By Debo Alabi, Lokoja
The call Wednesday by the Senate Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to stop the relocation of some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from Abuja to Lagos, has been disputed by his colleague in the Northern Senators Forum, Senator Sunday Karimi (Kogi West).
Recall that Ndume, in a Channels Television interview on Tuesday, had warned Tinubu that there would be political consequences for his action, claiming that the President was being misled by a cartel of ‘Lagos Boys.’
The latest reaction came from the senator representing Kogi-West, Karimi Sunday, who described Ndume’s position as “personal and does not in any way represent a position taken by the Senate.”
He stated this on Wednesday pointing out that it was needless attaching ethnic or other sentiments to the relocation of the offices, which according to him was done for cohesion and better delivery of services.
The senator stated, “Leaders need to avoid utterances that will heat up the polity and cause division and disaffection amongst the federating units of the country. For example, the headquarters of 96 per cent of all banks in Nigeria is in Lagos. The staff of the Banking and Supervision Department of the Central Bank often travel to Lagos to check their books at the headquarters. it will therefore save costs to have that directorate in Lagos.
“Also, Lagos remains the hub of aviation in Nigeria; for operational efficiency, it is better to have FAAN in Lagos. What is important to our people in the North and Nigerians as a whole is how decisions of government will affect their lives positively and put food on their table at cheaper prices. They are not to be bothered by any ethnic sentiments on the relocation of offices of federal ministries and agencies. Senator Ndume’s position is personal and doesn’t represent the position of the Nigerian Senate.”
It was learnt that the northern senators forum had not taken an official formal decision on the issue, preferring the option of an investigation.
During the forum’s last meeting, where the issue was raised, the members had urged caution on taking a hasty position, calling for a full investigation to be conducted before any intervention, including legal processes, would be explored.
“When this issue was raised for discussion on the platform of northern senators forum, the Chairman of the Forum, Senator Abdul Ningi, cautioned on the need to exercise restraints. That no one should jump into conclusions or read political meanings into the decision. There is the need for a proper investigation before taking a position. I want to believe that our President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not act in any way to undermine any section of the country, the decision would have been made for the cohesiveness of units within such organisations”, one member had stated.
While speaking during the interview, Ndume had alleged that a group of powerful persons (Lagos boys) around the seat of government was responsible for the President’s decision, warning of consequences the President might not be able to reverse whenever they began to unfold.
He stressed, “Some of them think that they know better than everybody. But, they don’t know anything.
When you don’t know Nigeria, you only know Lagos, then you start doing things as if Nigeria is Lagos. Lagos is in Nigeria. That’s a wrong decision.”