The proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence was awarded by the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Stanley Nkwocha, Spokesman of Vice President Kashim Shettima, stated this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement was titled: ”Peter Obi And The Limits Of Self-Aggrandizement”, saying that Shettima has committed himself to serving Nigeria and helping President Bola Tinubu in achieving his set goals and objectives.
He added that Shettima was a very serious-minded leader, adding that he was not into dubious or questionable politics of statistics manipulation or mind games.
Shettima’s aide said’ ”We have taken note of statements credited to the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, who made another frail and futile attempt to paint the President Bola Tinubu administration in bad light.
”The subject of his new found passion – armchair criticism after his loss at the presidential poll was the proposed N15.5billion budgeted by the FCTA to renovate the house of the Vice-President, which he claimed would pay the annual salary of 3,000 University Professors.
”Given the reactions and invocations generated by Obi’s comments, it is necessary for the sake of history to clarify the issue.
”The proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence, for which budgetary allocation was made in the 2024 budget by the FCT Administration, was awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
”It was not originated by the present administration.
“This, Mr Obi, knows but chose to play dumb all in a bid to inflamate a targeted group of Nigerians and, as usual, score cheap political goals, accolades and praises.”
Nkwocha said that the project which was re-initiated in 2010 and funded by the Jonathan administration was abandoned.
The statement reads: ”Appalled by the sorry state of the uncompleted building that was now overtaken by weeds and reptiles over a decade after construction started about 13 years ago.
”The current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, felt it would be a waste to allow such a project started with public funds to continue to lie fallow.
”Thus, in his wisdom and without the prompting of the vice-president, decided to resuscitate the building. We invite more cerebral Nigerians to cross check properly.
”What should be considered a waste between Obi’s tantrums because the project has attracted government’s attention, given the decision by the current administration to complete vital abandoned projects.
”What is more wasteful and reckless than abandoning an edifice to rot and depreciate despite the amount that has been sunk into it over the years? ”
Shettima’s Spokesperson said that Nigerians knew that the issue of a befitting residence for the vice-president had been a recurring decimal in the budget of Nigeria since 2007.
”It did not start today, same for residences of the Senate President and the Speaker. The array of abandoned Federal Government projects littered all over the country is a national embarrassment that the current administration has taken a bold step to save the country from.
”This is why it has made it a priority that all abandoned projects must be completed before new ones are initiated, save for some on exceptional basis, either because of the need for strategic alignment or economic significance” he said
Nkwocha stated that comparing the amount budgeted for the residence of the Vice-President and salaries paid to Professors was an analogy taken too far.
”This is the only government that has repeatedly made it clear that the welfare of lecturers is paramount and the need to increase the budget of the educational sector is a gradual process in the face of the daunting security challenges it met on ground.
”This same government directed that the backlog of salaries owed to both teaching and non-teaching staff of universities be paid immediately despite the ‘no work, no pay’ order.”
Nkwocha added that the introduction of a student’s loan scheme was also a masterstroke that was targeted at ensuring that nobody, no matter his/her status, would be denied the right to quality education. Recall that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday called on President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio to reject FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike’s request to spend N15 billion on construction of a befitting residence for the Vice President despite the Nigeria’s huge debt profile, totaling N87.4 trillion as of June this year.