April 15, 2024


Oyo State governor and Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, ‘Seyi Makinde, has declared that there is no truth in the claim by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, that states of the federation got additional N30 billion each outside of their statutory revenue allocations, to address food insecurity in their states.


The governor stated this on Thursday, noting that Oyo State has not got any N30 billion from the FIRS or the Federal Government and that his government has been and will always be open and transparent to the people of the state.


Makinde, who added that he has been doing everything to cushion the effect of the economic hardship on the people, warned that leaders should instill confidence and hope in the citizenry in this trying time rather than playing blame game.


Makinde stated this in Iseyin, where he commissioned the newly-renovated multi-billion Naira Iseyin Central Mosque facilitated by legal icon, Ahmed Raji, SAN, hailing the religious harmony in Oyo State as being exemplary.


He added that apart from Oyo State not getting N30 billion from any agency or department of the Federal Government, he could say the same for his colleague-governors as vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).


Governor Makinde decried Akpabio’s reliance on unverified reports, clarifying that it was impossible for states to get funds from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), since all revenues go into the Federation Account and belongs to the Federal Government, states and the local governments.


According to Makinde, the only fund that Oyo State got from the Federal Government outside of statutory allocation was N2 billion out of the N5 billion promised to all states in the wake of the removal of fuel subsidy, adding that the Federal Government had even been asking for the refund of the N2 billion.


Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).


He said: “This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.


“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit.


“We have health insurance for our own people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God.
“For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months.


“Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage.


“Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time.


“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, Sen. 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 FG 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 le

rs. 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.


“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 had 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.
“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.”


While commending Raji, SAN on the success of the mosque renovation, which he noted is a befitting place to worship Allah, Makinde hailed the religious harmony in Oyo State as evidence in the presence of representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at the event, warning those hell-bent on causing disharmony to steer clear of the state.


Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, appreciated Makinde for attending the event and for speaking passionately as expected of leaders, saying the Oyo State governor is on the right track.


He said: “We appreciate the governor for being with us here today.
“I appreciate him for speaking in a passionate tone and that is how a leader should speak to his people to let them know he cares for them.


“Seyi, don’t worry, we are with you and will keep on praying for you. We will keep on supporting you because you are on the right track.”


The Sultan also hailed Raji for being a humanitarian supporting Muslims and non-Muslims.


Earlier, the facilitator of the Iseyin Central Mosque renovation project, Barr. Raji, SAN, appreciated the governor for his presence, urging citizens of the country to continue to pray for its leaders and to pray to God to lessen the burden of the people.


The event had in attendance the Sultan of Sokoto; National Assembly members and top government functionaries from Oyo State as well as Oke Ogun Traditional Council members.


Signed
Sulaimon Olanrewaju
Special Adviser (Media) to Oyo State Governor
February 22, 2024.

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