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Withdraw Your Budget Padding Allegation, It’s Careless, Irresponsible – Saraki Tells Tinubu

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President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has challenged the  National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to prove that he has padded the national budgets since   2015.

Former  Lagos State governor Tinubu in a statement on Sunday accused  Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, of padding national budgets since they came to power.

“National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them,” Tinubu claimed in the statement.

“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics, halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.

“He (Saraki) planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate President showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position.”

But in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Monday, Saraki slammed the allegation as “careless, irresponsible and callous”.

The former Kwara State governor challenged Tinubu to prove the allegation or withdraw it.

The statement said, “In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make a specific reference to where  Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly ‘sought to pad with pet projects’ as he alleged.

“Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation. We consider that allegation careless, irresponsible and callous. We, therefore, demand that he withdraw it.”

Olaniyonu described  Tinubu’s statement as “another of his now well-expected quarterly vicious attack” on  Saraki.

He added, “Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations. The statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the 8th  National Assembly and its leadership.

“To further make the points here clear, we invite  Tinubu to look at the records of the time of  the submission of  the budgets and their passage since 2010 and he will see that, with the exception of the 2013 budget, which was passed on December 20, 2012, all the budgets were passed between March and May of the same fiscal year.

“This    should give him a better understanding of the fact that the date the Appropriation Bill is submitted to the parliament and the readiness of the MDAs to defend the proposals submitted as well as a  timely agreement on the figures by both chambers of the National Assembly are the main determining factors when the budget is eventually passed. So, Tinubu should see that the facts cannot support his spins and fake narrative.”

Saraki faulted Tinubu’s criticism of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly, insisting he and other leaders of the upper chamber were democratically elected.

The statement said, “It is because they are the choice of their colleagues that they have remained in office for the past 46 months despite  the plots hatched by anti-democratic, reactionary and fascist elements pretending to be ‘progressives.”

It added, “In fact, Tinubu should know that if there was any mistake made on June 9, 2015, it was the miscalculation by himself and his cabal in the APC who felt they could decide for the senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect. When they failed after their grandstanding that they could always get whatever they desired, they resorted to undermining the institution of the legislature and waging a campaign of calumny against the lawmaking body.”

Saraki’s aide also accused Tinubu of attacking his principal due to his belief that the APC chief frustrated his ambition to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in 2015 as well as his presidential ambition in 2023.

The statement said, “It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process of the emergence of the leadership of the 9th National  Assembly is already falling through. The frustration from this experience might have been responsible for this needless and baseless outbursts.”

It added, “A situation where  Tinubu is dictating to elected legislators and ordering them to either comply with his directives or get out of the party will not augur well for the legislature in the next dispensation. History should have thought him that only leaders that truly enjoy the support of members can help the President and his administration to achieve their objectives.

“It is a good development that the candidates for the various positions are already reaching out to their colleagues and forging alliances. We can see that after he realised that he has misfired, he is trying to retrace his steps.”

Meanwhile, an aspirant to the House Representatives speakership, Mr Mohammed Bago, has urged Tinubu to allow the best aspirant to get the job.

Bago in a statement on Monday by spokesman for the Bago Campaign Organisation, Mr Victor Ogene, said, “Not too long ago, in 2015, when Tinubu tried to foist the same mentee of his as Speaker. In spite of the rational voices of caution by many stakeholders, many have been left wondering if the enforcement effort was at the instance of President Buhari and the party.

“Although a greater portion of the statement centred on his probable scheming for the 2023 presidential election, real or imagined, our concern revolves around the oblique reference to loyalty as the basis for his decision to stand by his adopted (son) as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

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Nnamdi Kanu Still Our Leader, Not Replaced – IPOB

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The Indigenous People of Biafra has said that it has not replaced the currently detained Nnamdi Kanu as its leader.

The Biafra group asked its followers to ignore the reports making the rounds that IPOB has replaced Kanu, describing it as “fabricated media propaganda”.

These were made known in a statement by the group’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Tuesday.

According to Powerful, Mazi Chika Edoziem is the head of the IPOB Directorate of State and not IPOB Acting Leader.

The statement read in part, “We, the global movement and family of IPOB under the command and leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, condemn the useless and fabricated media propaganda and blackmail from some media houses that IPOB has another or acting leader replacing our indefatigable liberator and prophet Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“Those peddling this kind of lies are those criminals who zoo gutter media are publishing this to confuse the weak-minded people.

“We want everybody to bear in mind that Mazi Chika Edoziem is the head of IPOB Directorate of State and not IPOB Acting Leader.

“The said statement was the handiwork of mischievous elements bent on causing confusion in IPOB.

“It is unfortunate that some mischievous elements twisted an unambiguous statement by IPOB where we clarified that in the meantime that our Leader is in detention, the Head of DOS, Mazi Edoziem, will be providing direction on the day-to-day activities of IPOB. We never said that Edoziem had become the Acting Leader of IPOB.

“For the avoidance of doubts, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu remains the leader of IPOB. The entire IPOB family all over the world is loyal to him. IPOB has no Acting Leader. Chika Edoziem is only the Head of DOS of IPOB not the Leader.

“We, therefore, urge our family members, supporters, friends, and members of the public to ignore the misleading and mischievous media report.”

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Terrorists Responsible for Owo Church Massacre in Our Custody – General Irabor

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Eric Elezuo

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has said that the military has arrested the terrorists behind the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State.

General Lucky Irabor according to news monitored on SolaceBase, made the revelation on Tuesday, during a parley with media executives at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

Appreciating the collaboration with sister security agencies, which helped in the arrests of the criminals, Irabor recalled that about 40 person’s were brutally murdered when heavily armed men invaded their worship centre on June 5, 2022.

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My Invitation to Rivers to Commission Projects Demonstration of Politics Without Bitterness – Sanwo-Olu

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By Eric Elezuo

The Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that his invitation by the Rivers State governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, to commission a project in Rivers State, is a clear demonstration of politics without bitterness. This is noting that the Lagos State governor is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while Wike is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (APC).

On Monday, Sanwo-Olu was a guest of the Rives governor to commission the Orochiri-Worokwu (Waterlines) Flyover delivered by the state government.

In his remarks, Sanwo-Olu commended Governor Wike for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State.

“I would like to specially commend my brother, Governor Wike, for his strong commitment to the delivery of physical infrastructure in Rivers State.

“A commitment that has been recognized by all and sundry, and which has earned him the appellation of “Mr. Projects” within and outside Rivers State,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said though himself and governor Wike belong to different political persuasions, the invitation extended to him sends a very strong message that politicians and political leaders, can come together across political and ideological divides, for the good of the people.

“There is also a strong message being made today about expanding our capacity to play politics without bitterness. This symbolic gesture by my friend and brother is one that should become standard practice across Nigeria.

“There is also a lot that we can learn from one another, and experience that we can translate from one part of the country to the other,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

It will recalled that Wike is in the habit of inviting notable politicians across parties as guests of honour during the unveiling of any of his projects. The likes of governor of Ekiti State, who is also an APC member and Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare were once invited to commission projects in the state.

Governor Wike had explained that the invitation of the Lagos State governor was not the first time persons of other political parties were invited to inaugurate projects in Rivers State, pointing to the overall benefits such invitations have on governance because it served as peer review for them.

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