Nigeria is a challenging place to be hopeful, yet Nigerians are the most optimistic people on earth. Two recent events justify my allusion. The Senate President recently motivated his co-senators with an announcement that exposed them.
He announced the credit of their accounts with an undisclosed amount of money to enable the senators to enjoy the recess. Unknowingly to Godswill, he was on public camera and quickly recalled his statement.
Akpabio has nothing to be afraid of. For the ruling elites, Nigeria is a country without consequences. They have immunity, and they are unaccountable to anyone.
It is a case of who is auditing the auditors. Who’s regulating the Senate? Akpabio needs no motivation to change his ways. He has been embroiled in many corruption cases, yet he is unscratched.
Though I love his political calculations and the result he achieved for himself, this is one of the things to change if we must see a Nigeria of the anticipated future. Abimbola Adelakun, in her Punch article, exposed Akpabio’s multiple cases with the EFCC and how the senate president represents our political system where people escape being accountable, especially under the wasted years of Buhari.
Buhari was noted to do worse than anyone in all parameters, including the fake anti-corruption crusade that took him to office. Akpabio is not motivated to change, and Nigeria will continue to live with the leadership disaster we have been experiencing since independence, except there is accountability and consequences for political elites.
What salt upon injury! Ali Ndume came out to acknowledge how dirty and explosive Akpabio’s statement was to the senators. He further showed how entitled he and his group were by saying two million is not bad as a leave or recess allowance for a senator of the federal republic.
What’s unique about being a senator? What contributions or sacrifices are the senators making in this challenging time?
I don’t envy President Bola Tinubu. In a sane society, no one should agree to be a president now when the past administrations have mismanaged the country in all spheres.
They were clueless about the importance of Nigeria’s diversity; they were numb about the suffering of Nigerians and how to revive the economy but were sensitive to syphoning money and enjoying the benefits of their political leadership positions without making any impact for a country with enormous resources yet a dwarf among its peers.
The decadence is everywhere. In the private sector, the so-called business moguls are shop owners who put their interests ahead of any other considerations. It is a game of permanent magnets with no permanent friends or enemies. They reward and promote stooges who hide things for them and protects their interest.
The Presidency and the Senate need to make open the remuneration of the political office holders, including the ministers, and how much of it will be the sacrificial haircut
The destructive effects of our leadership tsunami are that people behind us are learning the wrong philosophies. Leadership positions in business or politics are now avenues to get money and power and build underserved inheritances for their children while the masses suffer in pain.
Who needs the two million allowances more? That is the question I would want Ndume and our senators to answer. Nigerians have been asked to endure and make sacrifices because of subsidy removal and the floating of the naira. What gifts have the senators made? How many of their allowances have been reduced to reflect the current financial reality of the country? Yet, they continue to beg the ordinary citizen to bear with the new government amid hunger and deprivation.
The new government is not to be blamed. The sponsor of the mess of the last eight years is now the messenger cleaning the messes he helped to create. All his decisions should have been taken sixteen years ago if the PDP and the APC could take us to the next level. I doubt if Peter Obi and his noisy followers can do better because they are the same products of the same polluted family.
Nigeria is blessed, and the story of Mustapha Gajido, a school dropout in Maiduguri, is new evidence. For those who think the North is a problem because their leaders placed religion above education in the past or religion is the problem, here is a story of a man converting conventional buses into electric vehicles to make life better for the people around him. His converted vehicles are with immediate impacts.
They carry few passengers and charge N20 less than the conventional one. Who needs the two million naira more? Is it the likes of Gajido who have ideas that can radically uplift Nigeria or people who screen and seats to talk without impacts and yet have access to public funds to allocate to themselves?
Nigerians are suffering, and there are many innovative Gajido across the country. Yet, we have a governance structure that is the most expensive in the world and fuelled by nepotism and corruption.
TvIt was once circulated that an average senator receives twenty-nine million nairas monthly. This is an unconfirmed figure circulating on social media. If this is true, and in this challenging time, we have ‘stealnators’ collecting what is not due to them and above their productive capacity and contributions to Nigeria. That’s why an average person making more contributions to society wants to close their factories and join the Senate or the House of Representatives. There is always a forerunner to every dream. Orji Kalu was once an employer of labour with factories in Ota. That is a motivation for another entrepreneur to seek a political post or options for cash flow generation.
Nigerians are passing through the most challenging time in history, and the likelihood of blaming the government is high. It is not enough to ask the poor people who are finding it difficult to breathe to make sacrifices without living by example.
The Presidency and the Senate need to make open the remuneration of the political office holders, including the ministers, and how much of it will be the sacrificial haircut. They can redeem the badly damaged image of the political class and avert an uprising by the people. It is so bad that some politicians or officeholders cannot travel to see their people without fearing being lynched. The recent effects of the economic restructuring will push people to fight the politicians if no steps are taken.
I was in a discussion against the insinuation that the military might attempt a takeover of power as a contagious effect of what is happening in some African countries. I know democracy is the best form of government but not the expensive democracy and the one without public accountability. We, therefore, need to reduce the amount spent on governing the people if we genuinely want the masses to breathe. While we would not entertain any military incursion into politics, the only losers, if it happens, are the ruling class, not the breathless masses. But we would rather be civil and demand the politicians to be more accountable than entertain any decree and forced marriages that the military imposed on a diverse entity like Nigeria.
President Tinubu is sharing the palliative with Nigerians as a person who believes in true federalism. The fear is still corruption and the doubt in the ability of those in the state and local governments to do things rightly. With his approach, there is a need to restructure Nigeria to be a true federation in revenue and power sharing. One of the reasons why Nigerians are clamouring for the dismantling of the elephant is lopsided appointments and nepotism which Tinubu’s administration has prevented so far. We need to maximise the benefits of our diversity by putting the proper structure in place. True federalism is where equity, justice, diversity, and inclusion reign. Undoubtedly, the military will destroy the country more than it is. Still, the lack of accountability and desire to make sacrifices by politicians can mar the benefits of democracy.