Ali Ndume represents Borno South Senatorial District and is Chief Whip in the 10th Senate
Ndume & Seun Okin
On the relocation of some agencies of the FG to Abuja and the apprehension of the Northern elite
Ndume: It’s not just about our Northern colleagues, this is a consensus because we only have one Federal Capital and that is Abuja. All these “Lagos boys_ that are thinking that Lagos is Nigeria are just misinforming or advising the President wrongly.
The Regulators of the financial institutions are supposed to be or are in Abuja. You want them to move because they say Lagos is the commercial capital. These are one of the mistakes and I am sure Mr President will reverse it because it doesn’t work. You can’t have two capitals or is the CBN Governor going to be operating from Lagos or the headquarters of the CBN is in Lagos?
Do you now say majority of our oil is extracted from the South South, you take NNPC to South South or is it because Nigeria’s agricultural base is more in the North, you take the Ministry of Agriculture to anywhere in the North. It doesn’t work that way and that is one of the problems that is cropping up but I am very sure and confident that Mr President will look at this because he is a Nationalist and not just a Lagos man. Some of these people, I repeat, some of these people think Lagos is Nigeria. Lagos is not Nigeria, Lagos is not the headquarters of Nigeria, the headquarters of Nigeria is in Abuja.
Seun Okin: …but the CBN is saying some departments are only moving to Lagos for operational purposes
Ndume: Which operational purposes? Why was the headquarters moved from Lagos to Abuja, is it not because of the same congestion?
Seun Okin: …only some units and departments are moving…
Ndume: If you are talking about proximity and space, why not you take them to Nasarawa, Kogi or Kaduna just nearby so that you can decongest the place and I even don’t see any issue of congestion, because there is just going to be cost because they will also be running from Lagos to Abuja everytime spending more money and even exposing the workers to unnecessary risks. This is a decision that is not well-thought out and I think the President will do something about it, I am confident of that. If that does not happen, of course this is democracy, we know what to do.
Seun Okin: ..and what will that be?
Ndume: That will be when the President refuses to reverse it
Seun Okin: What will be the reaction?
Ndume: The reaction right now is don’t try to bring in the case of tribalism into it. I am not a Hausa or Fulani man but I am a Northerner and I am a Nigerian first. And we say that since the headquarters of Nigeria was moved from Lagos because of congestion and inefficiency to Abuja where it is more Central and more of no man’s land because the Gwaris and Gbagyis are the only people there. We have enough space there, CBN can rent any office or even build from scratch to increase efficiency but moving some departments to Lagos is not the best of ideas at all or even moving any agency for that matter.
Seun Okin: Is there any political undertone or ulterior motive ..?
Ndume: I don’t want to believe there is, because I know the President that much, just that those political cartels that I told you, are in the corridors of power and trying to misinform the President.
The President will take action because he is a man that listens and corrects anything.
Some of them (political cartels) think they know better than everybody but they don’t know anything.
When you don’t know Nigeria, you only know Lagos then you start doing things as if Nigeria is Lagos.
Besides, they are not doing any favour to Mr President because this could have political consequences.
Seun Okin: Really?
Ndume: Yes, I am telling you this and those guys who are just sitting in their offices trying to hang onto Mr President will not be there to amend the political mistakes or even to correct it because they only know their offices and they only know that they have brains. It’s politics.. Was it not politics that brought them to that office in the first place? If Tinubu had not won the election as the President, will the CBN Governor be where he is today?
Who brought Mr President to that office? Was it votes from Lagos that brought him to that office? No way, Lagos is in Nigeria and we will not accept this wrong decision.
Refineries Are Not Created To Reduce Fuel Price– Kyari
Forty eight hours after being summoned by the Senate, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has now appeared before the joint committee on appropriations.
The Senate had issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Wednesday to the NNPCL boss after an observations that he had in previous occasions, shunned summons by the Senate to appear before its ad-committee probing over 11 trillion naira expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
Responding to questions by the senate committee on appropriations on the potential drop in pump price of petroleum owing to the expected functionality of refineries, Kyari clarified his comment after he was interrogated again. He explained that it might be possible to have a reduction, but it is not the main objective of the refineries.
He buttressed that maintaining the energy security target has fostered the confidence that in 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products.
The NNPCL boss affirmed that no subsidy is charged to the federation, adding that the NNPC has contributed 4.45 trillion naira as direct revenue into the federation in a combination of taxes, royalties and dividends and paid 406 billion naira as dividend to Federal Government’s account from July 2023.
According to him, Nigeria does not have credible data for PMS consumption in the country because of the absence of the instrument to measure.
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, had on Wednesday, directed Kyari to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.
Tinubu Should Review RECs Appointment – Ex-INEC Chairman, Jega
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has called on President Bola Tinubu to review the appointments of the commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
Jega said Tinubu should review their appointments due to concerns that some of the RECs are partisan.
About a month ago, Tinubu had nominated 10 RECs, with the Senate confirming their appointments.
However, some of the RECs have been accused of being involved in partisan politics.
Reacting to the criticisms, Jega said the non-review of their appointment sends the wrong signal.
Featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, Jega said: “I think there is no doubt that if the President were listening, my advice would be to immediately review the appointment of the Resident Electoral Commissioners that was passed by the Senate recently.
“It’s very, very important because clearly, not only does it send a wrong signal about the government’s intention to improve the integrity of elections, it also suggests, you know, that there is indifference with regards to protecting the independence and impartiality of the election management body.
“I would want to believe that Mr President was either misinformed or is not really furnished with all the necessary details with regards to these appointments.”