The Edo State Government, on Sunday, took a swipe at the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris, over his statement on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s comments regarding the Federal Government’s handling of the resultant effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
A statement signed by Mr. Chris Osa Nehikhare, Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, stated that the reactions of the minister to the comments made by Governor Godwin Obaseki regarding the federal government’s handling of effects of the sudden removal of fuel subsidy was reminiscent of how the federal government reacted in 2022 when Governor Obaseki raised the alarm over the indiscriminate ways the government was printing the currency to shut up allocations to the three tiers of government.
The statement advised that at these hard times for Nigerians, occasioned by the policies of the federal government which appointed Idris as minister, the minister was expected to be reconciliatory and sought ways through which Nigeria could navigate through the hard times by concerted efforts.
This was just as the Edo State Government declared the claim by the ministry that Governor Obaseki was not attending the National Economic Council (NEC) meetings as “blatantly false”, and asked the minister to check the record of NEC to confirm that Governor Obaseki had attended all meetings called by the Council since the inception of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu government which the mister serves.
It also debunked the claim by the minister that the state government had not performed well, stressing that the only noticeable area interns of underperformance were the bad federal government roads in the state, which the same federal neglected and prevented the Godswill Obaseki administration from fixing for the benefit of the people of the state.
The text of the statement by Nehikhare reads:
“The Edo State Government wishes to express its displeasure on the recent press statement credited to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris, over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s comments regarding the Federal Government’s handling of the resultant effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
“It is unfortunate and sad that the Federal Government now wants to gag citizens and even a popularly elected governor from speaking truth to power and expressing himself in the light of the perilous times we have fallen into.
“This action of the Minister is reminiscent of what happened in 2021, when Governor Obaseki raised the alarm over the irregular and illegal printing of money by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The claim that Governor Godwin Obaseki failed to attend the National Economic Council (NEC) meetings is blatantly false. The governor has attended all NEC meetings since the onset of this administration and records are there to prove this fact.
“Records of Edo State Government’s performance are also available for Nigerians to verify. Our reforms in the education sector, especially the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme has been hailed globally; in the agriculture sector the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) Programme is currently one of Africa’s largest agricultural programs; our radical reforms in the civil and public service with the government’s e-government and capacity enhancement initiatives, as well as the development of a valid and effective Social Register, to mention but a few.
“The area where the Minister may be referring to as non-performance should be the condition of the extensive Federal Roads running through the state, which the Federal Government has abandoned and even prevented us from intervening to repair claiming that contracts for their repairs have been awarded.
“Isn’t it rather unfortunate that the Honourable Minister in his first outing has taken this untoward route when he ought to be reconciliatory and seek to synergise ideas and opinions on how best to carry the country along in this difficult and trying times that we have found ourselves?” Nehikhare asked.
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