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Budget Padding Allegation: PDP Condemns Ningi’s Suspension, Calls for Akpabio’s Resignation

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By Eric Elezuo

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi in the National Assembly, over his allegation that the Senate padded the 2024 Budget with a whopping N3.7trn for non-existent projects, and called for the immediate resignation of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

The Party made its position known via a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, calling for an independent investigation into the alleged budget padding as well as other of Akpabio’s alleged misdemeanor including looting of N108 billion Akwa Ibom fund during his tenure as governor.

In addition, the party insists that the senate president should as a matter of urgency report himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The PDP viewed the suspension of Senator Ningi as a ‘desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet,’ and questioned the rationale behind the All Progressives Congress (APC)-Senate leadership refusing to refer the matter to the appropriate Senate Standing Committee for an open investigation in line with the extant Rules of the Senate, adding that it was obvious the leadership of the senate is hiding something.

The statement in details:

Step Aside, PDP Tells Akpabio Over N3.7t Budget Allegation, N108b A/Ibom State Fund
…Says It Stands With Senator Ningi

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demands that the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio immediately step aside and allow for an independent investigation into the allegation that a staggering N3.7 trillion was discreetly inserted into the 2024 budget for alleged non-existent projects.

The Party also demands that Senator Akpabio immediately reports at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the pending case of alleged looting of N108 billion belonging to the people of Akwa Ibom State under his watch as Governor of the State.

Furthermore, the Senate President should speak out on the reported N86 billion contract scam in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) during his tenure as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.

The PDP firmly condemns the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate without a detailed inquest into the issue of budget padding which he raised.

The suspension of Senator Ningi is apparently a desperate move to suppress investigation, conceal and sweep the facts under the carpet.

Moreover, the frustration of investigation by the APC Senate leadership further confirms PDP’s repeated alert that prominent APC officials in the National Assembly and a top official in the Presidency have been using ministers and other government functionaries to siphon budgeted funds from the national coffers.

We ask, why did the APC leadership in the Senate not refer the matter to the appropriate Senate Standing Committee for an open investigation in line with the extant Rules of the Senate? What is the APC Senate leadership afraid of and what is it hiding from Nigerians?

It is even more absurd that instead of recusing himself, the Senate President sat as a judge in the matter; a situation that has the capacity to bring the institution of the Senate to further public disrepute.

This is especially as the issues at hand heavily border on alleged gross misconduct and criminal betrayal of public trust which are serious offenses under our laws.

Nigerians can now see why the APC leadership in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate continues to condone the unbridled looting of public resources including funds meant for palliatives for poor and vulnerable citizens.

This apparent inclination towards covering up sleaze in the polity is already pitching the institution of the Senate against Nigerians who are demanding for answers on the matter. Of course, the widely condemned suspension of Senator Ningi does not provide answers to the budget padding allegation.

It is indeed unfortunate and a huge smear on the image of the Senate, as the highest lawmaking and probity Institution in the country, that its Presiding Officer has found himself in a quagmire of alleged sleaze and betrayal of public trust.

Our Party therefore stands with Senator Ningi for his courage in seeking probity and accountability in the polity.

What Nigerians expect at this moment is for the Senate President to come clean by stepping aside, allowing for an independent investigation into the budget padding allegation as well as clearing his name at the EFCC over alleged looting of N108 billion and N86 billion under his watch as Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs respectively.

Signed:

Hon. Debo Ologunagba
National Publicity Secretary

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Atiku Sympathises with Tinubu over ‘Unfortunate’ Fall on Democracy Day Parade Ground

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By Eric Elezuo

A former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has sympathized with President Bola Tinubu over his fall while trying to board a parade truck to inspect parade at the Eagle Square on Wednesday.

The former Vice President expressed his sympathies via his verified X account, describing the fall as ‘unfortunate incident’, and hoping that all is well with the President.

He wrote:

“I sincerely sympathize with President Bola Tinubu over this unfortunate incident as he was set to review the parade on Democracy Day. I hope that all is well with him -AA”

Recall that while Tinubu attempted to mount the open truck for inspection of parade, he slipped and fell. But he was quick to pick himself up again with the help of his aides, who came to his rescue.

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Democracy Day Parade: Tinubu Slips, Falls, Recovers

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President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday slipped and fell while boarding the parade vehicle at the venue of the 2024 Democracy Day.

The President had approached the vehicle shortly after he arrived at the Eagles Square, Abuja venue of the programme.

Our correspondent observed that the President lost his footing momentarily as he was about to step into the vehicle.

However, despite the slip, the President quickly regained his balance and continued with the proceedings.

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Glo Maintains 18 Years Tradition, Sponsors Ojude Oba Festival Again

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Digital solutions provider, Globacom, has announced that it will again be partnering with the organizers of the popular Ojude Oba festival this year in continuation of a tradition it started 18 years ago.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference held at Awujale’s Palace in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Globacom’s representative, Mr. Kazeem Kaka, restated the company’s commitment to uplifting Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

“Our sponsorship of festivals is aimed at identifying with the cultures and traditions of the Nigerian people, as an indigenous brand. Our involvement in the celebration of Ojude Oba festival is therefore geared towards promoting the unique tradition and custom of the Ijebu people”, Kaka said.

Globacom’s collaboration with the custodians of this festival, Mr. Kaka explained, underscores the company’s commitment to the rich heritage of the nation which is externalised through these festivals.

“It is our belief that our continued support for Ojude Oba will further strengthen the festival and entrench it as a world class carnival which will attract even more tourists from across the world. We are convinced that this partnership will further foster a symbiotic relationship with immense benefits for both Globacom and Ijebuland”, he added.

In his speech, the Chairman, Ojude Oba Planning Committee, Chief Olu Okuboyejo, paid tribute to Globacom for its massive support for the celebration which he noted serves as a reminder of the historical antecedents of the Ijebu people.

Themed: “Unity and Harmony in Ijebuland…The gift of Ojude Oba”, the 2024 edition of the festival is the 18th time that Globacom will be partnering with the Ojude Oba Planning Committee as the main sponsor of the festival.

Ojude Oba is celebrated annually two days after the Islamic  Eid El-Kabr festival and it’s a social gathering where all divergent issues affecting the lives of the Ijebu people are addressed. It is also a cornerstone for the development of the community socially, politically and economically.

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