You Got It All Wrong, ‘No Governor Got N30bn’ – Makinde Chides Akpabio

  • Says food crisis comments untrue
  • As CSOs protest economic hardship in Osun

BY VICTOR BUORO – Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has chided Senate President Godswill Akpabio for getting it all wrong in his claims that States got extra N30 billion each besides their statutory revenue allocations to address food insecurity in the country.

Openly declaring Akpabio’s claims as totally untrue, Governor Makinde said Oyo State did not get any N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) or the Federal Government.

The governor, who spoke on Thursday while commissioning the newly-renovated multi-billion Naira Iseyin Central Mosque facilitated by legal icon, Ahmed Raji (SAN) in Iseyin, Oyo State, warned that leaders should instill confidence and hope in the citizenry in this trying time rather than playing the blame game.

And giving assurance that his administration is doing everything to cushion the effect of the economic hardship on Oyo people, Governor Makinde maintained that apart from him not getting N30 billion from any agency or department of the Federal Government, he could say the same for his colleague-governors as vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

He accused Senator Akpabio of relying on unverified reports, stressing that states cannot access funds from the FIRS since all revenues accrue to the Federation Account and belong to the three tiers of government, the Federal, states, and local governments.

“I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening. If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide.

“FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The FG does not give states money. The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government.

“So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the Number Three Citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it? Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land?

“Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion, and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now.

“We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them”.

Specifically on his administration’s efforts at positively impacting the lives of Oyo people, the Governor; “This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit.

“We have health insurance for our people, we give farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God.

“For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months. Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage.

“Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time. This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions.

Economic Hardship: CSOs Protest In Osun

Amid the troubling economic situation in the country, a coalition of civil societies (CSOs) in Osun State on Thursday stormed the streets of Osogbo, the state capital protesting against hardship in the country.

Converging at the popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo around 7:30 am despite the early morning rain in town, members of the coalition engaged in a peaceful protest moving through Old Garage, to MDS through Olaiya where it addressed residents and participants.

According to the Coalition’s Chairman, Mr Waheed Lawal; “This is just awareness for the protest that will come up on Monday. We are mobilising to the streets to make those in government realise that Nigerians are dying of hunger.”

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