POLITICS

“What is wrong with us as country” – Obi slams FG over allocating N20.5bn For VP’S House

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in this year’s election, Mr Peter Obi, has questioned the rationality behind allocating N20.5bn for the renovation of the house of the Vice President, Kashim Shettima,

This is as the former Anambra doubled down on his criticism of the sheer profligacy and massive wastage tha the APC administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become synonymous with.

Obi on Monday on his X handle said that the funds earmarked for the renovation of the vice president residence should have been channelled to productive quarters that would have ripple positive effects on the economy.

He asserted that N20.5bn would pay the annual salary of 3000 professor in a Nigerian university which is about N400,000 per month and about N5m a year.

Obi, who had earlier criticized the administration for over 1400 delegates it reportedly sponsored to Dubai for COP28 as wasteful, berated the government for proposing over N20bn in renovation and building of a new office space for the Vice President.

“Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as I am compelled to ask what is exactly wrong with us as a country. 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 N15bn for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation,” Obi said.

He recalled that recently in the Supplementary Budget, N2.5bn was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence.

“During the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3bn 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 N20.5bn for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from

“Just to give an example, the salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400,000, which without removing tax is about N5m a year. What we have budgeted for the housing of the Vice President who is already luxuriously housed is, therefore, the annual salary of about 3000 professors,” Obi said.

He said that the budget of N5bn for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home.

He said, “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.

“Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. 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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