PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to approve the sum of N10.06bn ($27.6m) to the Kogi State government prompting suggestions that the money could be used to fund November’s forthcoming gubernatorial elections.
Next month, Kogians will go to the polls to elect a new governor in that is expected to be a straight fight between incumbent Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). With the polls just a month away, eyebrows have been raised after President Buhari wrote to the senate today, asking it to approve the payment to Kogi State as a refund for money it spent on federal projects.
In a letter addressed to senate president Senator Ahmad Lawan, President Buhari said the requested amount is for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the federal government to the state for projects executed on behalf of the federal government. he pointed out that 24 out of 25 state governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
However, Ade Adetimehin, the chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the PDP, has accused the ruling APC of planning to use the state’s resources to support the re-election of Governor Bello. He has even accused Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of being part of the plot as he intends to use Ondo State’s funds to back the campaign.
President Buhari’s letter reads: “The distinguished senate president would recall that, based on my request for the resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note programme and a bond issuance to settle inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the federal government, the eighth National Assembly passed resolutions approving the issuance of promissory notes to refund state governments for projects executed on behalf of the federal government. The resolutions of the eighth assembly were conveyed through three different letters from the clerk of the National Assembly.
“The senate may wish to note that, subsequent to resolutions of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 state governments, the federal government has issued promissory notes to all the approved states for the settlement of their claims. Accordingly, the senate is hereby requested to kindly approve, the Issuance of a promissory note in the sum of N10,069,692,410.15 as a refund to Kogi State government for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.”
Upon receiving the letter, Senator Lawan referred President Buhari’s request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative work. However, it is certain to be objected to by PDP senators, especially as President Buhari recently told states to hands off federal roads and stop putting in requests for repairs they carried out.