The Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, expressed concern about what he deemed a significant amount of mismanagement by the APC administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Taking to his X handle on Monday, Obi highlighted the proposed N20.5bn earmarked for renovating Vice President Kashim Shettima’s residence.
He underscored that this amount could cover the annual salaries of 3000 university professors, each earning around N400,000 per month, totaling approximately N5 million per year.
Earlier, Obi had criticized the government for reportedly sponsoring over 1400 delegates to Dubai for COP28, labeling it as wasteful. He continued to criticize the administration for allocating over N20 billion for both renovating the Vice President’s residence and constructing a new office space.
“Even as I am still studying the 2024 fiscal budget as presented to the National Assembly last week, I cannot wait as I am compelled to ask what is exactly wrong with us as a country. I ask this question because it is hard for me to understand some of the recent happenings in our nation, in these critical times.
“The recent news about a budget provision of N15bn for the construction of a new residence for the Vice President is both shocking and disheartening, considering the many important challenges facing our nation,” Obi said.
He recalled that recently in the Supplementary Budget, N2.5bn was included for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Abuja, which means that he already has a residence.
“During the budget presentation, I heard the sum of N3bn was allocated for the renovation of the Vice President’s residence in Lagos. If we total all these sums, we would have budgeted the sum of N20.5bn for the housing of the Vice President at this critical time when we are not just the world’s poverty capital, but more people falling into poverty, with so many Nigerians not knowing where their next meal will come from.
“Just to give an example, the salary of a professor in a Nigerian university is about N400,000, which without removing tax is about N5m a year. What we have budgeted for the housing of the Vice President who is already luxuriously housed is, therefore, the annual salary of about 3000 professors,” Obi said.
He said that the budget of N5bn for student loans, which is yet to be disbursed is only a tiny percentage of the cost of the Vice President’s new home.
He said, “We are projecting to use four times the amount for educating ALL Nigerian indigent students to house the Vice President, and we are being told there is nothing wrong with us. I am sure the major teaching hospitals in Nsukka, Lagos, Ibadan, and Zaria did not receive this much capital vote in the budget this year.
“Our leaders must therefore stop the recklessness and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. We need leaders who show compassion and are willing to sacrifice for common progress and development. Such compassionate and frugal leaders are critical in our journey to the New Nigeria.”