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Shettima replies Peter Obi over criticism of N15bn contract for VP Residence upgrade

“You have been dancing nak3d in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen” – Shettima replies Peter Obi over criticism of N15bn contract for VP Residence upgrade

Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima has responded to comments made by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election, Mr Peter Obi, over the proposed N15.5 billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to construct a new official residence for the VP.

FCT Minister, Nysom Wike, had recently revealed that the government planned to use the funds for a “befitting residence” for the nation’s Vice President, to which Obi criticised in a series of tweets on his X handle on Monday, calling it “shocking and disheartening.” read here

Reacting to the criticism, Shettima on Tuesday, December 5, in a release issued by his media aide, Stanley Nkwocha, accused Obi of dancing “naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste.”

“For good 24 hours, Obi danced naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste.

“On Sunday, he accused the current administration of sponsoring over 1,400 delegates to Dubai for COP28. The next day, being Monday, the subject of his new found passion – armchair criticism – after his colossal loss at the presidential poll was the proposed N15.5billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to renovate the house of the Vice President, which he claimed would pay the annual salary of 3,000 University Professors.”

Shettima clarified that the proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence, for which budgetary allocation was made in the 2024 budget by the FCT Administration, was awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“It was not originated by the present administration. This, Mr Obi, knows but chose to play dumb all in a bid to inflamate a targeted group of Nigerians and, as usual, score cheap political goals, accolades and praises.

“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered to gratify Peter Obi with a response, especially when it is obvious that the Labour Party candidate is an unhealthy subject to post-election trauma. But it has become necessary to put the records straight.

“In his recent tirade against President Tinubu and his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, Obi started another series of self-aggrandizement aimed at convincing Nigerians that he is the only person who has their interest at heart. But a clear shift of the veil will reveal deeply a man who is still sobbing after his woeful loss in the 2023 presidential election.

“For the records, unlike the ‘most brilliant, all knowing and Nigeria’s mirific but never-had President,’ Mr Peter Obi, both President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, have never claimed to know it all or exhibit anything close to perfection in their dealings. If anything, they have always submitted to their human nature, leaving perfection to the Almighty God only.

“The project which was reinitiated in 2010 and was funded by the Jonathan administration was abandoned. Appalled by the sorry state of the uncompleted building that was now overtaken by weeds and reptiles over a decade after construction started about 13 years ago, the current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, felt it would be a waste to allow such a project started with public funds to continue to lie fallow; thus, in his wisdom and without the prompting of the Vice President, decided to resuscitate the building.

“We invite more cerebral Nigerians to crosscheck properly which should be considered a waste between Obi’s tantrums because the project has attracted government’s attention, given the decision by the current administration to complete vital abandoned projects.

“What is more wasteful and reckless than abandoning an edifice to rot and depreciate despite the amount that has been sunk into it over the years?

“We recall that while Obi was governor of Anambra State, he had insisted that contractors should return to site to complete abandoned projects, which he then never considered as a waste. If he did this while deploying ‘entailed wisdom and leadership’ to Ndi Anambra as a governor, the question now is: why should the same action by the Tinubu administration now be termed blue murder?

“Nigerians know that the issue of a befitting residence for the Vice President had been a recurring decimal in the budget of Nigeria since 2007. It did not start today, same for residences of the Senate President and the Speaker.

“The array of abandoned Federal Government projects littered all over the country is a national embarrassment that the current administration has taken a bold step to save the country from. This is why it has made it a priority that all abandoned projects must be completed before new ones are initiated, save for some on exceptional basis, either because of the need for strategic alignment or economic significance.

“Comparing the amount budgeted for the residence of the VP and salaries paid to Professors is an analogy taken too far. This is the only government that has repeatedly made it clear that the welfare of lecturers is paramount and the need to increase the budget of the educational sector is a gradual process in the face of the daunting security challenges it met on ground. This same government directed that the backlog of salaries owed both teaching and non-teaching staff of universities be paid immediately despite the ‘no work, no pay’ order, while negotiations for their welfare continue in view of a wage package in 2024.

“The introduction of a student’s loan scheme is also a masterstroke that is targeted at ensuring that nobody, no matter his/her status, will be denied the right to quality education.

“Taking into cognisance the recent inflation rate, which has become a global phenomenon that Nigeria is not immune to, budgetary provisions are estimates aimed at advancing monies to complete projects that have bearings on the lives of the people. That the amount budgeted for various sectors are deemed to be on the high side is not unconnected with inflationary trends as being witnessed the world over. And since Mr Obi has qualms with this, he may as well explain to Nigerians why despite being a self acclaimed billionaire he and his likes continue importing all manner of junks, including toothpicks to sell to Nigerians all in a bid for his NEXT business empire to flourish at the detriment of our foreign exchange and economy.

“Curiously, it is under the Tinubu administration that Obi has suddenly ‘become a man,’ with a shrill voice in the opposition camp.

“His claim about Nigerians needing leaders willing to make sacrifices for the nation’s development smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order.

“It appears the former Anambra State governor has forgotten so soon reports about the plethora of contracts he awarded in the twilight of his administration, including road contracts worth over N30 billion he awarded within a record period of three weeks.

“Nigerians have also not forgotten the investigation by the global International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)-led Pandora Papers project which linked Obi to a number of secret business deals and relationships that he kept top secret, including businesses he surreptitiously set up and operated overseas.

“He later admitted that he did not declare these companies and the funds because he wasn’t aware that he was expected to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else as provided by the law.

“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 mold of Obi who have continued to fan the embers of division and falsehood just to create tension and spurn vexatious narratives in the polity.

“President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima have left no stone unturned since they assumed office in the bid to wriggle the country out of the economic and social morass it had been enmeshed in.

“Under their watch, within a period of seven months, Nigeria’s foreign policy process and international relations have been reinforced with commendable results. They have turned themselves into marketers-in-chief to attract direct foreign investments, all in a bid to turn around the nation’s economic fortune for good. But the likes of Obi have not for once applauded these efforts.

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

“Nigerians are not so gullible to be hoodwinked by statements that fly in the face of common sense. Our candid advice for him is that he should join hands with the current administration in nation building instead of all these red herrings he is throwing around.

“The Vice President is a very busy man. He has committed himself to serving Nigeria and helping President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to achieving his set goals and objectives. As his work attitude and skills speak to, Senator Kashim Shettima is a very serious-minded leader. He is not into dubious or phony politics of statistics manipulation or mind games. Leadership, to him, is a serious business and not a circus show!”

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