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Shettima’s aide replies Peter Obi over N15b planned renovation of VP’s residence

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The political scene has been ignited recently as the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, accused the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of lavish spending and misplaced priorities. 

As reported earlier, Obi’s remarks centred on alleged financial excesses and mismanagement. This has been met with a response from the administration, setting off a heated exchange of allegations and counterclaims.

Vice President Kashim Shettima has responded to recent criticisms from Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 elections.

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Stanley Nkwocha, the spokesman for Vice President Shettima, addressed Obi’s remarks, defending the administration’s decision to spend N15 billion to renovate Shettima’s residences in Lagos and Abuja.

It should be mentioned that Obi had questioned why the government planned to spend a lot on renovating the edifices while budgeting a paltry N5 billion for student loans in the country.

In his statement released on behalf of Vice President Shettima, Nkwocha responded to Obi’s comments in what he termed as a series of misguided attacks and falsehoods directed at the administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

He pointed out that the project was initiated and funded during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and was later renewed by the current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, due to its long-standing abandonment.

The spokesman defended the decision to resume the project, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to completing long-abandoned public projects across the nation, a stance he suggested was in contrast to Obi’s past directives as governor of Anambra State.

Nkwocha also disputed Obi’s comparison between the allocated budget for the Vice President’s residence and salaries paid to university professors, asserting that the administration prioritizes the welfare of educators and educational infrastructure despite challenging economic conditions.

Nkwocha further accused Obi of post-election trauma and divisive rhetoric, urging him and others in opposition to accept defeat gracefully and prioritize Nigeria’s interests.

The statement continued, noting, “There is no other context to situate Obi’s sermon about waste other than the fact that he has refused to swallow the bitter pills of reality. ”

“It is pitiful that since he was mercilessly defeated by President Tinubu, he and his army of social media cohorts have continued to brazenly unleash a campaign of calumny against the President and now, his administration.”

“But despite Obi’s divisive rhetoric, Nigerians have since put a final seal on religious and ethnic politicking so that the country can move forward against the wish of certain persons in the mould of Obi, who have continued to fan the embers of division and falsehood just to create tension and spurn vexatious narratives in the polity.”

“Still labouring under post-election trauma, the Labour Party candidate and his ilk are bent on pulling down the Tinubu administration at all cost,” the statement noted. 

“We advise him and his fellow travellers in the opposition to accept defeat honourably, and put the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians first as patriotic citizens they claim to be.”

The exchange between Peter Obi and the Tinubu administration has stirred controversy within political circles, drawing attention to the contrasting viewpoints on governance, financial prudence, and the nation’s direction.

Peter Obi raises alarm over plans to renovate Vice President’s House with N15bn

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, has raised an alarm over what he regarded as a waste of resources by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Obi on Monday on his X handle(formerly Twitter) wrote that the proposed N20.5bn to renovate the house of the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, would pay the annual salary of 3000 professors in a Nigerian university which is about N400,000 per month and about N5m a year.

As reported earlier, Peter Obi had criticized the administration for the large number of delegates it reportedly sponsored to Dubai for COP28 as wasteful and criticized the government for proposing over N15bn in renovation and building of a new office space for the Vice President.

‘‘I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation, in these critical times. The recent news about a budget provision of N15 billion for constructing a new residence for the Vice President is shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation. Just recently in the Supplementary Budget, the sum of N2.5 billion was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence,’’ Obi noted.

‘’Again, during the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3 billion was allocated for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Lagos. If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5 billion for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people are falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from. Our health facilities have collapsed, and unemployment is skyrocketing.’’ 

Obi also noted that ‘‘the budget of N5 billion for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home. We are projecting to use four times the amount for educating ALL Nigerian indigent students to house the Vice President, and we are being told there is nothing wrong with us. I am sure the major teaching hospitals in Nsukka, Lagos, Ibadan, and Zaria did not receive this much capital vote in the budget this year. We have had leaders that were exemplary in the past.’’

In conclusion, he noted, ‘‘We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria.’’

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