FG hits Obaseki, warns against playing politics with sensitive issues
The minister of information and national orientation, Mohammed Idris, has hit back at the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki over his criticism of the Federal Government.
Idris told Obaseki that leaders at all levels are expected to cooperatively bind together to make life better for Nigerians and not to play cheap politics that serve no better purpose.
The newly-appointed minister of information said this in his reply to a statement credited to Obaseki which was used as the lead front-page story in Thisday Newspaper of today (Thursday, August 24, 2023) with Idris also saying that it did not come to anyone as a surprise.
Obaseki had lashed out at the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying he was shocked and scared of the government’s inability to plan and effectively respond to the fuel subsidy removal that further impoverished Nigerians, inflicting hardship and suffering on the people.
“However, it is essential to clarify certain narratives for a more informed public discourse,” Idris wrote.
“Governor Obaseki has, in recent times, shifted focus to the nation’s economic challenges as cannon fodder to divert attention from his poor performance at the state level since his move to the Peoples Democratic Party.
“While it is common for leaders to have divergent views, it’s crucial to align criticism with reality and to premise discourse on tangible results.
“Governor Obaseki’s comments regarding the APC-led Federal Government’s decisions on fuel subsidy and foreign exchange market reforms perhaps overlooked the broader economic picture.
“It’s well documented that Nigerians, State Governors across party lines, and global institutions—including the World Bank and IMF—along with various economic experts, have consistently advocated for the removal of fuel subsidy because of the fiscal distortions and burden it has placed on the economy.”
Idris said this burden includes many months of zero accretion to the Federation account by the NNPC which left states and local governments with less money from FAAC, as a result of payment for fuel subsidy, which the national oil company regularly charged to the Federation account.
He added that for perspective, Edo State, under Governor Obaseki’s leadership, has notably benefited from the fuel subsidy removal, which is evident in the more than doubling of the FAAC allocation between June and July 2023 to Edo State – more than it had ever received pre-fuel subsidy removal.
Idris advised that rather than delving into narratives that do not provide the complete picture, the focus should be on how the Edo State Government will be using available resources to drive impactful projects that genuinely uplift the people of Edo State.
“We want to clearly state that Edo State, alongside other 35 States plus FCT, can access more FAAC revenue, due only to the bold and courageous economic decisions taken by President Bola Tinubu since he assumed office,” he said.
“These decisions have been applauded across the globe because they are the decisions that need to be taken to reposition the national economy for better output.”
The minister of information said that the federal government is not aware of what could be the trigger for Obaseki’s alleged false accusations against the Federal Government.
He said this is because constitutionally, Obaseki is a member of the National Economic Council (NEC) where far-reaching decisions were taken on the issues he talked about, in his media address by his colleagues, while sitting in Council with the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima.
“Even as Governor Obaseki will have an explanation to make to the people of his state on why he was absent at the two NEC meetings under the current administration, we will like to inform him that his colleagues praised President Tinubu for finding the courage to remove the ghost of fuel subsidy which crippled the finances of the 3 tiers of government for decades,” he stated.
Idris added that it would be helpful if Obaseki participated in these meetings to provide insights and align with the collective vision of making Nigeria better for all citizens.
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