The Director General of Voice of Nigeria and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Osita Okechukwu, on Sunday slammed the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, over his comments on President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the country’s economy.
This came in reaction to alarm on Nigeria’s rising debt profile raised by Ekweremadu, at the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Elective Convention.
According to Okechukwu, in a statement, “our debt profile is rising because of the profligacy of my brother Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) co-travellers, who squandered our patrimony raked during the oil boom era.
“I am surprised that Ekweremadu who allegedly diverted the money meant for Enugu-Port Harcourt major highway to his village road and sundry matters, has the effrontery today to query President Muhammadu Buhari for borrowing interest free interest Suku N100 billion loan to fix Enugu-Port Harcourt, Enugu-Onitsha major highways and similar highways projects across the federation.”
On Ekweremadu’s assertion that in the 16 years of PDP’s administration, Nigeria became the strongest economy in Africa, the VON DG said, “I am not here to discuss creative and phony accounting, which Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iwuala posted to deceive our people. What am saying is that Buhari is borrowing to construct standard gauge railways, and other critical social and physical infrastructure. While the PDP government borrowed $8.3 billion for old gauge of about 1,400km Kano-Lagos, at the same time when the PDP borrowed – 2002-2005, the Chinese did Golmud-Lhasa standard gauge of higher altitude of 1,142km at $4.2 billion. This PDP in action.
“Please, kindly tell Ekweremadu that had they constructed the $23 billion 3 Greenfield Refineries which they awarded to the Chinese on May 13, 2010, Buhari won’t be borrowing to import refined petroleum products today. They should refund us siphoned public finance.”
Meanwhile, Okechukwu who is from the same Enugu West Senatorial zone of Enugu State has come attack from his kinsmen.
Speaking on behalf of Ekweremadu, the Enugu West Peoples Forum described the allegation against Ekweremadu as “mischief of a frustrated and redundant man.”
In a statement made available to newsmen in Enugu, the National President of the Forum and former ranking Member of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Paul Anikwe, said Mr. Okechukwu not only lacked understanding of the Appropriation Act and budget implementation, but was also venting his frustration over his redundancy in a moribund government media house.
The statement further read: “Not only did no such thing ever happen, it is also impossible for Senator Ekweremadu to divert funds meant for one project to another because the power of virement belongs to the parliament on the request by the executive arm.
“But this allegation is not surprising coming from Mr. Okechukwu, who has been a self-appointed attack dog against Senator Ekweremadu and Igbo interest in order to curry favour from the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
“Sadly, all he has got for his efforts is an appointment as the DG of a moribund government media house which nobody listens to. He was never considered fit for Minister of Information, DG of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) or Board member of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
“As a so-called APC chieftain, Okechukwu, our brother and Ekweremadu’s constituent, has never and will never be able to attract as little as a borehole to his hometown. Eke community depends on Ekweremadu for socio-economic amenities, not a loud mouth like him; and this is easily verifiable.
“As a politician, Osita Okechukwu has never and will never be able to win his polling booth, let alone a counsellorship position. He alost his polling both in the November 4, 2017 council election in Enugu in continuation of his losing streak and is therefore of no good use to his party or people.
“Ndigbo and Nigerians should disregard and indeed pity Okechukwu’s over his kindergarten propaganda as he is only trying to fill-in his redundant hours at VON”.