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Subsidy Palliatives: FG must not gag elected officials when they speak truth to power – Edo Govt

26 Aug 2023

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. 

Records of Edo State Government’s performance are also available for Nigerians to verify. Our reforms in the education sector, especially the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST) programme has been hailed globally; in the agriculture sector the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) Programme is currently one of Africa’s largest agricultural programs; our radical reforms in the civil and public service with the government’s e-government and capacity enhancement initiatives, as well as the development of a valid and effective Social Register, to mention but a few. 

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 synergise ideas and opinions on how best to carry the country along in this difficult and trying times that we have found ourselves?  

Chris Osa Nehikhare

Hon. Commissioner for Communication and Orientation

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