Obi Calls for Total Review of 2024 Budget

•Seeks reallocation of resources 

•Nasarawa governor urges ex-Anambra governor to support Tinubu

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has again intervened in the lingering allegation of budget padding, but this time, called for a review of the 2024 budget.

Obi,  who stressed the need to adequately utilise the nation’s resources, however, called for a reallocation of the resources.

This was as the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has called on the former Anambra State governor, to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed in his task of governing Nigeria.

The senator representing Bauchi Central, Abdul Ningi, had alleged that the 2024 budget was padded with N3 trillion.

Ningi, who also resigned his post as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, said “huge damage” was done to the north in the 2024 budget and called for an urgent review.

But Obi, who had earlier called for an investigation of the allegation, has sought a review of the budget as well as a reallocation of resources for result.

Writing in a post on X, he stated, “Having followed the controversies trailing the 2024 budget, and having read some of the budgetary provisions and allocations of resources, I wish to respectfully appeal for a total review of the entire budget.

“The executive and legislative arms should initiate an immediate review of the budget as it is still in early days of implementation in order to enable them do urgent virement of resources to critical areas.

“The nation’s resources should adequately be appropriated to critical areas like security, fighting poverty and solving the challenges of hunger and food insecurity, power supply, especially considering the difficult times that we are in.

“In the past one year, about 7000 Nigerians have been kidnapped, with about 700 kidnapped in the last three weeks, not withstanding the violent crimes and killings that occur in every part of the nation, which must have included us in one of the world’s riskiest countries to live in.

“A report by the globally respected publication, Financial Times, on March 12, 2024, described Nigeria’s kidnapping racket as a sign of a failed state. With all of these happening in our nation, how then can we attract foreign investors, & retain the confidence of local investors?

“We have become one of the hungriest nations in the world and one of the most difficult nations in the world to live in, with food prices constantly going out of the reach of most Nigerians.

“Power supply is abysmally poor and Nigerians are now mostly in total darkness as over 60% are without power supply. Even those in perceived privileged areas now go for days without power supply.

“A 2022 Energy Progress Report designated Nigeria as the country with the largest number of people lacking access to electricity with 92 million of its over 200 million population living without electricity.”

He added that,  “about 80 percent” of Nigeria’s primary healthcare centres are not functional, adding that the cost of medical treatments and medicines have gone beyond the reach of most Nigerians.

“We now hold the enviable position of having the highest number of out of school children, with about 20 million out-of-school children. We need to take our children off the streets and give them access to basic education,” he said.

Obi, therefore, called on the executive and legislative arms to “consider the many challenges facing our nation and re-allocate resources to these very critical areas.”

But Sule who sought Obi’s support when he paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Lafia, added that his call was based on Obi’s experience, competence and capacity.

“While thanking you for your kind words sir, I would also call on you to, because I know you have the experience, the competence and the capacity, support Mr President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in order for us to be on the same page.

“I’m calling on you to have the opportunity always, he is your friend, he is your colleague, we were all in Lagos together and I am sure you will be able to contribute your own quota even without the whole world knowing what you have contributed,” the governor maintained.

Sule noted that the country’s challenges could not be resolved by only one person, hence he was sure that the LP presidential candidate had contributions to make just as he was doing in Nasarawa State.

His words: “Before politics, you and I have been in the private sector, while I was in the African Petroleum. I was in Dangote Group as CEO and we were looking for money and all of that. Our relationship is beyond politics.

“You are going round the country to cushion the effects of the economic hardship, that’s what everybody is doing. And that is what Mr President Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is also doing.

“He is encouraging all the governors, all the other political office holders to do everything possible and cushion the effects of the hardship that we are facing the moment.”

The governor concluded by thanking the 2023 LP presidential candidate for making a straight forward statement that there is time for politics and time for governance.

Earlier, Obi had expressed his sincere gratitude for the honour of being able to come into the state to pay a courtesy call on Sule.

Obi added that he was in the state to pay solidarity at this visit at this time.

“Ramadan period has started, a nationwide project of touring some parts of Nigeria at this fasting period and support in my own little way in the fasting process.

“I am also doing some borehole projects in different areas. Everybody knows that water is the greatest thing in Nigeria as a whole, and then of course being able to address what is happening nationwide,” he said.

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