Subsidy palliatives: FG cannot gag Obaseki, says commissioner

By Adeyinka Adedipe

The Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare has said that the Federal Government can stop Governor Godwin Obaseki from speaking the truth in regard to the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.

In a statement on Sunday, Nehikhare said, “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 an 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.

On claims that Obaseki failed to attend the National Economic Council meetings, the commissioner described it as “blatantly false’ noting the governor had attended all NEC meetings since the onset of this administration.

He also re-emphasized the government’s reforms in key areas of the state’s development which he said, had been hailed by many

”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,” he said

He added, “The area where the minister may be referring to as nonperformance 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.

“It is rather unfortunate that the 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 these difficult and trying times that we have found ourselves.”

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