Governor Makinde: Akpabio Under Fire For Baseless $86M Palliative Fund

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Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has strongly refuted claims made by Senate President Ahmad Lawan’s deputy, Godswill Akpabio, regarding a purported disbursement of N30 billion ($86 million) to state governors beyond the initial N2 billion ($5.7 million) already confirmed.

The governor expressed concern about the politicization of the nation’s economic challenges during his speech at the commissioning of a new mosque in Iseyin.

Akpabio had mentioned the extra N30 billion while addressing the Senate last week, citing “information available to him.”

However, Makinde, who serves as vice chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, dismissed these allegations as attempts to shift responsibility away from the Federal Government onto state officials.

Governor Makinde emphasized that now is not the time for political games but rather for providing reassurance and support to citizens facing hardships due to rising inflation and costs of living.

He called upon all elected representatives to focus their efforts on finding solutions instead of engaging in finger-pointing exercises.

“This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was unverified report, stating that the state governments received 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 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 goes into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The federal government 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,” Mr Makinde said.

Disappointed in senate president

The governor expressed disappointment in the senate president for publicly uttering unverified reports.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend. So, if the number three citizen heard nothing but 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 for most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.”

Mr Makinde admitted that the federal government distributed N2 billion each to them out of the N5 billion promised as palliative.

“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,” the governor said.

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