From Fred Itua, Abuja

Chief Whip of the Senate, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has replied Kogi West senator, Sunday Karimi, following the latter’s remarks on Wednesday.

Ndume said it is unpatriotic not to tell President Bola Tinubu the truth about the happenings in the country.

This is coming just as a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe has backtracked his comment on Ndume, stating that the ranking lawmaker was misunderstood.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) alongside the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had earlier announced it would be taking some critical departments to Lagos on the claims that they wanted to decongest its offices in Abuja.

Specifically, the CBN said the departments for relocation are the Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions Supervision, Consumer Protection Department, Payment System Management Department, and Financial Policy Regulations Department.

The plans by CBN and FAAN generated condemnations from different quarters, especially from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

But, speaking on a live television programme on Tuesday, Ndume, who represents Borno South at the Senate, said President Tinubu was being ill-advised by “Lagos boys” in the corridors of power.

“All these Lagos boys who are thinking that Lagos is Nigeria are just misinforming and advising the President wrongly,” Ndume had stated.

While former presidential spokesman Doyin Okupe, and Ndume’s colleague, Sunday Karimi earlier disassociated themselves from the Borno lawmaker’s comment, Okupe backtracked, stating that Ndume means well for the country.

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Karimi said Ndume didn’t speak on behalf of the Northern senators, but Okupe was quick to state that he was impressed with the disposition, candour and loyalty of Ndume to his party and Mr. President.

But, speaking in response to Karimi’s comment, Ndume said he did not speak on behalf of the Northern senators or the Senate, but as a Northerner in support of the majority of Northerners and some Nigerians who are against the action of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo.

“With all due respect, I did not speak on behalf of the Northern Senators, or the Senate but as a Northerner in support of the majority of Northerners and some Nigerians who are against the action of CBN Governor and the Minister of Aviation,” Ndume said while quoting a former US President who said it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, he said: “A famous former American President said ‘Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.

“It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise, he fails in his duty to stand by the country.

“In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else,” Ndume said.

While quoting Theodore Roosevelt, Ndume added another quotation by the same great American President that: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

In his official X account, @doyinokupe, Okupe said he spoke with Ndume for about 30 minutes and was impressed by his sense of reasoning.

“Sen Ndume @Malindume called me & we spoke candidly 4 more than 30mins. I am impressed by his disposition, candor and loyalty to his party and Mr President.

“He means well but obviously there are lapses in the Presidency that have not engendered better consultations on policies. He has my respect,” Okupe tweeted of Ndume