EduGate: APC govs, Peter Obi back Tinubu on probe

Aliya Moses
10 Min Read

Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have weighed in on the recent suspension of handlers of the nation’s social investment programmes, including the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, asking Nigerians to be patient as President Bola Tinubu would only take further actions based on the outcome of ongoing investigations.

The presidential candidate of labour Party, LP, in the 2023 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, also threw his weight behind the President’s action, asking him not to spare anyone involved in the financial malfeasance in the ministry.

The governors, acting under the platform of Progressive Governor Forum, PGF, spoke as APC Professionals Forum, APF, hailed the swiftness with which the President responded to the allegations of malfeasance against the suspended minister, saying the development had sent a strong signal to all federal appointees that the President meant business with his Renewed Hope Agenda.

The governors, who on Wednesday night converged on Abuja to chat the way forward for the party in 2024, also expressed strong support for the Tinubu administration.

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Those present at the meeting held as Imo State Governor’s Lodge in the Asokoro district of the nation’s capital include the host, Senator Hope Uzodimma (Imo), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Mohammed Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Nasir Idris (Kebbi), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) and Uba Sani (Kaduna).

Others are Lucky Aiyedatiwa (Ondo), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi), Ahmad Aliyu (Sokoto), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq among others.

On the suspension of Dr Edu, chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and governor of Imo State, Hope Uzidimma, said: “The functions of a government include encouraging good things, good appointees, and discouraging bad things and bad appointees.
‘’But as it has to do with what you just said, it’s just an allegation and in the wisdom of the president, is being investigated.

’It is after the investigation is completed and the report made available to government that the government will now take final decision. So don’t be in a hurry and don’t allow any sickness like anxietyserosis.’

Recall that Edu came under scathing criticisms after a leaked memo on December 20, 2023, revealed that she directed the Accountant-General of the Federation, Dr. Oluwatoyin Madein, to transfer N585.19 million to a private account owned by Bridget Oniyelu, who the ministry said currently serves as project accountant, Grants for Vulnerable Groups.

Consequently, she was suspended by President Bola Tinubu and has been undergoing interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Ahead of the February bye elections and rerun, the APC governors also expressed readiness, saying
“our party is prepared to go into any election any time.’’

Uzodimma, who noted that the essence of the meeting was to review events in the country, said: “This is the first meeting since the beginning of this year, and the meeting afforded us the opportunity to review the goings on in the country and also agreed on how best to continue to support our government and our party, with a view to maximising the the benefits of the current policies of the administration.

APC govs united “The progressives governors are united in supporting APC administration, led by our President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. We will continue to support him. We will take his policies to the grassroots and subnational leaders of our great party and ensure that our people come on the same page with the thinking of the government.”

Uzodimma said the important objective of the administration was to secure the country and provide adequate welfare to Nigerians.

In a related development, the APC Professionals Forum has commended President Tinubu for his swift action in suspending his appointees whose actions in office had been found questionable in the course of discharging their duties.

“His decision has renewed the hope of majority of Nigerians in the fight against corruption and malpractice in public offices,”, said former governor of Bauchi State and the Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Forum, Dr Isa Yuguda.

He said it was the considered opinion of the forum that the move further re-emphasized the importance President Tinubu has placed on integrity, coming few months after he introduced Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, for his appointees in order to ensure optimal performance .

“With this, we are quite optimistic that a strong signal has been sent to public officials to focus on democratic deliverables as promised in the Renewed Hope agenda and not to be distracted by frivolities that could embarrass the President Tinubu-led administration and our great party, the All Progressives Congress APC.

We are also glad that the President has acceded to our position on cost of governance by slashing expenditure on all foreign and domestic trips by all officials of his administration, including himself.

“This is not only commendable but also a good way of leading by example. We look forward to more.

“We, however, urge the government to continuously recruit progressive-minded, loyal party members as well as thorough bred professionals with high standard of ethics into other positions yet to be filled by the administration,’’ Yuguda said.

Don’t spare anybody, Peter Obi tells Tinubu

Also yesterday, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, asked President Bola Tinubu not to spare anybody found culpable in the alleged scandal involving the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu.

Obi, who made the appeal in a statement via his verified X-handle, said the government should go beyond the suspension of the minister and carry out a comprehensive investigation into the matter.

He described Edu’s suspension as a welcomed development, calling on the government to give the problem of public sector corruption severe urgency.

Obi lamented that a ministry created in good faith to attend to the plight of the suffering masses was being turned into a conduit pipe to steal from the poor, as seen in the current and previous ministers of the ministry.

I like to add my voice with most Nigerians concerned about accountability in government and judicious use of public funds, to welcome the suspension of Edu, and subsequent directives for her investigation.

“The investigation must be comprehensive so that all those culpable are brought to book,” he added.

The former Anambra governor cautioned against taking the issue lightly, saying the suspension of the minister should not be a window-dressing action but rather a peg to get all those deserving of blame punished, just like the minister.

Obi said: “By a sad coincidence, the alleged fraudulent diversion of N585 million of public money by Edu broke almost at the same moment that the minister who held the same portfolio in the last administration is being investigated for a whopping N37 billion misappropriation.

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The ministry may have been created by the system as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds while using the poor as a face.
“Equally worrisome and disgusting is the fact that the missing funds are meant for poverty alleviation in a time of severe suffering among the people.

“Unfortunately, the ruling elites can shamelessly convert, divert, or misappropriate such huge sums meant for the poor and cannot be trusted to address the severe poverty ravaging the people.

“It is not only immoral but also insensitive for those entrusted with funds for public welfare to steal from the poor.’’
He called on the Tinubu administration to use these cases to initiate a thorough system-wide and systematic investigation of all reported cases of fraud and corruption among high government officials in the country.

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