Monthly Archives: Jan 2014

It’s Just 14 years, You Can Do It – By Saatah Nubari

This is probably the third time I’ve opened my PC to share my opinion on the anti-gay bill; and two times I’ve had put it back after starring at the blank Word screen for minutes. But today is different; I’ve done the more difficult task of reading the opinion of the gay proponents without habouring any hate, resentment or grudge towards them. I’ve seen from their point of view, and it is only natural that I try to lend my voice to that of the vast majority of Nigerians who support this law, and, let them also, see from our own point of view without resenting us.

To be truthful, there is nothing reasonable in the argument made by gay proponents that the new law is inhumane and will breach the fundamental rights of those who wish to practice this abhorring act. Let us remember that there’s no part of the new law that states that being gay deprives any individual of his right to life, to associate freely, to speak freely and the rest. This law is simple, too simple not to be understood, and it is even worse when you claim to be an author, literary critic, “intellectual” and yet do not understand this simple and uncomplicated piece of writing.

Nigeria is a very conscious country when it comes to morals. Don’t get me wrong, we are hypocrites! And very good pretenders, but this is different. That 98 percent of the population, both illiterate and literate are not in support of gays cuts a long story short, very short: WE DON’T LIKE IT. The Nigerian legislature should be commended, they’ve learnt something good, they’ve learnt to be pro-active rather than reactive, to prevent rather than to cure. But 2 percent of the population is not happy, and out of this 2 percent, 1 percent can be said to live outside the shores of this country, that’s if not all 2 percent of them live outside the shores of this country in the first place.

I went through the comment thread of one of my friends on Facebook, a literary critic, who’s a gay proponent, and one of the comments was quite hilarious and shallow. This young lady was maybe trying to impress the writer of the post or maybe she was trying to show how learned she was and how the 98 percent of us were stupid, but I think it backfired, without her knowing. She said “This gay bill is cruel and full of shit.

I really love how the world is watching and how people are poking fun, humour and ridicule to Nigeria and the bill. Nonsense. The bill has given us stable light, ended violence, ethnic hate, rape, bombing, looting, etc. Rubbish draconian law. Shity….”I viewed her profile and wasn’t surprised to see her location; she was not even residing in the African continent, even the literary critic too. I don’t blame them, they happen to be a part of the African problem, habouring that strong belief that anything white or not fromAfrica is the best.

Well, I’ll do my best to correct the thought process of the person behind the earlier quoted words. First of all, the gay bill is not cruel and full of shit—the world is. What we have succeeded in doing is making sure that the world doesn’t infect us with this diarrhea and make our country stink of this new menace.
Well, I also love how the world is watching—as a matter of fact they should make sure the put on their 3D glasses so as to have a good viewing pleasure. We have sat for so long, watching, mouth open, as they move the world towards barbarism. They can poke fun at us as long as they want to, we have and will continue to prove to them, despite in small measures, that being a developing nation doesn’t and won’t make us re-enact their mistakes and folly.

To the very “intelligent”, “intellectual” and “concerned” Nigerians who share the view that the passing of the anti-gay bill into law has not given us stable light, ended violence, stopped ethnic hate, stopped rape, stopped bombings and stopped lootings, let me be quick to remind you that not passing the anti-gay bill won’t still give you the stable power, end the bombings, end rape and so, move on. Well, as for those of us who think the new law is draconian, be kind enough to understand that for every barbaric act, there should be an accompanying draconian law to stem it—that should be the Nigerian law of motion? Never mind.

I will want to point out that I am not in support of the lynching of gays, neither do I hate gays, I just happen to detest what they practice, which is not in conformity with my religion.

I’ll continue to say that being a “developing” nation is good; we have the chance to not make the same mistakes that the “developed” nations made. And the fact that we somehow look up to them in some aspects, this shouldn’t be taken for weakness and shouldn’t lead to arm twisting. Colonization ended more than 50 years ago for us and trying to force us to accept what we don’t want to accept won’t be possible. To the 2 percent of Nigerians who think we are backward, stupid and inhumane because we WON’T support the act of being gay, well, I’ll accept those adjectives if they are just synonyms for being civilized, African and above all, sensible.

Shakespeare said “Hell is empty, the devils are here”. I think he made a mistake; he might have been trying to say that “Hell is empty, gays are here”. To all the gay proponents out there, I’m not mad that you’ve decided to support an abhorring act as this. I just wish your parents were gay. And to all you pro-gay Nigerians, who want to garner attention from this, keep it up. Don’t just tweet, Facebook and write articles from the US or Europe, come to Nigeria and carry a placard, after all it’s just ten years in Kuje or Kirikiri—and just so you know, they don’t have TV or air conditioners there.

Source: NewsWireNGR

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Posted by on Jan 25, 2014 in Opinion


PDP Confirms Alleged N19.8Billion Thief, Adamu Mu’azu As Party Chairman

A former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu whose corruption case is still pending with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,, EFCC has been appointed the new chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Adamu Mu’azu is been investigated for allegedly misappropriating N19.8 billiion of public funds while he held sway in Bauchi state.

The National Executive Committee, NEC, of the PDP approved the election Adamu Mu’azu, as the new chairman of the party pending the election of a new chairman.

The Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, who presided over the election of Mr. Mu’azu, quoted section 47 (6) of the party’s constitution which empowers the NEC to elect a new official to fill vacancy created by the resignation of an elected official.

The motion for the nomination of Mr. Mu’azu was moved by the Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, and was seconded by Senate Leader, Ndoma Egba.

The new chairman was immediately sworn in.

Mr. Mu’azu, a two-term governor of Bauchi State (1999-2007), is accused and being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of misappropriating N19.8 billion of public funds while he was governor.

Before emerging PDP chairman, he was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2013 to chair the board of the Pension Commission, PENCOM; an appointment that was criticised by anti-corruption groups including the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG.

The TMG protested the appointment, saying it was morally wrong for the president to appoint a man being tried for corruption to such a high office.

Mr. Jonathan and the National Assembly disregarded that position and proceeded to clear the former governor for the position.

The TMG’s statement at the time reads in part, “The Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, is astonished and peeved by this move of the President, especially in the light of the fact that the former Governor is yet to be cleared by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of the corruption charges he is facing for allegedly defrauding the coffers of Bauchi State to the tune of N19.8billion when he was Governor of the State,” the group said in a statement on Monday.

“This and other similar acts of Mr. President, particularly his penchant for surrounding himself with famed corrupt individuals, makes his government’s so-called anti-corruption efforts a laughing stock, for it is patently obvious from his antecedents that President Jonathan endorses corruption.

“The EFCC is investigating Mr. Mu’azu for allegedly stealing billions of naira belonging to Bauchi State during his term as governor between 1999 and 2007.Other names forwarded to the Senate for confirmation as Commissioners of PENCOM include Chinelo Anohu-Amazu (South East), Reuben Omotowa (North Central), Mohammed Ka’oje (North West), and Adesojo Olaoba-Efuntayo (South West).But the group said that appointing Mr. Mu’azu to head the commission is in line with his practice of shielding corrupt individuals.

“TMG recalls that in the heat of the corruption charges against the same Mu’azu Adamu, President Jonathan appointed him in 2011 as Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),” said the statement signed by Ibrahim Zikirullahi and Eddy Ezurike, the group’s Chairman and Publicity Secretary respectively.

SOURCE: The Paradigm


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Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Opinion


Who’s Deceiving The President? – By Dele Momodu


Fellow Nigerians, the perennial crises rocking the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, came to a sub-crescendo a few days ago.

The prophecy of what to come had long been foretold on this page when I pleaded with Daddy, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, not to take a problematic and trouble-prone job from such an unruly assemblage that has never been known to keep its promises or indeed, its house in order.

My plea was anchored on the fact that Alhaji had worked too hard, and for far too long, to become a global citizen and he did not have to downgrade his status and profile to the level of a local champion. I believe that Alhaji had already become a fixture on the world stage and should have avoided the type of altercations that he subjected himself to in the past two years which led to his being harangued and demonised by politicians who ordinarily should defer and kowtow to him.

Like all mortals, Alhaji felt he had the chance of using his wealth of experience in business, politics and advocacy to sanitise an undisciplined political party. Every time I watched and listened to his speeches, I knew he had boarded a wrong train at a wrong time and a wrong station. He was at best an alien in a strange land who only forlornly settled on the perpetual hope that a miracle would happen and this people would learn to do things differently. Unfortunately, that was not the case and the rest has now become history.

While I do not want to join in crying over spilt milk, I think it is pertinent to chronicle events as they unfolded for the sake of history and posterity. Alhaji had emerged from the shadows as a rumoured candidate of the President. Ordinarily that should have provided him a cast-iron protection against all malevolent forces prowling around the PDP headquarters in Abuja. But the President has not been that lucky to have such a firm grip on his party not to talk of the nation. He had won the 2011Presidential election by a sizable and substantial margin. His popularity rating was also good enough. His spin doctors had managed to project him as the man to inject new life and prosperity to Nigeria. He appeared to be the much-needed elixir to propel Nigeria beyond our wildest imagination. Given all these positives much was expected of the President and any candidate he championed would have felt he could go to sleep with his eyes closed.

Promises of a Transformation Agenda were made. To be fair to President Jonathan, he managed to bring some distinguished personalities on board his cabinet. I had commended his choices at the time and hoped this powerful selection of some erudite and distinguished Nigerians in the midst of many political warlords would help activate and actualise his dreams. I had no doubt that with genuine dedication and total commitment, the nation would have moved forward sooner than later. But things started going wrong almost as soon as the Government was sworn in.

I must confess that it has not been an easy ride for our dear President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, since his assumption of full Presidential power in 2010 after the demise of his former boss President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The best one year he enjoyed was the moratorium he gained from that unfortunate death. He also amassed some equity and tremendous goodwill from the meekness he displayed and endured in the face of daunting challenges and incredible intimidation from the cabal prior to that time. It was the insurance he needed to carry him through the 2011 Presidential campaign and election. There was also the God as well as the good luck factor!

However, on January 1, 2012, of all days, all that God’s will and good luck evaporated. The President in a most reckless move announced the total eradication of petroleum fuel subsidy as if this was some beautiful Christmas and New Year’s gift combined. It turned out to be such a cruel joke which many initially felt could only be an April fool’s trick in January. The people of Nigeria responded in kind. On January 9, highly determined demonstrators spilled to the streets like locusts and nearly paralysed the activities of government. This particular demonstration was new to our shores in the manner it brought out both the rich and poor in a common fight against what Fela would have called “Government Magic.”

The Federal Government soon reversed its erratic decision even if it succeeded in increasing the pump prices of petroleum products to some extent. As usual various government megaphones made promises they knew they would never keep. They rhapsodised on how they would cushion the effect of the subsidy elimination. Committees were set up rapidly in order to douse the fire of rebellion. The President pledged to reduce the regularity of his foreign trips and cut down on the number of people on his entourage. If he kept those words, especially by being less profligate, life would have been much better for everyone. Rather than abate, government spending exacerbated and went through the roof. Those arrested for scamming the nation in the subsidy regime which had led to the crisis in the first place merely went on circus shows put together by the Government on television and ably conducted and reproduced by the National Assembly as Pantomime. Till today, nothing has happened and life has moved on as usual.

The next hope of Nigerians was in the power sector with the unusual forceful performance of Professor Barth Nnaji. For the first time, for as long as I can remember, Nigerians started rejoicing that light was becoming more regular in most places. But before we finished clapping, our hopes were dashed. We woke up one morning and by noon the architect of that fresh inspiration was gone. Till this day I’m not able to understand what went wrong. For some of us, our position was simply that: if Lucifer can come down to fix electricity in Nigeria, so be it. Since the exit of Professor Nnaji, we’ve gone back to the dark days of epilepsy and induced coma in the power sector.

In the midst of all this, a fight broke out within the ruling party in a very strange manner. What started like a rumour soon took a nose dive for the worst. It was alleged that the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Mr Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, was nursing a secret ambition to act as running-mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State. In little time, the rumour had left the beer parlours to the seat of power in Abuja. Those who should have managed the rumour-mills and downplayed whatever fantasies Amaechi dreamt simply chose to go to war. Those who felt Amaechi was an arrogant man for being self-opinionated found the chance they had been looking for to damage his relationship with the President beyond repair. This was the beginning of total bedlam.

The Presidency itself declared outright war against Amaechi. It was decided that he would never be allowed to contest the Chairmanship of the NGF for a second time. Everything was done to discourage and neutralise him but the highly determined man would not be cowed. He went ahead to contest and defeated the purportedly mightier forces of President Jonathan. As an astute politician and statesman, the President was expected at that stage to promptly recognise Amaechi’s leadership and postpone their fight to another date and venue but he didn’t. Instead he acted exactly the opposite. The world was scandalised that the President recognised 16 Governors above 19. It did not end there, the PDP, in a most belligerent manner, went all out to suspend the Governors of Sokoto and Rivers State without ascribing any particular sin to them. While the Sokoto State Governor got his own suspension lifted, that of Amaechi became indefinite.

The battle shifted to the Rivers State House of Assembly where a few legislators attempted to impeach an elected Governor. It took some kamikaze effort on the part of the Governor to retain his job. Blood flowed but, thank God, no one died. Those who chose war instead of peace should have seen the futility of their efforts but they never gave up. The Nigerian Police was dragged into the matter. I often sympathise with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, a perfect gentleman who has to carry out imperfect instructions from the top. He has not been able to remove his Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu who has become a politician in uniform by attacking the Governor and his supporters regularly.

The enemies of Amaechi are free to organise and implement demonstrations at will but the Governor’s supporters cannot enjoy the same privilege. Even after matters came to a head recently and amidst public outcry, when a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, was shot at for daring to organise a pro Amaechi rally under the aegis of the Save Rivers Movement, Joseph Mbu has not even been redeployed. In contrast Service Chiefs were unceremoniously removed for ills nobody in the Presidency has thought to mention to Nigerians other than state that this was done by the powers conferred upon the President by the Constitution. As if that could ever be in doubt! In any other civilised country Mbu would have fallen on his sword and resigned.

The President has continued to pretend that the situation in Rivers State is normal and perfect. But his advisers are not doing him any good. A President is expected to protect the interests of every citizen regardless of political differences. Governor Amaechi and company who departed PDP in anger would probably have remained if things were better managed. War has never been the final and ultimate solution to conflicts. Peace must come after bitter wars. Why not opt for peace from the onset and save some time and resources?

It is really sad that Alhaji Bamanga Tukur became the fall guy of this crisis because he presided over a difficult party at a bad moment. He paid dearly for trying to stay loyal to a President who has chosen to surround himself with warmongers and hawks rather than peacemakers and doves. What’s the essence of going from Church to Church when we can’t forgive our own Brothers? The President needs to dispense with the militant approach to civil matters. If the headache is all about winning elections, the President need not fight any war. He did not fight to get power, why should he fight to retain it.

My simple advice is that he works harder in the next few months to complete some of his pet projects. He should ensure that students are able to learn in a more conducive environment. This should be a major priority of his government as a former lecturer and scholar. He should pump more money into job and wealth creation rather than the mere pittance currently allocated to this sector. He should cut government spending and show that he truly sympathises with the plight of the generality of Nigerians. He should worry less about those who have left his party and worry more about those within who may still jump ship any moment from now. He must look up towards God for continued blessing and protection and look down at the suffering majority and offer them hope. He should stop distracting himself with mundane issues when he can fix his gaze on a glorious destination.

Let me conclude with a Yoruba proverb: A man carrying an elephant on his head should never worry about the ants on the floor.

I pray I’ve not wasted my unsolicited advice as usual and that God will enter the hearts of our leaders.

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Opinion


Sovereign Wealth Fund Makes Every Norwegian A Millionaire


While Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) remained shrouded in secrecy and controversy, Norway has managed its SWF prudently such that on Wednesday, everyone in Norway became a theoretical crown millionaire in a milestone for the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund that has ballooned thanks to high oil and gas prices, reports Reuters.

Set up in 1990, the fund owns around 1 percent of the world’s stocks, as well as bonds and real estate from London to Boston, making the Nordic nation an exception when others are struggling under a mountain of debts.

A preliminary counter on the website of the central bank, which manages the fund, rose to 5.11 trillion crowns ($828.66 billion), fractionally more than a million times Norway’s most recent official population estimate of 5,096,300.

It was the first time it reached the equivalent of a million crowns each, central bank spokesman Thomas Sevang said.

Not that Norwegians will be able to access or spend the money, squirreled away for a rainy day for them and future generations. Norway has resisted the temptation to splurge all the windfall since striking oil in the North Sea in 1969.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen told Reuters the fund, called the Government Pension Fund Global, had helped iron out big, unpredictable swings in oil and gas prices. Norway is the world’s number seven oil exporter.

“Many countries have found that temporary large revenues from natural resource exploitation produce relatively short-lived booms that are followed by difficult adjustments,” she said in an email.The fund, equivalent to 183 percent of 2013 gross domestic product, is expected to peak at 220 percent around 2030.“

The fund is a success in the sense that parliament has managed to put aside money for the future. There are many examples of countries that have mot managed that,” said Oeystein Doerum, chief economist at DNB Markets.

Norway has sought to avoid the boom and bust cycle by investing the cash abroad, rather than at home. Governments can spend 4 percent of the fund in Norway each year, slightly more than the annual return on investment.

Still, in Norway, oil wealth may have made the state reluctant to make reforms or cut subsidies unthinkable elsewhere. Farm subsidies allow farmers, for instance, to keep dairy cows in heated barns in the Arctic.

It may also have made some Norwegians reluctant to work. “One in five people of working age receives some kind of social insurance instead of working,” Doerum said, despite an official unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.


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Posted by on Jan 12, 2014 in Opinion


Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Dies at 85


Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is dead. He died Saturday, January 11, after eight years in a coma. Sharon was 85. The former general suffered a stroke in January 2006 and has been hospitalized since.

Sharon died at Sheba Medical Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Tel Hashomer.

He was in his fifth year as prime minister when he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006, which left him comatose.

Ehud Olmert, who became interim prime minister after Sharon’s stroke, assumed the role of prime minister after leading the Kadima Party to an election victory in March 2006.

Sharon’s career was closely tied to Israel’s relationship with Lebanon.

During the Lebanon war in 1982, Sharon, a former army general then serving as Israeli defense minister, was held indirectly responsible by an Israeli inquiry in 1983 for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. He was forced to resign.

Sharon formed the centrist Kadima in an effort to build political support for his controversial plan to turn over Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Palestinian control.

As waves of suicide bombings by militants rocked Israel, Sharon sent tanks and troops into Palestinian towns, ordering assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders.

Sharon ordered construction of the barrier through the West Bank and confined then-Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, whom he called “a terrorist,” to his compound in Ramallah, accusing him of encouraging attacks on Israel.

This veteran of all of Israel’s wars was a national hero to many.

In 1953, after a wave of terrorist attacks from Jordan, Sharon the military leader led the infamous Unit 101 on a raid into the border town of Kibya, blowing up 45 houses and killing 69 Arab villagers. Sharon said he thought the houses were empty.

In June 1967, as a general, Sharon led his tank battalion to a crushing victory over the Egyptians in the Sinai during the Six Day War.

But what he considered his greatest military success came in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War. He surrounded Egypt’s Third Army and, defying orders, led 200 tanks and 5,000 men over the Suez Canal, a turning point in the war.

As defense minister, Sharon was the architect of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, an occupation meant to stop the Palestine Liberation Organization from using Lebanon as a base for attacks on Israel. The attack was disastrous.

Sharon was born on a farm outside Tel Aviv. The son of Russian immigrants, he always remembered a lesson from his father as he ascended to the highest office in Israel.

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Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 in Opinion


Of CBN, Prisoners’ Swap and Foolishness of British Government


Rumours are rife that Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is on his way out the system; becoming Edward Snowden on the $49 billion Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) missing money was a taboo.  The disclosure attracted the ire of President Jonathan and his lieutenants who obviously felt the man should keep mum or just discretely ask for his share of the money since it is just one of the shareable national cakes.

And lest I forget, I am particularly angry with the authorities of Number 10 Downey Street.  Why on earth would Britain government go into prisoner swap agreement with Nigeria. 

I do not know of any Nigerian that would prefer Nigerian prison to British jail. Exceptions would be the likes of James Ibori who was justly incarcerated for litany of crimes, (and who, like similar accomplice and partner in crime Diepreye Alamieseigha, will eventually get opprobrious presidential pardon and rewarded with titles, contracts and political recognition). 2015 general election is near, and the wisdom some criminals are needed on all fronts.

I bet many will prefer British kennels to slums and hell that wait whoever is repatriated back to Nigeria in the name of prisoner swap.  Foolishness of British government in the deal becomes more pronounced with the offer of millions of pounds to improve Nigeria prisons.  The money will just go the usual way.  Only a problem in the sharing/stealing formula may make us here anything of the money again.

And it seems British obviously do not know we offer spiritual pardon in Nigeria.  And even if church services in honour of such convicted criminal fails to offer shamefaced spiritual cleansing, Nigerian judiciary is likely to unconvict the convicted (Chief Bode George comes to mind). Political connection and a portion of what is stolen/embezzled/syphoned, etc. are the only requirement.

Except there is a clause that forbids presidential pardoning for political criminals whose actions exacerbated Nigeria’s current social, political, infrastructural and economic problems, then the whole agreement is charade.


The writer, Femi Olabisi, twits @Femiolas

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Opinion


The Budget: Why Some Animals Are More Equal Than Most Nigerians – Japheth Omojuwa


2014 may be a New Year but as far as Nigeria’s 2014 budget goes, it is the same old absurdity. If there is anything that stands the 2014 budget proposal out from those of recent years, it is that our budgets are getting better at getting worse. Many New Year resolutions are likely to have been made by Nigerian public officials, easing the burden of poverty on Nigerians is definitely not one of them.

This is not a statement without an empirical background. If the budget is the most important document of a government’s commitment to its people and their well-being, the 2014 budget tells one a lot about where the government’s priorities lie.

According to the 2014 budget proposal, the State House will have two animals delivered to it this year for N14.5 million. That’s about N7.25 million for each animal if they come at the same price. At least 80 per cent of Nigerians must understandably be jealous of both animals because 80 per cent of Nigerians don’t have N14.5 million in any form, cash, liquid, in form of animals, properties or whatever. Those animals will come in already richer than most Nigerian citizens. At least one cannot say the government is not committed to animals. All animals may/may not be equal but some animals are definitely more equal than Nigerians. Most Nigerians will never get a chance to look through the windows of Aso Villa, so there will never be a thing about seeing the animals, men and women dine on the same table, let alone see them share a semblance.

While you may never have earned N14.5 million your whole life, two animals will be bought for the entertainment of our President and his friends. The job of a president is a tough one and we must understand that. Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said that 100 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty conditions. The Federal Government has understandably faulted that claim.

To emphasise the fact that it does not believe such claims, the government rather than look to unburden these Nigerians from the weight of poverty, has instead dedicated more money towards the continued beautification of the seat of power. You cannot say Aso Rock does not need beautifying. How many Nigerians even know what Aso Rock looks like so how will they even know if the President even lives in a poor environment? To ensure that is not ever the case under this administration, N1.5 billion will be used to upgrade the facilities at Aso Rock villa this year. If you don’t know what Aso Rock looks like, you at least know what N1.5 billion sounds like and if that is what will be used to upgrade Aso Rock this year, you must begin to have an understanding of the worth and look of Aso Rock itself.

If the cost of upgrading the facilities gets you remembering the fact that your next house rent is due soon enough, I believe knowing that N8 million will be used to upgrade the zoo at the Villa will get you upbeat about the fact that, if these animals can have their zoo upgraded with N8 million this year, maybe you will one day at least find that amount of money to build your own house. You probably don’t have a car yet or your car is as tattered as the cars of most of the people in government before they got government appointments, don’t be sad about that. N25 million has been dedicated to track the cars in the Presidential fleet. Who wants to go and steal cars in Nigeria’s most guarded Villa? There is a new jet on the way, which will bring the Presidency’s fleet to 11 jets. At that number, if the Federal Government decides to float an airline with those aircraft, they’d immediately be the second biggest airline in Nigeria. Who says we can’t rent jets to African Presidents like Malawi’s Joyce Banda who sold the country’s only presidential jet and about 60 cars? You cannot blame President Joyce Banda for caring about her country’s poor citizens. You cannot exactly say our President does not care either. For instance, the 2014 budget dedicates N76.3 million to the purchase of crested cutlery, flatware and glassware. Whoever says we are no longer the giant of Africa has not been reading up on our 2014 budget.

I will confess to you right away; it was depressing enough to see some line items in the budget, it is even more depressing to remember them all over again just to write this piece. In case your children are wondering whether they will ever see typewriters again, please let them know the Interior Ministry intends to spend N3million on the purchase of typewriters. You would have to agree computers are too mainstream for these ones but do computers even cost up to N3 million? Na wa o. The Ministry of Information will spend N300 million to wash the government’s image in the foreign media during the year. This particular line certainly makes sense considering how much washing the image of our government constantly needs. Something dirty is always going on and the washing needs to meet the rate of the dirtying.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adokie, is not left out of the budget bazaar. His ministry will spend N181.3m on uniforms in 2014. You’d have to expect those uniforms to come with gold, diamond and Emerald studs. N1.8 billion was earmarked to connect Bayelsa State to the national grid but alas! Bayelsa was already connected to the national grid almost a decade ago. This N1.8 billion if passed, will not be misappropriated, it will be swallowed altogether. You cannot say all of these absurdities are not in line with the transformation agenda that has since emphasized the government’s commitment to the promotion of impunity and unheralded corruption. Stella Oduah’s Aviation Ministry expects to spend N208 million to plant flowers and trees in the country’s five major airports. This is marginally less than N255 million for two BMW cars so you cannot say things have not improved. They have improved from cars to trees.

So then what will Nigerians do? These are just a few of the absurdities in what has to be the country’s worst budget in decades. Recurrent expenditure has increased, capital expenditure has reduced. Virtually every dime allocated to the former will get spent, this administration has never reached 40 per cent performance level for capital expenditure since coming on board.
The lawmakers will sit over this budget proposal and you would expect them to do the right thing; remove the weeds from this budget. That’d of course mean reducing the National Assembly’s N150 billion allocation. N469 citizens of the National Assembly get to have a bigger budget than 23 Nigerian states of about 120 million Nigerians. If any political party that means well and wants change has any form of representation in our National Assembly, now will be the time to take a stand for the Nigerian people. If they pass the 2014 budget, as dysfunctional and as anti-ordinary Nigerians as it is, we can safely say, whatever political party we vote for, of the current parties represented in the National Assembly, it will still be the same faecal composition of just another bull. Let’s admit it; we the common people of Nigeria need help! These folk are more equal than us.


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Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Opinion

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