6War over VP’s N15bn residence

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, yesterday, knocked the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), over his comments on plans to spend N15 billion on the residence of Vice President Kashim Shettima.

The minister had pledged to complete the accommodation initiated by the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, after inspecting the project. He said though the contractor had insisted that the contract sum be revised from N7 billion to N15 billion because of rising cost of materials, President Bola Tinubu’s administration was determined to it.

He promised to make the needed funds available before December to ensure its completion, adding that he has already secured the approval of President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

“When we came here last time, you promised us that you will be able to complete this project in the next eight months.

“Even though we have not mobilized you, I know that you have confidence in us, let me assure you that we will mobilize you before December God willing.

“Then, you have to rush to see that this is completed before May 29, 2024.

“Put everything you have so that we can achieve this; so that all the stories about abandoned projects will be a thing of the past,” Wike said.

Obi, in a series of tweets on his X handle, berated the plan, saying it was “shocking and disheartening,” considering the many important challenges facing Nigeria.

“We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria.”

He wondered what was wrong with the country.

But Shettima responded immediately and lampooned Obi.

In a statement by his media aide, Stanley Nkwocha, he accused Obi of dancing “naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste.

Pushing the narrative further, Wike said Obi was still deluding himself that he won the 2023 presidential elections, despite coming in a distant third position.

Wike spoke during the flag-off of the resurfacing of roads in Asokoro District of the Federal Capital Territory.

He said rather than commend the administration of President Tinubu, Obi and others who lost elections were busy whipping up sentiments.

“People should commend the administration and not make statements, blackmailing and telling the public lies just like they said that they won an election when they never won any election.

“Nigerians know those who won elections through the electorates. Nigerians know those who won the election through social media, let them continue to tell lies.”

On protesters, who he said would not distract him, Wike said: “On Wednesday, somebody told me that there were some people who were carrying placards. Frankly speaking, I don’t have time to even see that, I was busy. I don’t want to be distracted. We want to be focused and deliver on the mandate Tinubu has given to us.

“One thing you must also understand is that this is democracy, so many people are entitled to their opinions. But what is important is, your opinion must be in line with what is good for the people of the FCT.

‘We cannot continue to do the same thing, the same way and expect to achieve different results. One of the big things about leadership is that you must be firm and bold and courageous to make a decision and we have taken decisions to make sure that our people are happy with this administration.

“We have taken a decision to make sure that we will do the best for the people as mandated by President Bola Tinubu.

“In the policies you make, it may not favour so many people, but what is important is the generality of people, and not some people who benefit at the detriment of others. When you bring a policy that will bring change, so many people will kick against it. The few who benefits will kick against it. But, when you are focused, they have no choice, but to align themselves with the policies of the government.

“Don’t disturb yourself about people who were paid, and they have collected the money and it ended yesterday. Nobody should be worried that people are demonstrating, if they don’t demonstrate, is it the devil that will demonstrate. People must have work to do.

“We can boldly tell Nigerians that in these few months, with the support of Mr. President, this is what we have done. By the grace of God, in the one year in office of President Tinubu, Nigerians will see what Tinubu has done in the FCT. And that is what we stand for. By May 29, 2024, the FCT will roll out its achievements.

“No contract will be awarded without funding. If we do not have the money, we will not be awarded the contract.    

“Let me tell Nigerians, you must commend the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Nigerians forget easily, as at the time we came onboard, all the contractors abandoned their work. Today, you can see that all the contractors have returned to site. We must try as much as we can to finish all projects, or at least, 80 percent of projects that were awarded by the previous government because the government is continuous.

“There were projects that were awarded in 2001, 2010, 2015; these projects have been abandoned. Do you expect us to abandon the projects?

“Even if the building of the Vice President which will gulp N15 billion is not to be used by the vice president, it should not be abandoned. Visiting head of state can use it.

“We did not award that contact, it was awarded in 2010, and because  of  our policy of not leaving other projects to be abandoned, we thought we should continue with the projects. Look at the Millennium centre, it was awarded in 2001. It was abandoned and we thought that such a project is necessary to be completed.”

Regardless of his explanations, LP has insisted that the project is wasteful, insensitive.

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