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Alleged Budget padding: Presidency describes claim as ‘false’ and ‘strange’

The Presidency has debunked the allegation by Senator Abdul Ningi that the Federal government is operating two versions of 2024 budget.

Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, while reacting to Ningi’s assertions in a statement Sunday said the claims were false and strange.

Onanuga said, “Following the false claims made by Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central, that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government is operating two versions of the 2024 budget, we consider it appropriate to inform Nigerians that there is no truth whatsoever in the allegation.

“Acting under the banner of Northern Senators’ Forum, Senator Ningi, falsely claimed in an interview he granted BBC Hausa Service, that the National Assembly debated and passed N25 Trillion as 2024 budget and not the N28.7 Trillion that is being implemented by the Federal Government.

“To begin with, President Tinubu on November 29, 2023 presented a budget of N27.5 Trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly made up of N9.92 Trillion recurrent expenditure, Debt Service N8.25 Trillion and Capital Expenditure N8.7 Trillion.

“This was widely reported. He did not present a budget of N25 Trillion.

Onanuga added that, “Contrary to the strange view expressed by Senator Ningi, there was no way the Senate could have debated and passed a N25 Trillion budget that was not presented to the National Assembly.

“We don’t expect a ranking Senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild claims.

“It is also important to let Nigerians know that the budget that President Tinubu signed into law on January 1, 2024 as passed by the National Assembly was N28.7 Trillion.

“The National Assembly, in its wisdom, increased the amount proposed by the Executive by N1.2 Trillion.

“In the spirit of democracy which allows give and take, President Tinubu didn’t withhold his assent to the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly. We want to stress that if the budget figure was increased and made to be different from what the Executive proposed, it was the National Assembly that jacked it up in exercise of its power of appropriation.

The presidential spokesman added, “On the uncharitable claim that the 2024 budget was anti-North, we found such position as canvassed by Senator Ningi as too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status.

“President Tinubu is leading a government that is fair and equitable to every part and segment of Nigeria. In terms of funding, distribution of capital and priority projects, the 2024 Appropriation Act was not skewed against any section of the country.

“The North as an integral part of the country is well covered in all areas, from security to agriculture, healthcare to education, and other important infrastructure such as roads, rail, dams, power and irrigation projects to support all year-round agriculture.

“It is concerning that a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can employ such primordial antics to fuel divisive rhetoric at a time well-meaning Nigerians are joining hands with President Tinubu to raise the spirit of national cohesion, unity and inclusive politics.

“We want to use this opportunity to commend Senator Yemi Adaramodu, Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity for setting the record straight. We also commend Senators Steve Sunday Karimi (Kogi), Titus Tartenger Zam (Benue) and Kaka Sheu (Borno) for their forthrightness and for coming out against the misrepresentation of facts by Senator Ningi.

“President Tinubu is a firm believer in the rule of law and constitutional democracy. As an avowed democrat, he will not engage and indulge in any unconstitutional action or act in any manner that assaults the Constitution of Nigeria by operating any budget outside the one approved by the National Assembly, which he dutifully signed into law.

“We want to state categorically that the only 2024 budget that is being implemented is the N28.7 Trillion budget passed by the National Assembly and signed by the President.

“Included in the budget are statutory transfers to the Judiciary, National Assembly, Tetfund and others,” Onanuga said.

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Politics

Presidency solidly behind Ganduje – Kano APC

The leadership of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kano, on Friday, declared that the Presidency is fully backing the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje in the current political war being waged by his detractors to unseat him.

The party said that the Presidency has been giving Ganduje every support and encouragement he deserves to retain his seat and continue his assignment as the helmsman of the APC at the national level.

The spokesperson of APC in Kano, Alhaji Ahmad Aruwa, denied accusing the Presidency of fueling the crisis against Ganduje.

Aruwa who was quoted in a short video that went viral on social media pointing accusing fingers at some element in the presidency igniting the confusion that led to the purported suspension of Ganduje insisted he was quoted out of contest.

He said he has firm loyalty to President Bola Tinubu led Federal Government which accounted to the overwhelming support the president received in Kano during the last general election.

He made the clarification on Friday while reacting to media report that quoted him accusing the presidency of sabotaging Dr. Ganduje on the purported suspension of his membership from APC.

Aruwa maintained that those trying to reconstruct his comment on the persecution of Dr. Ganduje were the enemies of the party who have invested resources to destroy the mutual relationship between the president and the former Governor of Kano.

He insisted he has no intention to and would not constitute any act that would, damage the loyalty and mutual respect that exit between the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Ganduje and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Kano APC spokesman further asserted that Dr. Ganduje remains the only strong pillar and dependable defender who can guarantee the future political success of president Tinubu’s political in Kano.

According to him: “We have high respect for our president and leader of our party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and he remains our choice of leader in Kano. We have demonstrated our commitment to the political ambition of president Tinubu in the last general election and we are ready to do more in subsequent election.

” We equally want to declare that our leader and national Chairman of our great party Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is committed and remains loyal to the president regardless of whatever anybody may want to ochestrate. No amount of plot will divide the mutual relationship between the president and Ganduje.” ( PM)

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Damagum remains PDP acting national chairman

Alhaji Umar Damagum, will continue as the Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic party, pending the election of a new chairman in August, the National Executive Committee (NEC) has said.

This, the party said was to ensure reconciliation and to take care of other issues within the party.

“We will look at the issue of leadership and look at the issue of our constitution where it will be and we will do it without rancour,” chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State told journalists at the end of the 98th NEC meeting of the party on Thursday in Abuja.

“In the next two months we will see a lot of activities, leadership is a responsibility. We said in September that we would have come out from our congresses.

Bala added that the successful conduct of the party’s NEC meeting was an indication that there was no dissension and rancour within the leadership.

“It was planned that the party will have an explosion. PDP is more than that, we have gone beyond all these ideocracies. This party is a united party that is guided by experience and constitutionality.

“There were a lot of permutations and mischievous thinking outside there. But we looked at all the issues and we worked along our guidelines and constitution. There is no problem or dissension and problem among members,” he said.

Also speaking, Damagum said that the leadership of the party was not a do or die affair.

“This is not a matter of life and death. I am still an elected member of this NEC. Even if I revert to deputy national chairman I’m still a member of NWC. The issue of surviving or not does not emerge,” he said.

Also, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba said that issue of the party leadership would be considered in August.

“Our party emphasizes the need for reconciliation and stability within the party at this time. Therefore, the issue of the National Chairman, Damagum, has been deferred to the next NEC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 15,” he said.

Ologunagba later read the communique at the end of the meeting, saying that the NEC tasked all organs, leaders, stakeholders and members of the PDP to close ranks and put aside their differences and work together to reposition and return the PDP to power.

He said that the NEC also received and approved the timetable for the party’s congresses across the country.

“NEC also approved the Reconstitution of the Party Disciplinary and Reconciliation Committees to further ensure the stability of the Party.

“Similarly, NEC approved the extension of the life of the Party Constitution Amendment Committee to allow it to receive new amendment proposals for inclusion in its deliberation and final report for consideration by NEC.

“NEC commended the efforts of the National Working Committee in its effort towards rebranding the Party including the new look PDP Logo which is widely accepted by Party members and Nigerians in general.

“NEC charges all Party members to continue to work together for the success of the PDP for the benefit of Nigerians and sustenance of Democracy in our country,” he said.

Ologunagba said that the NEC advised President Bola Tinubu to convene a special National Security Council meeting to proffer a holistic solution to the current security challenge facing the country.

He said that the NEC also urged Tinubu to rejig his economic team to include individuals with proven integrity and competence to assist in repositioning the economy.

“NEC further demands that the Federal Government should review all policies and programmes which are stifling the economy with suffocating effect on the lives of citizens; including the increase in price of fuel without cushioning measures, hike in electricity tariff, increased taxation and implementation of adverse fiscal policies,” he said.

The meeting was attend by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr Nyesom Wike, NWC members, BOT members, serving governors and members of the National Assembly.(NAN)

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Kano court reverses Ganduje’s suspension

A Federal High Court in Kano has halted the suspension of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

The ruling came on Wednesday after Ganduje filed an ex parte motion seeking to enforce his fundamental right to fair hearing.

The respondents in the application are the Police, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and nine others.

On April 16, APC executives in Dawakin Ward, Tofa LGA of Kano State, suspended Ganduje over alleged corruption.

However, the State Working Committee, SWC, of the APC in Kano nullified the suspension and punished the ward executives.

But a Kano High Court presided by Justice Usman Na’Abba upheld the suspension.

In the ex parte order delivered on Wednesday by the Federal High Court and made available to newsmen on Thursday, a Kano High Court presided by Justice A. M Liman ruled that the suspension should not be implemented until the case filed by Ganduje is heard and determined.

“All the respondents, their servants, agents or privies are hereby restrained from implementing and/or giving effect to the purported decision reached during the purported emergency meeting of the alleged executive members of APC Ganduje Ward, held at Ganduje Ward of Dawakin Tofa Local.

“All the parties are hereby mandated to maintain status quo before the purported emergency meeting of the alleged executive members of APC Ganduje Ward, and to stay action in respect of this matter pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application,” Justice Liman said.

The judge subsequently fixed April 30 to hear Ganduje’s suit

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