Kalu urges Nigerians to be patient with FG

Abia Chairman, Senate Commit on Privatization , Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has called for patience with the federal government stressing that President Bola Tinubu needed time to fix challenges facing the country.

He, however, warned that Nigeria would lose about N289 billion if it failed to conduct the proposed National Population Census.

The former Abia State governor, speaking to journalist at Edda, Ebonyi State   absolved President Bola Tinubu of involvement in the jack up of the 2024 budget by about N1 billion, from N27.7 trillion to N28.7 trillion as passed by the National Assembly on December 30.

President Tinubu signed the Appropriation Bill into law in Abuja on Monday.  

Kalu was in Edda to attend a special thanksgiving service organised by the State Chairman of APC, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha, one of his former aides.

He appealed to Southeast people to support APC, noting that joining the party should be at their volition and according to their conscience.

He commended Ebonyi and Imo States governors, Francis Nwifuru and Hope Uzodimma for tackling the fundamental problems in their states.

He said “We will continue to appeal to the people of the Southeast to support APC. It is not mechanical, we are not going to force anybody, it is not something that you are going to force people to do.

“People must vote according to their conscience, but I want people to start seeing what people like governor of Ebonyi who I consider a very super governor is doing, what the governor of Imo and other governors of APC are doing, the fundamental issues they are addressing.”

The former Senate chief whip admitted that Nigerians were passing through hardship and urged them to give the president more time to fix the problems of the nation.

“My grandmother told me that when you buy a piece of cloth, you have to scatter the cloth before you sew it. So, the APC government is cutting the piece of cloth into pieces. When the cloth is cut into pieces, it will be sewed because if the cloth is not cut into pieces, it cannot be sewed.

“President Tinubu is busy cutting the cloth into pieces to be able to sew to give Nigerians a nice dress. People are actually suffering but Nigerians should give us a few years for the cloth we want to sew to be sewed very well. It is not the president that jacked this 2024 budget to N28 trillion, it was the National Assembly which I am a ranking member of its appropriation committee. For example, we are saying we want to do a census and the government has spent a lot on the census and it was not captured in the budget and this census has to be done.

“They brought new figures from the National Population Commission (NPC) and other relevant bodies. Those were the reasons the budget went up. The president did not know anything about the budget jack up, you can quote me. I served in the appropriation committee, and I was there, I just came back on December 31, I didn’t return home for Christmas, I had been working on this budget in the appropriation committee. So, it’s not the fault of the president. If it is his fault, I will tell you it is his fault, it is not his fault.

“So, I have just given you one good example. NPC has spent so much money on the census and this census ought to come in the first quarter of this year. We are already in 2024 and they lack money. If they don’t do the census, Nigeria will be losing about N289 billion. So, we have to put that money in the budget,” Kalu said.

NPC, last year, wanted to conduct the population census but it was later cancelled. The exercise may likely be held within the first quarter of this year.


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