VICE-PRESIDENT Kashim Shettima has responded to recent criticisms from Peter Obi, the Labour Party kLP) presidential candidate in the 2023 elections.
Stanley Nkwocha, the spokesman for Vice-President Shettima, addressed Obi’s remarks, defending the administration’s decision to spend Fifteen Billion Naira (N15,000,000,000.00) only to renovate his boss’s residences in Lagos and Abuja.
Mr Obi had questioned why the government planned to spend a lot on renovating the edifices while budgeting a paltry Five Billion Naira (N5,000,000,000.00) for student loans in the country.
In his statement released on behalf of Vice-President Shettima, Nkwocha denounced what he termed as a series of misguided attacks and falsehoods directed at the administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Nkwocha challenged the criticisms levelled by Mr Obi, citing the allocation of funds for the renovation of the Vice-President’s official residence by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
He clarified that the project was initiated and funded during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and was later renewed by the current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, due to its long-standing abandonment.
The spokesman defended the decision to resume the project, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to completing long-abandoned public projects across the nation, a stance he suggested was in contrast to Obi’s past directives as governor of Anambra State.
Nkwocha also disputed Obi’s comparison between the allocated budget for the Vice President’s residence and salaries paid to university professors, asserting that the administration prioritizes the welfare of educators and educational infrastructure despite challenging economic conditions.
Nkwocha further accused Mr Obi of post-election trauma and divisive rhetoric, urging him and others in opposition, to accept defeat gracefully and prioritize Nigeria’s interests.
Part of the statement read:
“There is no other context to situate Obi’s sermon about waste other than the fact that he has refused to swallow the bitter pills of reality.
“It is pitiful that since he was mercilessly defeated by President Tinubu, he and his army of social media cohorts have continued to brazenly unleash a campaign of calumny against the President and now, his administration.
“But despite Obi’s divisive rhetoric, Nigerians have since put a final seal on religious and ethnic politicking so that the country can move forward against the wish of certain persons in the mould of Obi, who have continued to fan the embers of division and falsehood just to create tension and spurn vexatious narratives in the polity.
“Still labouring under post-election trauma, the Labour Party candidate and his ilk are bent on pulling down the Tinubu administration at all costs.
“We advise him and his fellow travellers in the opposition to accept defeat honourably, and put the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians first as patriotic citizens they claim to be.”