The planned final consideration and passage of N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request suffered another setback, on Wednesday.
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari had, in December 2022, forwarded the request to the Senate and House of Representatives for expeditious consideration.
The Senate, however, adjourned to February 28 without its passage.
The inability of the chamber to pass the request could put the country at risk of incurring additional N1.8 trillion debt as Buhari warned three weeks earlier, when he assented to the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget.
The request was neither listed on the order paper used for plenary, nor mentioned by the Senate Leader, who is the chairman of the special committee set up for that purpose.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had on Tuesday, last week, declared that the chamber was ready to approve the request, provided required details of spendings were made available by Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, and Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
He said but for restructuring of N22.7 trillion Ways and Means request, the Senate, and by extension, the House of Representatives, would have adjourned plenary on Thursday, last week, till after the Presidential and National Assembly election.
“We must have necessary information for passage of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request, as time is not on our side in the Senate now, in view of coming general elections.
“If there was need for the Senate to sit up till Friday (last week) for thorough consideration and passage of the request, it would have been done. But the affected officials from the executive must also expedite action on provision of required information, as regards documents authorising approval and disbursement of the money totalling N22.7trillion,” he had said.
Tinubu calls for calm on naira notes, fuel scarcity
By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Candidate, Chief Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to be calm co learning the scarcity of the new naira note.
He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN not to be “dogmatic” in the deadline fixed for the old Naira notes to stop being legal tender.
In a press statement signed by the APC Presidential Campaign Council Director of Media & Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu said, the masses are the ones suffering from the unintended consequence of the CBN demonetisation policy.
While appealing to Nigerians to stay calm, the APC Presidential Candidate further urged citizens to Nigerians to shun all acts that may destabilise the country in the face of the new naira and fuel scarcity that the country is facing.
He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the fuel supply relief being enjoyed in the Federal Capital Territory and urged the company to step up its act to bring relief round the country.
The APC Presidential Candidate promised to unite the country and improve the economy and security if elected.
“This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.
“I empathise with Nigerians across the country especially the poor masses who have been made to bear the brunt and pains of the CBN Naira policy and fuel scarcity the most.
“While government continues to work to solve these problems, let’s stay calm, maintain the peace and continue to shun and avoid any act capable of causing civil unrest and disharmony.
“What the opposition and enemies of democracy want is to create a state of national siege and tension that can disrupt the coming general elections and create an atmosphere of strife in our country.
“We must say no to them. We must be resolute and stand firm to protect our democracy by ensuring we hold our elections in a peaceful and orderly manner.
“I am in this race to bring renewed hope and prosperity to all Nigerians.
“There are no challenges that will be difficult for us as a people to surmount when we stand in unity of purpose.
“When you elect me, I will work to ensure security, economic prosperity, national unity and cohesion and we will together build a country that will be a source of joy to us all and a pride to every black person everywhere in the world,” Tinubu said.
Politicians enticing LP members with millions, says Utomi
A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday said that politicians in some political parties were enticing officials of the Labour Party with millions of Naira to facilitate their defection before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.
While blaming politicians for the challenges confronting Nigeria, he said that the country had failed to build real political parties.
Utomi, convener of The Big-Tent, a coalition of political parties, social movements, and civil society organisations, in support of the presidential ambition of Peter Obi, stated these during the unveiling of the Independent Campaign Council Secretariat of TBT.
According to him, Nigerian youths that were tired of the terrible state of the country, discovered Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, adding that the LP would focus on improving the life of ordinary Nigerians, rather than serving the selfish interest of a few powerful elites.
“The focus of power over purpose has led to transactions of nature where people don’t seem to matter.
“As we speak, right now, some of those political parties have been paying millions and millions to Labour Party officials to decamp and join them. But they still forget that what we need is a new Nigeria that our children can live in happily without insecurity,” he stated.
While accusing the All Progressives Congress of lacking ideology, Utomi said the party appeared to have only set out to grab power.
He assured that if elected, Obi would move Nigeria from a consuming nation to producing nation.
Utomi said, “Our country needs to be renewed. It is easy to blame anybody for the problems of Nigeria, but it’s time to forge ahead, look ahead and forget yesterday. The naked truth is that yesterday has been costly, extremely costly.
“The country that was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers was a great country of promise. I am fond of reminding people of 1960.
“Obi talks all the time about going from consumption to production. But we started in 1960 with production.
“I like to remind people all the time that our founding fathers looked at their endowments and realized that the main reason Nigeria was colonized was the extraction of raw materials to move to Europe. But the colonialists did not bother or try at all to industrialise Nigeria.
“Indeed, at the time of self-government, there were technically two factories in Nigeria.
“However, the pace with which the young men and women who began to take charge in 1956/57 and the speed with which they moved us to production was unbelievable. I believe we can still achieve the same form of transition.
“Central to the challenge of development that we have is our failure to build real political parties. I believe, that was the beginning of the founding of the APC.
“In the founding of the APC, they focused on grabbing power over purpose which prevented a real political party from emerging and we’ve seen the damages that’s done to Nigeria.”
Nobody Will Get Buhari’s 1.9m Kano Votes Of 2015 – LP’s Baba-Ahmed
The vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said the over 1.9 million votes President Muhammadu Buhari got in Kano State during the 2015 presidential election will not be won by any one candidate in the forthcoming election.
With 1,903,999 votes, Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan who had 215,779 votes in the North’s most populous state.
“The northern Nigerian votes that were waiting to make up the difference which either of the two other runners-up were hoping to get, [it] turned out that they are not getting it,” Baba-Ahmed said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s special election programme The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday.
“The heavy punchers – Kano, for example – is now a watershed of what its votes used to be. In 2015, the 1.9 million votes of Kano, nobody can aspire to have that which of course Buhari punched Jonathan with the final blow. Nobody is going to get that in Kano.”
The LP vice presidential candidate argued that other battle zones in the North are Kaduna and Katsina.
Other factors he believed were working in his party’s favour include the rise of the youth in his home state of Kaduna, the increasing awareness of uniting Nigeria, and the non-indigenes all over Northern and Central Kaduna.
“We have pulled a lot of weight beyond the comprehension of the two runners-up,” he added.
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