Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, has said he has no regrets criticising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for relocating some departments of the apex bank from its headquarters in Abuja to Lagos State.
The CBN had in January announced the relocation of some of its departments from Abuja to Lagos.
Also, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), announced the relocation of its headquarters from Abuja to Lagos.
Reacting, Ndume had criticised the moves, saying there would be political consequences for President Bola Tinubu in 2027 if the planned relocations were implemented.
His comments did however not sit well with many Nigerians who labelled the Borno Senator as an insensitive and selfish person as well as a bigot.
But Ndume, in a statement on Thursday, said his intervention was based on reality and the irrelevance of the action by the leadership of the CBN.
He said since his intervention, 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 CBN.
Ndume noted that though he is a lawmaker, his daughter, and children are qualified to work in any government agency as long as they have the needed credentials.
He said the subtle blackmail would not stop or deter him from pointing out lapses in government, saying it was his own way of assisting President Bola Tinubu to succeed.
The lawmaker 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.
He challenged those attacking him and claimed 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.
While clearing the air on claims that he is the mouthpiece of certain groups, Ndume said as a Senator, he has the right to make certain interventions, adding that he doesn’t speak for the North or Northern senators, but in the interest of Nigerians and Tinubu who 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 which is already populated?
“Since my intervention, people have 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 are saying.
“My two daughters are married to Yoruba men, one from Lagos State and the other from Kwara State. And I have 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.
“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 Ph.D. 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,” he said.