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Politics

‘Primordial Antics’ — Presidency Knocks Senator Abdul Ningi Over Claim Tinubu Signed Padded, Anti-North Budget

Bola Tinubu and Abdul Ningi 1

The Presidency has refuted claims by Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central) that President Bola Tinubu signed a padded and discriminatory 2024 budget.

Senator Ningi, in a recent interview with BBC Hausa Service, alleged the existence of two budgets: a N25tn version passed by the National Assembly and a N28.7tn version currently being implemented by the government.

He further claimed the budget being implemented was biased against the North.

But Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, dismissed Ningi’s allegations as false and lacking basis in a statement on Sunday.

“Contrary to the strange view expressed by Senator Ningi, there was no way the Senate could have debated and passed a N25 Trillion budget that was not presented to the National Assembly. We don’t expect a ranking Senator not to pay due attention to details before making wild claims,” said Onanuga.

Onanuga clarified that Tinubu originally presented a N27.5 trillion proposal to the National Assembly on November 29, 2023, not N25 trillion as claimed by Ningi.

The National Assembly, he noted, subsequently increased the budget figure to N28.7 trillion in exercise of its appropriation powers before passing it.

“In the spirit of democracy which allows give and take, President Tinubu didn’t withhold his assent to the Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly. We want to stress that if the budget figure was increased and made to be different from what the Executive proposed, it was the National Assembly that jacked it up in exercise of its power of appropriation.

“On the uncharitable claim that the 2024 budget was anti-North, we found such position as canvassed by Senator Ningi as too far-fetched and unbecoming of a leader of his status.

“President Tinubu is leading a government that is fair and equitable to every part and segment of Nigeria. In terms of funding, distribution of capital and priority projects, the 2024 Appropriation Act was not skewed against any section of the country.

“The North as an integral part of the country is well covered in all areas, from security to agriculture, healthcare to education, and other important infrastructure such as roads, rail, dams, power and irrigation projects to support all year-round agriculture,” the presidential spokesman stated.

Onanuga commended senators who countered Ningi’s “misrepresentation of facts”, calling his claims “primordial antics” fuelling divisive rhetoric in the country.

He stressed that Tinubu would never act unconstitutionally by implementing a budget not approved by the National Assembly.

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