Ndume: My daughter works at CBN – but I spoke the truth about moving offices to Lagos

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Ali Ndume, chief whip of the senate, says although he has a child that works in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), his comments on the proposed movement of the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and some offices of the apex bank to Lagos are “the truth”.

Last week, the senator representing Borno south said there would be “political consequences” for moving the aforementioned offices.

The senator made the comments following the recent announcements that these offices will be relocated to Nigeria’s commercial centre.

The development elicited varied reactions, with northern stakeholders like the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Ndume’s who outrightly rejected the decisions.

Particularly, the whip’s intial comment elicited outrage in some sections of the social media.

While Doyin Okupe, a former presidential aide, said Ndume’s comments were capable of sparking a crisis, Sunday Karimi, senator representing Kogi west, said his colleague spoke for himself and not for the senate.

However, Okupe backtracked later, saying the Borno senator meant well for the country.

In his defence, Ndume said his comments were borne out of patriotism for the country.

‘I SPOKE THE TRUTH’

Speaking with TheCable on Monday, Ndume said his comments that there would be political consequences were the truth.

“Even if my ward is working in CBN, is she the only person that is going to be transferred to Lagos? There are hundreds of people that they planned to move to Lagos. Whenever an issue like this crops up, instead of addressing the issue, the people and some of the reporters will now concentrate on the messenger, not the message,” he said.

“So this is the kind of distraction, let us discuss. Is it necessary at this time to relocate some of these departments and agencies of government back to Lagos. Why was the capital moved from Lagos to Abuja, was it not because of congestion, because of inconveniences, because of inefficiencies?

“And since then, Lagos has been expanding. This argument that they are forwarding, that it is for efficiency. What efficiency? In today’s world where you can do transactions electronically, you can do meetings by Zoom, you can communicate by WhatsApp, you can transfer documents by PDF. There is no excuse there [decision to move CBN, FAAN to Lagos].

“Coming to the political issue, yes, it must have consequences because when Tinubu was elected, he was not appointed, he was elected.

“Then even if I have a ward there, my daughter or my son or whatever, which I do, I should not say anything if I see something wrong going on, I should not speak because my daughter is there, that does not work.

“You see, somebody has to stand up to speak the truth. That is what I am trying to do.

“Let’s say I have a ward in CBN. Is there anything wrong with that? My daughter for example or my son or whatever, because I am a politically exposed person, does that take the right of my ward or my relative to work in CBN? That is one.”

The Borno senator expressed confidence that Tinubu will take the right action on the issue.

“I am in APC and proud of APC. One of the staunch supporters of Mr President,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the people outside are trying to be more catholic than the pope. The pope knows me very well, that is Tinubu, he knows I speak the truth. Tinubu will do something because he knows I spoke the truth. There will be political consequences.

“Haven’t you seen the reaction from the Katsina elders, northerners generally, are against this move. Is it not true that he will seek the votes of northerners in 2027?

“Is it not true that northerners again or the opposition will take advantage of this too? Now they [section of the north] are telling us ‘we told you that this man is a tribalist, look at what he is doing. In one year he has started making moves to hurt the north’.”