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President Buhari Presents N16.39trn Budget for 2022

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday presented a total budget of N16.39 trillion for the year 2022 to the National Assembly.

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the National Assembly is committed to passing the budget before the end of year.

He also lauded the 2021 budget for being the first to be fully implemented.

According to him, that feat helped the country recover from the 2020 economic recession.

Read President Buhari’s full speech here:

2022 BUDGET SPEECH

Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability

Delivered By:

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja

Thursday, October 7, 2021

PROTOCOLS

1. It is my great pleasure to be here once again to present the 2022 Federal Budget Proposals to this distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly.

2. Distinguished and Honourable leaders, and members of the National Assembly, let me start by commending you for the expeditious consideration and passage of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2021. This further underscores your commitment to our collective efforts to contain the COVID-19 Pandemic and address the various security challenges facing our country.

3. I will also take this opportunity to thank you for the quick consideration and approval of the 2022-2024 Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. Our hope is that National Assembly will continue to partner with the Executive by ensuring that deliberations on the 2022 Budget are completed before the end of this year so that the Appropriation Act can come into effect by the first of January 2022.

4. The 2022 Budget will be the last full year budget to be implemented by this administration. We designed it to build on the achievements of previous budgets and to deliver on our goals and aspirations as will be reflected in our soon-to-be launched National Development Plan of 2021 to 2025.

5. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, in normal times, I make use of this opportunity to provide an overview of global and domestic developments in the current year, a summary of our achievements, and our plans for the next fiscal year.

6. However, these are exceptional times. The grim realities of COVID-19 and its lethal variants are still upon us. From President to Pauper, the virus does not discriminate.

7. This is why our country still maintains its COVID -19 guidelines and protocols in place to protect its citizens and stop the spread of this disease.

8. Over the past few days, we have consulted with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the leadership of the National Assembly on how best to present the 2022 budget proposal keeping in mind the deep-rooted traditions in place and the guidelines for safe mass gatherings.

9. We ultimately decided that the most responsible and respectful approach was to hold a shorter than usual gathering while allowing the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide fuller details of our proposals in a smaller event.

10. I am sure many of you will be relieved as my last budget speech in October 2020 lasted over fifty minutes.

11. Still, over the next few minutes, I will provide key highlights of our 2021 performance as well as our proposals for 2022.

PERFORMANCE OF THE 2021 BUDGET

12. The 2021 ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’ is based on a benchmark oil price of 40 US Dollars per barrel, oil production of 1.6m b/d, and exchange rate of 379 Naira to US Dollar. Furthermore, a Supplementary budget of 982.73 billion Naira was recently enacted to address exigent issues in the Security and Health sectors.

13. Based on the 2021 Fiscal Framework, total revenue of 8.12 trillion Naira was projected to fund aggregate federal expenditure of 14.57 trillion Naira (inclusive of the supplementary budget). The projected fiscal deficit of 6.45 trillion Naira, or 4.52 percent of GDP, is expected to be financed mainly by domestic and external borrowings.
14. By July 2021, Nigeria’s daily oil production averaged one 1.70million barrels (inclusive of condensates) and the market price of Bonny Light crude averaged 68.53 US Dollars per barrel.

15. Accordingly, actual revenues were 34 percent below target as of July 2021, mainly due to the underperformance of oil and gas revenue sources. Federal Government’s retained revenues (excluding Government Owned Enterprises) amounted to 2.61 trillion Naira against the proportionate target of 3.95 trillion Naira for the period.

16. The Federal Government’s share of Oil revenue totalled 570.23 billion Naira as of July 2021, which was 51 percent below target, while non-oil tax revenues totalled 964.13 billion Naira. The poor performance of oil revenue relative to the budget was largely due to the shortfall in production as well as significant cost recovery by NNPC to cover the shortfall between its cost of importing petrol and the pump price.

17. The National Assembly will recall that in March 2020 the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency announced that the price of petrol would henceforth be determined by market forces.

18. However, as the combination of rising crude oil prices and exchange rate combined to push the price above the hitherto regulated price of 145 Naira per litre, opposition against the policy of price deregulation hardened on the part of Labour Unions in particular.

19. Government had to suspend further upward price adjustments while engaging Labour on the subject. This petrol subsidy significantly eroded revenues that should have been available to fund the budget.

20. On a positive note, we surpassed the non-oil taxes target by eleven (11) percent in aggregate. The sustained improvement in non-oil taxes indicates that some of our revenue reforms are yielding positive results. We expect further improvement in revenue collections later in the year as more corporate entities file their tax returns and we accelerate the implementation of our revenue reforms.

Improving Revenue Generation and Administration

21. We have stepped up implementation of the strengthened framework for performance management of government owned enterprises (GOEs), with a view to improve their operational efficiencies, revenue generation and accountability. The 50% cost-to-income ratio imposed on the GOEs in the Finance Act 2020 has contributed significantly to rationalizing wasteful expenditures by several GOEs and enhanced the level of operating surpluses to be transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). I solicit the cooperation of the National Assembly in enforcing the cost-to-income ratio and other prudential guidelines during your consideration of the budget proposals of the GOEs, which I am also laying before you today.

22. On the expenditure side, as at end of July 2021, a total of six point seven-nine (6.79) trillion Naira had been spent as against the pro-rated expenditure of seven point nine-one (7.91) trillion Naira. Accordingly, a deficit of four point one-seven (4.17) trillion Naira was recorded as at end of July 2021. The deficit was financed through domestic borrowing.

23. Despite our revenue challenges, we have consistently met our debt service commitments. We are also up to date on the payment of staff salaries, statutory transfers, and overhead costs. As at (4th of October 2021, a total of 1.732 trillion Naira had been released for capital expenditure.

24. I am pleased to inform you that we expect to fund MDAs’ capital budget fully by the end of the fiscal year 2021.

25. Capital releases thus far have been prioritised in favour of critical ongoing infrastructural projects in the power, roads, rail, agriculture, health and education sectors.

26. We have made progress on the railway projects connecting different parts of the country. I am glad to report that the Lagos-Ibadan Line is now completed and operational. The Abuja-Kaduna Line is running efficiently. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta rail Line was finally completed and commissioned over thirty (30) years after its initiation.

27. Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line. Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to themselves and to the North.

28. Progress is also being made on several power generation, transmission, and distribution projects, as well as off-grid solutions, all aimed towards achieving the national goal of optimizing power supply by 2025.

29. I am again happy to report that we continue to make visible progress in our strategic road construction projects like the Lagos – Ibadan expressway, Apapa – Oworonsoki expressway, Abuja – Kano expressway, East-West Road and the second Niger bridge. We hope to commission most of these projects before the end of our tenure in 2023.

30. The Pandemic revealed the urgent need to strengthen our health system. Towards this end, we constructed 52 Molecular labs, 520 bed intensive care units, 52 Isolation centres and provision of Personal Protective equipment across 52 Federal Medical Centres and Teaching Hospitals.

31. We continue to push our expenditure rationalization initiatives which we commenced in 2016. For example, on personnel costs, the number of MDAs captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System increased from 459 in 2017 to 711 to date.

32. The recent passage of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, and consequent incorporation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation should also result in rationalisation of expenditure, as well as increased investments and improved output in the oil and gas industry.

33. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, you will agree with me that a lot has been accomplished over the last year but there is still much to be done. I will now proceed with a review of the 2022 Budget proposal.

THEME AND PRIORITIES OF THE 2022 BUDGET

34. The allocations to MDAs were guided by the strategic objectives of the National Development Plan of 2021 to 2025, which are:

a. Diversifying the economy, with robust MSME growth;

b. Investing in critical infrastructure;

c. Strengthening security and ensuring good governance;

d. Enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace;

e. Reducing poverty; and

f. Minimizing regional, economic and social disparities.

35. The 2022 Appropriation therefore is a Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability.

36. Defence and internal security will continue to be our top priority. We remain firmly committed to the security of life, property and investment nationwide. We will continue to ensure that our gallant men and women in the armed forces, police and paramilitary units are properly equipped, remunerated and well-motivated.

37. The 2022 budget is also the first in our history, where MDAs were clearly advised on gender responsive budgeting. These are part of critical steps in our efforts to distribute resources fairly and reach vulnerable groups of our society.

PARAMETERS AND FISCAL ASSUMPTIONS

38. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, the 2022 to 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper sets out the parameters for the 2022 Budget as follows:

a. Conservative oil price benchmark of 57 US Dollars per barrel;

b. Daily oil production estimate of 1.88 million barrels (inclusive of Condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day);

c. Exchange rate of four 410.15 per US Dollar; and

d. Projected GDP growth rate of 4.2 percent and 13 percent inflation rate.

2022 REVENUE ESTIMATES

39. Based on these fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue is estimated at 17.70 trillion Naira in 2022.

40. Total federally distributable revenue is estimated at 12.72 trillion Naira in 2022 while total revenue available to fund the 2022 Federal Budget is estimated at 10.13 trillion Naira. This includes Grants and Aid of 63.38 billion Naira, as well as the revenues of 63 Government-Owned Enterprises.

41. Oil revenue is projected at 3.16 trillion, Non-oil taxes are estimated at 2.13 trillion Naira and FGN Independent revenues are projected to be 1.82 trillion Naira.

PLANNED 2022 EXPENDITURE

42. A total expenditure of sixteen point three-nine (16.39) trillion Naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2022. The proposed expenditure comprises:

a. Statutory Transfers of 768.28 billion Naira;

b. Non-debt Recurrent Costs of 6.83 trillion;

c. Personnel Costs of 4.11 trillion Naira;

d. Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits 577.0 billion Naira;

e. Overheads of 792.39 billion Naira;

f. Capital Expenditure of 5.35 trillion Naira, including the capital component of Statutory Transfers;

g. Debt Service of 3.61 trillion Naira; and

h. Sinking Fund of 292.71 billion Naira to retire certain maturing bonds.

Fiscal Balance

43. We expect the total fiscal operations of the Federal Government to result in a deficit of 6.26 trillion Naira. This represents 3.39 percent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007. Countries around the world have to of necessity over-shoot their fiscal thresholds for the economies to survive and thrive

44. We need to exceed this threshold considering our collective desire to continue tackling the existential security challenges facing our country.

45. We plan to finance the deficit mainly by new borrowings totalling 5.01 trillion Naira, 90.73 billion Naira from Privatization Proceeds and 1.16 trillion Naira drawdowns on loans secured for specific development projects.

46. Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps. They are right to be concerned. However, we believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits. Borrowings are to specific strategic projects and can be verified publicly.

47. As you are aware, we have witnessed two economic recessions within the period of this Administration. In both cases, we had to spend our way out of recession, which necessitated a resort to growing the public debt. It is unlikely that our recovery from each of the two recessions would have grown as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded by debt.

48. Our target over the medium term is to grow our Revenue-to-GDP ratio from about 8 percent currently to 15 percent by 2025. At that level of revenues, the Debt-Service-to-Revenue ratio will cease to be worrying. Put simply, we do not have a debt sustainability problem, but a revenue challenge which we are determined to tackle to ensure our debts remain sustainable.

49. Very importantly, we have endeavoured to use the loans to finance critical development projects and programmes aimed at improving our economic environment and ensuring effective delivery of public services to our people. We focused on;

a. the completion of major road and rail projects;

b. the effective implementation of Power sector projects;

c. the provision of potable water;

d. construction of irrigation infrastructure and dams across the country; and

e. critical health projects such as the strengthening of national emergency medical services and ambulance system, procurement of vaccines, polio eradication and upgrading Primary Health Care Centres across the six geopolitical zones.

Innovations in Infrastructure Financing

50. In 2022, Government will further strengthen the frameworks for concessions and public private partnerships (PPPs). Capital projects that are good candidates for PPP by their nature will be developed for private sector participation.

51. We will also explore available opportunities in the existing ecosystem of green finance including the implementation of our Sovereign Green Bond Programme and leveraging debt-for-climate swap mechanisms.

Enhancing Revenue Mobilisation

52. Our strategies to improve revenue mobilisation will be sustained in 2022 with the goal of achieving the following objectives:

a. Enhance tax and excise revenues through policy reforms and tax administration measures;

b. Review the policy effectiveness of tax waivers and concessions;

c. Boost customs revenue through the e-Customs and Single Window initiatives; and

d. Safeguard revenues from the oil and gas sector.

53. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, I commend you for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021. It is my hope that the implementation of the law will boost confidence in our economy and attract substantial investments in the sector.

Finance Bill 2022

54. In line with our plan to accompany annual budgets with Finance Bills, partly to support the realization of fiscal projections, current tax and fiscal laws are being reviewed to produce a draft Finance Bill 2022.

55. It is our intention that once ongoing consultations are completed, the Finance Bill would be submitted to the National Assembly to be considered alongside the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

CONCLUSION

56. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, this speech would be incomplete without commending the immense, patriotic, and collaborative support of the National Assembly in the effort to deliver socio-economic development and democracy dividends for our people.

57. I wish to assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to strengthen the relationship with the National Assembly.

58. Nigeria is currently emerging from a very difficult economic challenge. We must continue to cooperate and ensure that our actions are aimed at accelerating the pace of economic recovery so that we can achieve economic prosperity and deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people.

59. The fiscal year 2022 is very crucial in our efforts to ensure that critical projects are completed, put to use and improve the general living conditions of our people.

60. It is with great pleasure therefore, that I lay before this distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2022 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

61. I thank you most sincerely for your attention.

62. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Benue People Are Victims of Ortom’s Maladministration, Mendacity, Not Drunkards – Reps Aspirant, Agbese

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tasks Gov to spend his remaining two years on prayers for forgiveness

Chief Philip Agbese, the leading aspirant for Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency in 2023, has rejected the drunkard tag used by Governor Samuel Ortom on the people of Benue State.

Rather, Agbese, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Benue people are the victims of Ortom’s maladministration, mendacity and misrule in the last six years.

Governor Ortom, speaking at the commissioning of Remnant Christian Network Embassy’s new edifice in Makurdi was quoted to have said “If you go round Makurdi town, our people start drinking beer from 9 am and some from there, they will go to sleep and they come back and insult the governor for not helping them to add value to their lives”.

But in a statement signed by Akor Ikwuoche,
the Director-General, Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation (PACO), the astute UK-trained legal practitioner said while such unguarded utterances aren’t strange from the governor, ” It appears his ‘mouth diarrhoea’ has gotten out of control and may require combined spiritual and medical therapy”.

He recalled how Ortom launched scathing attacks on President Buhari Muhammadu, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Dr George Akume and other elder statements in a bid to attract public sympathy and divert attention.

Agbese said it is, however, unfortunate that some “noble sons and daughters of Benue, who cheered when this intractable ailment came on him are now on the receiving end as they are now known as ‘drunkards’ beyond the state. It speaks volumes about what our governor represents and how he presents us before his contemporaries. As they say, betrayal never comes from your enemies”.

The statement added ” We at the Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation totally reject this drunkard tag on our illustrious brothers and sisters. It is false, treacherous and demeaning. May we remind the governor that Benue has produced some of the country’s most respected brains in different fields of endeavours. How come suddenly they are all drunkards for holding him accountable for his misrule in the last six years?

“Perhaps still having hysteria over the N18.5 billion bailout funds, the governor should return to reality and understand that Benue people are wiser now and tired of his usual blame games. Our people have had enough of the attacks on President Buhari as well as the herdsmen and IDPs propaganda. They are demanding translucency. They are not drunkards. He should provide answers as to why the workers and pensioners are being owed. He should address them on why there’s untold hardship and prove that Benue is not ‘worst than Afghanistan’ as rightly suggested by our principal Chief Philip Agbese.

“Just like Agbese, a UK-trained lawyer, human rights activist and entrepreneur, Enone natives are not drunkards. Never! The good people of Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo federal constituency despite the governor’s abysmal leadership have proven to be hardworking, intellectually sound and goal getters.

“If there’s anyone who should be labelled a drunkard, it is Ortom who may have picked up this habit during his time toiling around different motor parks, first as a tout and then taxi driver. He probably thinks because he is the only Benue indigene that can afford a bottle of Andre Champagne at N3,500 due to the hardship that he brought on the state, everyone else seems to be tipsy on something cheaper. But we wish to advise Ortom to take out time to reflect and stop getting drunk at ceremonies and thinking that his citizens are ‘high’.

“Publicly acknowledging criticism is good news. At least, he is aware that the people, victims of his maladministration and mendacity are fed up. Even his most staunch supporters are exhausted of the excuses. They want more action and less talk”.

Describing Ortom as a monumental failure and disaster, the Philip Agbese Campaign Organisation, therefore, urged the governor to spend his remaining two years on prayers. It said perhaps, through divine intervention, Benue people can forgive him.

Agbese, however, assured his people that the hour of liberation is not far again and all the rhetoric of Ortom’s failed administration will be over.

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NYSC DG Bags Award of Excellence From Alma Mater

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The NYSC Director General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has been presented an Award of Excellence by the University of Jos Alumni Association.

This, the University said was in recognition of his tremendous achievements since assuming duty as the 18th Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps over two years ago.

Speaking during the award presentation today, the University of Jos Vice-Chancellor Designate, Prof. Ishaya Tanko extoled the sterling leadership qualities of the Director-General, adding that Unijos has been observing his transformational achievements in the Scheme.

He commended General Ibrahim for the uncommon feat, adding that the award bestowed on him was also in recognition of his undaunting commitment to national development by tapping Corps potentials.

The VC designate while presenting the goodwill message from the Senate, Management, Staff and Students of Unijos added that the institution recognizes the relevance of the NYSC Scheme to overall national development.

Prof Tanko stated further that universities are made stronger by the strength of their alumni adding that, “we will seek every opportunity to strenghten the synergy of all Unijos alumni to strenghten the institution”.

The National President, Unijos Alumni, Pastor Nuhu Sani described the Director-General as a good ambassador of the university, urging him to keep up the good work he is doing.

“Graduates of Unijos are making us proud and we will keep telling the world about them”, he said.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Unijos Alumni, Abuja Chapter, Mr Joseph Chukwu said Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim’s name came topmost when preparations were on-going for nomination for the award.

He said the Alumni would continue to harness the ingenuinety of NYSC Director-General and other alumni of the University of Jos for the benefit of humanity.

“We will continue to pray for your successful tenure of office and also in future assignments” he said.

In his response, Brigadier General Shuaibu lbrahim congratulated the Vice-Chancellor designate on his appointment.

He stated that he is proud of the University of Jos because the institution has impacted his life and others positively.

Ibrahim lauded the management of the institution for reaching out to its alumni, saying, “l am so proud of the university”.

He assured the management of the University of Jos of his continuous support.

He added that the award would spur him for greater achievements.

He said the Scheme always thinks outside the box, and would leverage on the potentials of Corps Members for national development.

“Last year the NYSC generated over two hundred and eighty million Naira which we paid into the federation account.

This year we also realised five hundred and eleven million Naira which we equally paid into the Federation Account and we are determined that by next year we are going to generate more”, he said.

Ibrahim said the Scheme has revitalised its ventures: garment factories, bread and table water factories for maximum productivity. The ventures also serve as training avenue for Corps Members.

The DG said NYSC had partnered many institutions towards empowering Corps Members for self-reliance.

He listed the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigera, Heritage Bank, Access Bank among others as institutions that offer start up capitals for Corps Members to finance their business proposals.

He also said efforts are in top gear with strong advocacy for the establishment of NYSC Trust Fund, which if actualised will enable Corps Members to have access to start-up captitals to finance their business ideas as they exit service.

The Director-General said NYSC film, NYSC National Cultural Troupe are some of the innovations introduced into the NYSC Scheme for the enhancement of Corps potentials for greater output.

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Kogi vs EFCC: Someone, Somewhere is Afraid of the Rising Profile of Gov. Yahaya Bello – Got Your Back Nigeria

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A Political Support group known as ‘Got Your Back Nigeria’ has lend it’s voice to Condemn what it tagged as “recent attack on the person of Yahaya Bello , governor of kogi State.

In a press release titled “Who is Afraid of Yahaya Bello” the group said it observed with much dismay, the recent drama or altercations between Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB), the young, ever-smiling, gap-toothed, cerebral, focused and courageous leader of Kogi State and the anti-graft agency, EFCC over the alleged diversion and secretly stashed N19.33 billion bailout funds for workers salaries released to the state years back.

Recall that the EFCC claimed the N19.33 billion was domiciled in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank PLC, bearing the imprimatur of “Kogi State Bailout Account.” However, the Kogi State Government has insisted, it has no such accounts domiciled with the Bank at the center of the controversy. The narrations make the saga more interesting. But it has placed a heavy burden of clearing the incidental conjectures generated by a tale crafted and circulated by the anti-graft agency.

More intriguing, the EFCC suddenly made a detour by withdrawing the suit filed in court seeking to establish the source and ownership of the about N20 billion bailout funds domiciled in Sterling Bank PLC. I find it completely, incongruent, the EFCC’s multiple explanations of freezing, unfreezing, discontinuation with the case and the return of the said amount to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Group said it is suspicious that the EFCC , through its spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren suddenly expressed the commission’s public disinterest in exposing the source and ownership of the funds, but felt accomplished that it blocked the exit of the funds. Except the EFCC has invented new Laws or operating now on the basis of personal discretion, why is it necessary to back out from such a sensitive investigation of a presumed “executive fraud” after the media blitzkrieg on the matter?

Exposure of financial crimes and its sources assist in deterring others. But in this instance, the EFCC wittingly denied Nigeria this opportunity by arm-twisting itself and pleading that the controversies be laid to rest with the CBN’s custody of the money, persuading itself feebly that it “is expedient for the instant suit to be discontinued and the account unfrozen”.

The group suspect grandeur hatchet job of some covert political antagonists’ at play against GYB to tarnish his public image.

According to the group It appears politicians are desperate to portray GYB as a corrupt politician, Governor and leader before the Nigerian public since he is seeking the 2023 Presidency of Nigeria.

“Can any one of us reasonably imagine that a State Governor could disown such humongous amounts in this period of severe economic crunch? It’s incredible! Ask Rivers State Gov. Nyemson Wike, who instantly claimed ownership of huge sums of monies, in different currencies, the EFCC discovered hidden in a building in Lagos state. He didn’t take a breath before claiming the discovered monies belonged to the people of Rivers state”.

“Is GYB a different personality? Is he being blackmailed or given a bad name in order to smear his reputation and halt his rising political profile in the race for Aso Rock in 2023? Since Nigerian youths officially adopted GYB as the best choice for President come 2023, praying he improves on the profound efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Kogi Governor’s shadows are shuddering many political camps; penetrating rare places; receiving monstrous endorsements from credible stakeholders, Youth Groups and the media across the country. It has caused some extreme anxiety in some persons, who perhaps have elected to trade falsehood and tommyrot against the clear front runner in the race to Aso Rock come 2023”.

“Precisely, GYB’s political outings are causing huge nightmares to many opponents including traditional politicians and perpetual powermongers in Nigeria. Could it be the reason for the recent attempt to demean his person and administration on the plank of the EFCC?”

“Methinks, EFCC’s latter conflicting narratives of same incident and its sudden lack of enthusiasm gives more credence to these obvious conspiracy theories against GYB, pointing to his 2023 Presidential ambition as the main target. But they will fail, because the lies won’t stick”.

“As a public affairs analyst, I am compelled and indeed I find it expedient to add my voice to the discourse that someone, somewhere is afraid of the rising profile of Gov. Yahaya Bello. I can vouch that the EFCC’s baseless hounding of GYB is an apt expression of the morbid fear in some powerful political circles. Certainly, some persons are not comfortable with the 2023 Presidential aspiration of Gov. Yahaya Bello who is being generously called upon to succeed President Mohammadu Buhari”.

“Why am I this assertive of the fear of GYB as the reason for the EFCC gibberish? Such huge sums of money deposited with a Commercial Bank these days would yield amazing interest in millions or even billions of naira. How much did the fix deposit yield on the account discovered by the EFCC, in addition to the original sum of 20b or is N19.33 billion?”

“It’s unrealistic that only the deposited money was recovered. Besides, the operationalization of fixed deposit accounts is for a fixed period. EFCC’s backout against the case would have also explained to Nigerians lucid details such as the terminal date of the deposit account where the N19.33b or is it 20b was found. But it declined. Who is deceiving, who?’

“So, the unassailable truth by EFCC’s poor outing is merely to cushion the path for GYB’s detractors who are apparently against his giant strides in the development of Kogi State, in order to frustrate the intervention of investors, development partners and sow a seed of discord between the Governor and the good people of Kogi state, as evidently, “The Kogi State government had disbursed its bailout loans for the purpose of which it was granted as of October 2019.”

“They can baselessly seek and attempt to drag the personality and reputation of GYB to the mud, but as always they will fail because their lies won’t stick. Glaringly what is indisputable is his manifest beneficial leadership to the people of Kogi. He has worked hard to make Kogi State one of the most peaceful, and devoid of all manner of security threats plaguing other States. And no one can deny that, except the devious and the satanic”.

“Before his divine rescue mission in the state, Kogi was a haven for dastered armed robberies, kidnappings and an extension camp for Boko Haram terrorists who found in the alluring mountains, forests and caves of the confluence State, spots convenient for habitation. Kogi state served as the transit camp for the Haramists and Lokoja the State Capital provided the shield in their quest to make incursions into Southern Nigeria. Today, GYB has turned things around, as Kogi State has become the safest State in the entire North”.

“For years, the forests of Kogi State were Boko Haram’s chambers for manufacturing Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) on a large scale, which were used to wreck havoc across the country. Without an ounce of equivocation GYB has positively changed the narrative, as no traces of the heinous and violent crimes he inherited are found anywhere in the State. Need I say that not only is Kogi State with 9 borders the safest State in the North, Kogi State is the second safest State in the entire Country”.

“I know like most Nigerians, the conducive security atmosphere in Kogi state has promoted agriculture in the state, further amplified by GYB’s active and exceptional support to farmers. He has inspired and supported young Kogites into massive farming through unique incentives and training, fertilizer supplies, supply of seedlings, and mechanization cum support tools”.

It is the success story of Kogi State under GYB in virtually all sectors that confounds his political foes and critics. I am therefore not astounded that opponents who initially, (ignorantly though), touted GYB as a failed state leader, are wounded internally and have their outer pride gravely bruised that the Governor has excelled in leadership at the state level and is ready and set for the Presidency come 2023. Such is the only sense I can glean from the political interests prodding the EFCC to baselessly bark at GYB”.

“But such scare tricks are not new to us. Alhaji Adoza Yahaya Bello has done his best for Kogi State. And based on popular demand, those who transverse the length and breadth of Kogi State and seen the GYB magic have called on him to sustain the efforts of the Buhari Presidency by running for the top job of President come 2023. So, we expect dissenting voices and deadly plots in the camps of those who oppose the GYB phenomenon, albeit we least expected that demonic falsehood and perfidy will be their trade”.

“In any case, Nigerian youths who are actively backing GYB for the 2023 Presidency have concluded that the scare tricks employed by detractors are too puerile to derail the popular agenda of the masses. Those throwing the proverbial banana peels on his path must be joking and living in self -denial or on some delusional fit, because we are committed to exposing their deceit and chicanery”.

“Straightforwardly, let me end this analysis by pointing out two scenarios’ likely playing out in this macabre dance. It’s either someone is out to destroy the good reputation of the EFCC by that shameful outing on GYB. Or, some persons are desperate to pale into political hiatus by maligning the candidate endorsed by the greatest number of the Nigerian Youth for the Presidency in 2023. Either way GYB Godwilling will remain unscathed”.

“My honest advice to the antigraft agency is that it must avoid the temptation of chasing shadows in Kogi simply because some persons want to stop Gov. Yahaya Bello, as it won’t work. And such should also not be contemplated in other States or on any other leader, as it is capable of eroding public confidence and credibility in the operations of the EFCC. God Bless Nigeria”.

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