirmed that the former Statistician-General (Kale) never made this statement, the general public should take note,” a statement made available to TheCable reads.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 26 approved the appointment of Simon B. Harry to replace Kale as the new statistician-general of the federation to head the NBS.
Kale’s second term tenure of five years ended on August 16, 2021.