BY BRIGHT JACOB
The Edo State Government has taken a swipe at the Federal Government over its reaction to a statement by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Obaseki, while speaking with journalists in Benin City on Wednesday, described the Federal Government’s palliative concept as deceptive and fraudulent.
The governor also expressed shock and fear about the Federal Government’s inability to plan and effectively respond to the effects of the fuel subsidy removal policy that has further impoverished Nigerians.
But the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, slammed Obaseki over the comment on the performance of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
Idris stated that he was not surprised by the statement credited to the Edo State Governor.
The new Information Minister accused Obaseki of shifting focus to the nation’s economic challenges as cannon fodder to divert attention from his poor performance at the state level since his move to the People’s Democratic Party.
But in a statement Sunday, Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, expressed displeasure with the Minister’s statement.
Nehikhare stated that it was unfortunate and sad that the Federal Government now wants to gag citizens and even a popularly elected governor from speaking truth to power.
The statement read: “The Edo State Government wishes to express its displeasure on the recent press statement credited to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris, over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s comments regarding the Federal Government’s handling of the resultant effects of the removal of fuel subsidy.
“It is unfortunate and sad that the Federal Government now wants to gag citizens and even a popularly elected governor from speaking truth to power and expressing himself in the light of the perilous times we have fallen into.
“This action of the Minister is reminiscent of what happened in 2021, when Governor Obaseki raised the alarm over the irregular and illegal printing of money by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The claim that Governor Godwin Obaseki failed to attend the National Economic Council (NEC) meetings is blatantly false. The governor has attended all NEC meetings since the onset of this administration, and records are there to prove this fact.”
The statement further mentioned some of Obaseki’s achievements and performances in the education and agriculture sectors and urged Nigerians to verify them.
It further clarifies what the minister might be referring to as non-performance.
The statement added: “The area where the Minister may be referring to as non-performance should be the condition of the extensive federal roads running through the state, which the Federal Government has abandoned and even prevented us from intervening to repair, claiming that contracts for their repairs have been awarded.
“Isn’t it rather unfortunate that the Honourable Minister in his first outing has taken this untoward route when he ought to be reconciliatory and seek to synergize ideas and opinions on how best to carry the country along in these difficult and trying times that we have found ourselves?”