A public affairs commentator, Mohammed Sanusi, has weighed in on the issue of the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, with a cautionary appeal to President Bola Tinubu not to pander to sponsored blackmail and media trial to sack her from his cabinet.
Sanusi said that no strategic leader would lose a selfless and zealous cabinet member of the kind of Edu in response to sponsored blackmail and campaign of calumny.
He described Edu as one of the most active, innovative, responsive, and result-oriented ministers in President Tinubu’s administration.
According to him, “many Nigerians have watched from the sidelines as she deployed her selfless zeal in bringing succor to those in need.
“In under 140 days, she had visited and successfully initiated various grassroots interventions that had significantly touched the lives of the poor and vulnerable in over 15 Northern states, and some in the southern part of Nigeria as well.”
“She has brilliantly represented Nigeria in many National and International fora, successfully attracting donor support to the humanitarian and poverty alleviation Ministry.“For once, the poor and vulnerable across the country can testify to the fact that they are actually benefiting from the Federal Government’s various programmes.“In the context of the above, why would any strategic leader lose a Betta Edu over paid blackmail?”Sanusi further claimed that the young and passionate Betta Edu had responded swiftly on behalf of the federal government to humanitarian crises in all parts of the country.Read him: “Little wonder that due to her absence from office when the Ibadan explosion occurred, the federal governments’ humanitarian assistance had scarcely been felt by the victims till date.
The same goes for the victims of the renewed Plateau crises. God forbid another crisis should occur, without her at her post.”Sanusi alleged that the suspension of the Minister followed a well-coordinated week-long negative media campaign, coordinated by several known influencers, and heavily sponsored to the tune of over a million dollars from within and outside Government circles, all in a bid to get Dr Betta Edu suspended and ultimately sacked as punishment for exposing the N44 billion fraud in National Social Investment Programmes Agency (NSIPA).He claimed that the names of persons paid, their teams and their sponsors were already known to the public with evidence of payment.
According to him, “Unfortunately, this has become the new trend in this administration, and the opposition is cashing in on it with the belief that once you pay for a media blackmail on anyone in government for one week, the President will suspend or remove the person.“Presently, payments have been made to blackmail the Chief of Naval Staff to ensure he is removed, other paid campaigns are ongoing against the Chief of Staff to the President, another Minister (name withheld) and even the CBN on its latest reforms to better position itself by moving some departments to Lagos.
“These negative media campaigns are succeeding in heavily distracting government from achieving Mr President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, by forcing it to constantly react to these paid media blackmails.“A lot of government ministers have become weary in doing their work for fear of these organized social media hoodlums. The reluctance stemming from uncertainty as to whether their principal will see through the white noise and protect his “A” team, or give in to the paid propaganda.”He continued: “These distractions are not actually targeted at the foot soldiers, but rather at the President himself. The game plan is to take down all the President’s best hands, ensure his government has no impact, and ultimately get him voted out for poor performance in 2027.
”Sanusi also stated that three weeks after the suspension of Betta Edu, it had become clear to all that it was one-week paid campaign of calumny against her to ensure she got suspended just because she exposed a 44 Billion Naira transfer in an agency on her watch.“The public now understands clearly that the Federal Government Financial Regulations in Chapter 14 (1402.iii) which talks of advances states clearly that for disbursement of funds for Non-Personal Advances for projects/ special programmes, the leader of the Project/Special Programme shall be the accounting officer and shall approve all payments, while the Accountant of an appropriate grade shall be attached to each project/ special programmes and have responsibility for the disbursement as well as retirement of Non Personal Advances”.
“The question is, was the money paid to the account of a project accountant of an appropriate grade? The answer is yes! Was the money disbursed to beneficiaries? The answer is yes! Did any funds go to Dr Betta Edu’s account, or was any funds used by her? The answer is NO!“If these are the facts, why would any strategic government suspend one of its best hands rather than reform its financial regulations if it is not comfortable with any aspect of it? Betta Edu didn’t write the Financial Regulations; she met it there. It is the same practice in all ministries with evidence to show to that effect,” Sanusi posited.He expressed his worries over sustained plot to distract the Tinubu administration.“This is a young government of eight months and must be given the benefit of the doubt to bring reforms that will change things for the better.
“President Tinubu, who many believe would be one of the best Presidents Nigeria has ever produced, should immediately take charge of his government, reinstate his minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, restart his social protection programmes with better checks and balances, reform the Federal Government Financial Regulations and take control of the Media narrative.“Media aides in this government and few disgruntled APC members should not be used to fight their own government because of personal interest. The President must get back in the driver’s seat and not allow single narratives that verge on media propaganda to direct his actions. “Professor Wole Soyinka said last week that barbarians on social media have taken over government.
This must be stopped!”Sanusi said that detractors working to see that the government went down, who had perceived that Betta Edu might be reinstated soon, had paid for a new media campaign where they had told lies about President Tinubu.“They are stating that he (President Tinubu) has ruled out the return of Dr Betta Edu. Meanwhile, at no time did the President ever made such an assertion, but he is rather waiting for the investigative report from the panel he set up.“I am happy that the President knows better than to throw his best hands under the bus over cheap blackmail.”