The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to focus on its statutory duties of ensuring monetary stability and tackling inflation rather than shifting its offices to other locations.
Ndume said he has no regrets for criticising the plans by the apex bank to relocate some of its offices from Abuja to Lagos.
The lawmaker, who is representing Borno South at the National Assembly, said his intervention was based on reality and the irrelevance of the action by the leadership of the CBN.
Ndume said since his comment, some elements have been using a section of the media to attack his personality and question the credentials of his daughter, who is a staff of the CBN.
He said that though he’s a lawmaker, his daughter and children are qualified to work in any government agency as long as they’ve the needed credentials.
He said the subtle blackmail will not stop or deter him from pointing out lapses in government, saying it was his own way of assisting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in succeeding.
He said he’ll never be deterred from speaking truth to power whenever those saddled with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the country err.
The lawmaker challenged those attacking him and claiming that he harbours ill-feelings against the Yorubas to show their pan-Nigerian credentials, revealing that his two daughters are married to Yoruba men and have both given him five Yoruba grandchildren.
Instead, Ndume called on the CBN governor to focus on stabilising the monetary situation in the country, especially the spiraling exchange rate and the rising inflation, rather than dwelling on relocation of departments to an already-populated Lagos State.
He said that as a Senator, he has the right to make certain interventions, while clearing the air on claims that he is the mouthpiece of certain groups.
Ndume said he doesn’t speak for the North, nor the Northern Senators, but in the interest of Nigerians and President Tinubu, whom he has enormous respect for.
“I stand by what I’ve said about the relocation of FAAN and some departments of the CBN to Lagos State. If it is about decongestion, Lagos is not the right place. There are CBN offices in all the states of the Federation. Why move the departments to Lagos that is already populated?
“Since my intervention, people been using a particular newspaper to attack me and saying that I hate the Yorubas. They’re ignorant and they don’t know what they’re saying,” Ndume said, adding, “My two daughters are married to Yoruba men, one from Lagos State and the other from Kwara State.
“And I’ve five grandchildren who are Yoruba. How can I hate them and allow my daughters to marry them? Those saying I hate the Yorubas, how many of their sons and daughters are married to Hausas or Northerners? I’m a true Nigerian.”
Ndume added: “They’ve also been questioning the fact that my daughter works at the CBN. They should check her records. She’s a Nigerian and she’s qualified to work anywhere, including the CBN.
“I’ve been the one pleading with her to remain there. She’s almost done with her PhD and she wants to go to the classroom as a lecturer. She’s a brilliant lady.
“Instead of these attacks on my person, the CBN should do its job and address the rising inflation and stabilising our exchange rates. They should leave me alone.
“President Tinubu is my friend and he knows that I support him 100%. He appreciates honest feedback and will not tolerate what these people around him who are becoming a political cartel are doing.
“I’ll continue to speak the truth and point out areas where corrections are needed. That’s my job as a senator. It is not personal at all,” Ndume added.