FG will award contracts, borrow till May 28 — Fashola


…flags off N90bn Akure/Ado-Ekiti dualisation highway

…Buhari government is bereft of ideas, should not add salt to our injury — PDP chieftain

By Ibiyemi Mathew and Joel Oladele

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has stated that the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to award contracts until the midnight of May 28.

Fashola declared this in Akure, Ondo State while flagging off the N90 billion dualisation of the 49km dilapidated Akure/Ado-Ekiti highway.

Fashola was responding to recent criticisms which the outgoing administration had received over the award of contracts and external borrowing a few days before the expiration of this tenure.

According to him, “It is a juvenile conversation. They forgot, among other things, that the term of this administration ends at midnight on May 28.”

Speaking further, he noted that infrastructural development can only be actualised through borrowing or taxation adding that the project which will cost N90 billion, will be taken care of by Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) through the tax credit policy of the Federal Government.

According to him the project awarded to Samchase Nigeria Ltd. and Kopeck Construction Company is slated for completion within the next 24 months.

Speaking on the procurement act, the Minister asked the 10th National Assembly to amend it, noting that the law was slowing down the country’s development.

“There is a law passed by the National Assembly called the Procurement Act; if you don’t follow it, they will call you a thief.

“That procurement law and the processes that it prescribes are not consistent with the hurry that Nigeria is in for development. And I hope the 10th National Assembly will look at that procurement law and make adjustments. Its intention is good, but the processes slow down the country.

“They forget that you, the people, through your representatives, have passed a budget for us to implement. It is a law. The people then ask, “Why is the government borrowing?”

“The easiest thing to do in government is to say that our revenue is N10 and our work is N10, but that means that nobody should ask for a road.

“If you want development and you have chosen infrastructure—a road, school, bridge, pipeline, refinery—who is going to pay for it?” It is going to come at a cost.

“So that is why the first thing you will see when government, whether at the state, local, or federal level, responds to the needs of the people is an expenditure that exceeds the revenue; that is when you have what is called a deficit. Someone has to pay for that deficit.”

Buhari government is bereft of ideas, should not add salt to our injury — PDP chieftain

A former PDP Zonal Publicity Secretary, South West, Ayo Fadaka has said that the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has proven to Nigerians in the last 8 years that it’s bereft of ideas and should desist from adding to the woes of the country through some of its activities in the dying minutes.

Fadaka stated this while reacting to a statement earlier credited to the outgoing Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola where he said President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to award contracts until the midnight of May 28.

However, speaking to Nigerian NewsDirect on Thursday, Fadaka said if the outgoing administration could not add any value to the country in the last 8 years, he wonders what magic they are up to when it has less than 5 days to leave the office.

He therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet to leave Nigeria the way it is as citizens have resolved to fate while waiting for what the incoming administration will do differently to regain the lost glory of the country.

His words, “An attempt by Fashola to defend his boss’ last minute spending and borrowing can not be taken seriously. The man had 8 years to work. Within those 8 years, we could not see him to have worked for us so reasonably well. Within those 8 years, an economy that was second best in Africa was ruined and Nigerians were sentenced to penury.

“So, I think such an administration that has clearly shown us that it’s bereft of ideas in managing our affairs should have just been preparing to pack his bags and baggage and give us peace rather than putting us in more problems.

“An adage in Youruba land says – The god that cannot benefit us should not add to our woes. Buhari came and added to our woes colossally. While we are thinking that it may be possible for us to have a fresh air, he’s still suffocating our space and still borrowing more money and even thinking of paying judgement debt that has not been paid in all the 8 years.

“Buhari was the President and the Commander in Chief but obviously had no control but his toothpick. It is those people in his government that ruined our nation this much that are still trying to add more to our woes even as they depart. They should please just depart and go away.”

Reacting to whether it’s right for Tinubu to uphold or reverse many of the decisions made by Buhari as his administration is winding up, Fadaka said the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should place national interest above party’s interest.

He  added that those who worked with Buhari led admiration should not be included in his cabinet as they have not proven themselves worthy.

“When Tinubu becomes President, he should please spare Nigeria the people who served under Buhari in his government. Those who worked closely with Buhari also failed us. It’s a collective responsibility, we must have a clean break from such a set of people. They are part of the rot that Buhari represents.

“It’s left to him but I want to believe that he can be patriotic enough to do an audit of the Augean stables to inherit and work in the best interest of our nation as that’s the only thing that can bring Nigeria back from the brink or else we perish together.”

Also speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect, a former National Vice Chairman of APC, South West, Kole Oluwajana, said nobody can fault Fashola’s statement as it’s constitutionally right for any government to keep making decision to the last minute in the interest of the nation.

“They are still in power until the swearing in of the new president. Let them finish what they need to do, it doesn’t make any difference.

“Every government does that, there are things they want to tidy up before they go. So nobody can fault it constitutionally or legally, so why are people complaining? That it’s not legal or not constitutional?

“The road they awarded, for instance the Akure/Ado-Ekiti road it’s something we are so eager about and any government that awards it is acceptable to us. We’ve been crying about it all these years so if they award it before they go, it makes it faster.

“If a new government comes, he will have to settle down. He’s not going to start awarding contracts. So anyone that is complaining has waited for too long and should just wait for 4 more days. Heaven will not fall.”

Reacting to the possibility of government officials taking advantage of such a dying minutes contract to loot public funds, Oluwajana said that can’t be the case of Fashola as he’s one of the most credible and trustworthy ministers under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“Does Fashola look like someone who can’t be trusted with money? He’s one of the most proficient of all the ministers. Fashola is a lawyer, he’s not known to be a brash person. So, I want to believe that he’s doing that in the interest of the nation.

“ For me, even if Akure/Ado road is awarded an hour before they go, I will be happy for it. I just want it done.

“Government is in continuum  and it’s the same government of APC, not an opposition where there can be the possibility of witch haunting the previous administration. That’s one of the advantages of handing over to someone from the same party.

“The new president can only step into the shoes of his predecessor and continue with his program and improve on it where necessary without any disruption,” Oluwajana said.