Nigeria: Presidency, Obi Differ On Federal Govt’s Spending, Hardship

As the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election, Peter Obi, picked holes in the economic policies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidency has said the current hardship faced by Nigerians was not caused by the new administration.

Obi, who appraised the Tinubu government yesterday, challenged the federal government to come clean on the bankruptcy comment, saying government spending does not suggest it inherited a bad economy from the previous government.

To this end, Obi said the Tinubu government should make full disclosure of what it inherited from the previous government.

Obi said in a series of tweets on his X handle on Thursday that the alarm also contradicts the spending behaviour of the government as contained in their supplementary budget just signed into law by the President and the bloated size of the government.

“I just read yesterday a widely publicized story from the present APC-led federal government saying that they inherited a bankrupt nation from the former APC administration.

“But then the story failed to disclose what they actually inherited which qualified us for bankruptcy status,” a statement issued by his personal assistant, Michael Jude Nwolisa, said.

Obi noted that one major characteristic expected of the new Nigeria he preached was a transparent system of disclosure; for example, what is inherited should be disclosed to enable the public to know where the country was headed.

The LP standard beer recalled that the previous APC government made a similar claim in 2015 against the PDP administration that handed over to it without telling the nation what it actually inherited.

He said: “Rather, according to official records, they took our debt profile from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023 when it left office without improving on any indices of development: Education, Health, Poverty eradication, and Security. Instead, every aspect of the development index got worse.”

Obi further noted that the alarm raised by the government, questions the rationale behind some expenditure profiles of the government so far, especially some items contained in the supplementary budget just signed into law by the president.

“It also goes to buttress the argument I have held since the electioneering time – that the cost of governance must be drastically reduced.

“A bankrupt country should channel every available resource into funding critical development sectors like security, healthcare, education, and eradication of poverty by addressing youth unemployment, not spending on non-focal areas,” he said.

On behalf of the Presidency, the national security adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, yesterday joined the growing calls for Nigerians to exercise patience while waiting for the dividends of democracy under the current administration.

He maintained that President Bola Tinubu inherited the problems he is trying to fix in the country.

Ribadu expressed optimism that a new era would soon evolve with some far-reaching measures taken by the President Tinubu-led federal government to tackle the security challenges and other socio -economic challenges confronting the country.

“The reality is that the present administration inherited tough times”, he said, adding that what the country needs is the cooperation of all to ensure the federal government eliminates all forms of insecurity in the country.

Ribadu, made this appeal at the ongoing 19th Annual Nigerian Editors Conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, with the theme ; ‘Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media.’

Noting that there had been a lot of improvement in the security situation of the nation, he stressed that all hands must be on deck to surmount the problem.

He said: “We inherited a tough period. We appeal for patience and understanding. It’s tough times and that is the reality. It requires all of us to come together. We are all in it together, it is not going to be for too long. In a matter of time, it will be better.”

He disclosed that the insecurity in the South East had also been reduced since this administration came on board, appealing that it will get better.

“Let me start with the Niger Delta, at the time we took over, the production of crude oil was 1.1 mbd. Today crude oil production is over 1.7 mbd.

“We have witnessed three weeks without any incident of security challenge in the Niger Delta. This is the first time since 1993.

“In the South East, when we took over last year we had 46 police stations attacked, today we don’t have a single one. In the last two months, not a single person had been killed through violent attacks in the south east, we don’t talk. The leadership we have in our country does understand things a bit better. Work more, talk less.”

Ribadu described the present administration as the most transparent government ever in the history of Nigeria.


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