Backlash, as Southern Elders,Others Tag Northern Senators’ Comment on 2024 Budget, Departmental Relocation “ill Conceived, Unguarded”

The recent outbursts by Senators from the Northern part of the country over planned movement of certain departments of government from Abuja to Lagos, and 2024 budget, which they claimed was lopsided against the North has been described as “ill- conceived and unguarded”.

The swipe was given to the northern senators over their reactions by the Southern Nigeria Elders Solidarity Forum.

This is coming barely days after the 58 federal lawmakers, under the aegis of the Northern Senators Forum condemned President Bola Tinubu over alleged unfair treatment of the North, in the 2024 national budget and approving the relocation of some departments of CBN and Aviation agencies to Lagos.

It is recalled that the Northern Senators had, in a widely publicized statement , alleged that projections and provisions of the N28.7tn 2024 budget, were unfair to the North. They also alleged that some federal agencies were being relocated to Lagos.

The Senators had made this known in a statement, signed by their spokesperson, Senator Suleiman Kawu Summaila (NNPP Kano South) in Abuja titled, “Allocation and distribution of funds in 2024 National Budget and Relocation of some Federal Agencies to Lagos,”

But reacting in Abuja, spokesman of the Elders Solidarity forum, Emmanuel Silas in a statement  made available to Newshereandthere decried how “Senators who pride themselves as leaders of the people could suddenly switch energy to issues capable of setting regions against each other.”

Silas described the reactions of the Northern senators as strange considering the fact that they participated in scrutinizing the budget when it was presented to the National Assembly.

He said “the Senators’ statement was not only unfortunate, but also least expected of people of their caliber”, saying “such was capable of causing distractions in governance and create unnecessary tension in the country”.

It cautioned against deliberate attempt to” undermine a government that had been widely acknowledged as doing everything humanly possible to take the country to its place of destiny, without negatively affecting any part of the country in whatever way”.

According to Silas, the statement by the Senators gave an indication that the 2024 budget was either not well studied, or they looked the other way in getting the genuine facts that necessitated the planned relocation of certain departments of government to Lagos, which was basically aimed at administrative convenience.

In the same vein, the Northern Peace, and Justice Initiative in a statement , by its President, Abdulkabir Farouk said contrary to claims by the Senators, there had never been any steps taken so far, to suggest that the Tinubu’s administration had plans to externalise any region of the country, or short-changed them in the scheme of things.

The group advised the Senators “to channel whatever bothers them on the runnings of government, through a more mature ways, or at best, seek audience with the President to discuss such matters, rather than engaging in activities, perceived to be tantamount to deliberate incitements or subversions.”

On their part, the Coalition of Civil Society For Good Governance and Accountability has sued for peace among the Northern senators adding that they have benefited immensely in the National Assembly.

According to them; “All Northern NASS members were involved with many northerners as chairmen of key committees.

“We have the chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, who is a Northerner from Kano. The ZIP projects are evenly distributed across the country, and all NASS members nominate projects”, the coalition said.

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