The Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has stated that telling lies in the face of indisputable evidence of bad leadership, poor economic management and general insecurity, which has thrown over 133 million Nigerians into debilitating poverty, cannot excuse the Federal Government’s economic managers from blame for poor performance and unforgivable blunders.
Osagie was responding to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba who, during a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, blamed Nigeria’s 36 state governors for the 133 million people who have descended into multidimensional poverty.
He noted that much as the Minister blamed the 36 state governors for the development, Edo State has maintained a transparent budgeting and fiscal management regime with the routine publication of its annual financial reports and other financial dealings for public scrutiny, a trend which, Osagie noted, cannot be said of Agba’s ministry and its sister agencies.
Osagie said the prudent management of the state’s finances is responsible for its high ranking in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, which placed the state among the seven states that are least impacted by multidimensional poverty in Nigeria.
Addressing Agba’s claims, the governor’s aide said: “It is rather unnerving that the Federal Government, which takes the lion share of the revenue accruing to the three tiers of government will turn around to accuse the two other tiers of government for failing the people. The Federal Government takes 56 percent from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) and shares the balance 44 percent between the States and Local Governments.
“In a time when these revenues have continued to dwindle as a result of the poor management of the economy by the Federal Government, who now resorts to borrowing to pay its workers, it is laughable that Agba is casting aspersions on states as a pretext to hide their failures.
“At this juncture, it is also pertinent to ask the question: what is the geographical jurisdiction of the Federal Government? Is it not just the Federal Capital Territory and a few terribly managed Federal Government infrastructure within the various states of the Federation? Where does the Federal Government spend its allocation?
“How will it dare to absolve itself of blame when a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which it commissioned, returned a verdict of failure in the wake of its parroting of an ineffective Social Investment Programme (SIP).”
Osagie said that despite increased government spending on security and defense, the handlers of Nigeria have severely failed to secure the people, with many unable to go about their lawful businesses around the country.
He said: “It would be putting it mildly to say that the Federal Government has failed abysmally on security, which has not only affected movement, a key economic activity, but also farming, which contributes about 70 percent to Nigeria’s GDP.
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“It is so bad that our people in the rural areas cannot move around and take their farm produce to market as a result of insecurity. The inability to move has obviously affected their economic status and everyone would confirm that this has seriously affected their wellbeing, leading to multidimensional poverty.”
Osagie noted that while the Minister had charged governors for not constructing rural roads, it is telling that rural roads that have been built cannot be used because of the activities of bandits and kidnappers, who now operate unhindered along these roads.
“After spearheading the demise of the country’s economy, Agba’s attempt to shift the blame to the state governments is disrespectful to Nigerians, to say the least.
“Nigerians deserve a public and unreserved apology from Agba. He should advise his bosses and work with his colleagues to reduce poverty and suffering in the country.”