Ningi: You’re acting PDP’s script, Arewa Initiative flays ACF


The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has been faulted over its position on the suspension of the former chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum (NSF), Abdul Ningi

ACF had flayed the embattled Bauchi senator over his allegations aired on the BBC Hausa Service that the 2024 budget was padded to the tune of N3.7 trillion.

During its plenary last Tuesday, the Senate investigated his allegation. Various speakers, including the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Solomon Olamilekan, in Ningi’s presence, said the amount quoted by the Bauchi lawmaker was for agencies under the first-line charge.

Reacting, the Arewa Initiative for the Defence and Promotion of Democracy (AIDPD), said contrary to claims of the ACF, the Senate actually conducted a fair and transparent investigation on the matter, with the suspended lawmaker given the opportunity to defend himself.

According to the AIDPD’s spokesperson, Tasiu Haruna: “In the last two weeks, we have followed the allegation by Ningi on the 2024 budget and the uproar trailing it. As Nigerians and northern leaders, we were miffed and worried over the allegation that the budget was padded and skewed in favour of the southern part of the country to the tune of N3.7 trillion.

“On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, during the public and live investigative hearing of the Senate, we observed that Ningi, a ranking lawmaker, was acting a script.

His inability to counter the claims by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation that the money was budgetary provisions for the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Judicial Council, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, National Assembly, Public Complaints Commission, North East Development Commission, and other government-owned enterprises, deflated his allegation and should have laid to rest the controversy.

However, we were shocked and disappointed when the spokesman of the ACF, Tukur Baba, issued a statement on the matter. Unfortunately, the forum condescended this low to allow itself to be used for a partisan agenda. The forum seems to have become the appendage of the political machinery of the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, Ningi’s paymaster.

“Our findings have since revealed that Ningi cooked the allegation to advance the cause of his political godfather, the former vice president, who is still nursing the grudge of the 2023 presidential election defeat,’’ the group said.

The group said out of the five key personalities in the making of the country’s budget, three are from the northern part of the country.

“The five key personalities in the budget process are the minister of Budget and Economic Planning, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, his House of Representatives counterpart, and the vice chairmen of the appropriation committees of both chambers.

“The minister, the chairman of the House committee, and the vice chairman of the Senate committee are from the North, while the South has the chairman of the Senate and the vice chairman of the House. We expect the ACF to invite the three northerners to speak on the matter before jumping to a conclusion. This is ridiculously bad for our beloved region.

The Minister, Atiku Bagudu, who is a northerner, faulted the allegation, and described it as baseless and false, yet the ACF decided not to take his assertion, rather it backed Ningi. This is unbecoming of a group that is supposed to be fair-minded in dealing with all northerners and, indeed, Nigerians.

“The ACF should not be seen to be in an unholy romance with the Peoples Democratic Party but an umbrella association of all northerners,” AIDPD said.

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