The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has suggested that the presidency is blackmailing Senate President Bukola Saraki by exploiting his case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal to get approval of the legislature for the executive’s $29.960 billion loan bid.
President Muhammadu Buhari in October approached the National Assembly, seeking approval of the country’s 2016-2018 external borrowing (rolling) plan worth approximately $30 billion, the biggest in Nigeria’s history.
But the Senate rejected the request on the ground that the October 20 letter of Mr. Buhari seeking the approval was without detailed information about utilization, repayment plan and sourcing.
This was admitted by the presidency through Mr. Buhari’s assistant on the Senate, Ita Enang, who said the government would work with relevant agencies to collate the needed information and re-submit the request.
With the visits of Mr. Saraki to the State House thrice last week, there are strong indications the Presidency is re-engaging the National Assembly leadership to ensure approval of the loan request whenever it is re-submitted.
But Mr. Fayose, in a statement through his spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, on Wednesday, said Mr. Saraki should not buckle under pressure and should stand against the loan which, the governor said, amounts to ruining Nigeria.
Feelers getting to the public, Mr. Fayose claimed, suggest that the ongoing Code of Conduct Tribunal trial of Mr. Saraki is being used as blackmail to get him to back the $29.96 billion loan.
“Unfolding events in the last few days suggest a dangerous alliance between the presidency and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to ensure the approval of the $29.96 billion loan at all cost,” said Mr. Fayose.
He said the $29.9 billion loan would do incalculable damage to the country’s ailing economy because of the amount presently being used by the federal government to service loan monthly.
“Therefore, Senator Saraki must not allow himself to be seen as using the future of Nigeria as negotiation for his own interests.
“He must know that no matter what he does to the Aso Villa Cabal to achieve their aims, it won’t change their minds concerning his travails.
“He should be reminded that despite that he assisted the Aso Villa Cabal to pass the controversial 2016 budget and cleared all the ministerial nominees, they never stopped plotting to bring him down.
“Instead of collaborating with the Aso Villa Cabal to plunge the present and future generations of Nigerians into the bondage of debt, Senator Saraki should pitch his tent with Nigerians, who are against the $29.96 billion loan and write his name in gold, like Senator Ken Nnamani did when he rejected Obasanjo’s third term agenda,” Mr. Fayose said. fc