It is no longer news that while Nigerians are still waiting for the commencement of governance, President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly have begun move to approve the sum of Thirty Seven Billion Naira for the renovation of the National Assembly complex.
Indeed, while in our view, there is no question that high-offices such as the National Assembly needs conducive offices to facilitate their responsibilities, but the stunning aspect of this episode going by reports is that at a time when the budgetary allocation for education sector hovers a little above 40 billion and that of the health sector, has become the ripe time for the Federal Government to budget such a huge sum of money for a white elephant project.
Amusingly, some Nigerians have since absolved the FG/lawmakers of any wrongdoing-adding that their demand for the choice of a befitting office is in line with politics which is an act of promoting and protecting one’s interest and not largely a question of the masses party or faction.
The above argument notwithstanding, Ika Weekly Newspapers as both responsible and responsive media organization holds an opinion that the project and the allocated sum are not only mis-directed but ill-timed. This development has also confirmed the peoples’ fear that our leaders are becoming reputed for using public office as an avenue for private gain.
There are so many evidence to support the above assertion.EDITORIAL: OUR POSITION ON STATE POLICE, RESTRUCTURING
First was the Assembly decision to spend N5.550 billion on operational vehicles in a country with slow economic but high population growth- where excruciating poverty and starvation daily drives more people into the ranks of beggars, is not only outrageous but a reality we should all worry about.
Viewed differently, aside from this decision of the lawmakers sending wrong signals to the watching world, what, however, makes the development worth commenting on is that the 9th Assembly is becoming famous for being in the news for the wrong reasons.
This ‘interesting’ sidelight which is by no means unique to the lawmakers have elicited comparison between the lawmakers and the executive arm of government, where the money is also squandered on frivolities- going by the troubling manifestation of insensitivity contained in the 2019 budget.
As an illustration, it will be impossible to believe by sane minds that the President of a country where over 13 million children are presently out of school will allow Hundreds of millions go into replacing his plates and cutlery yearly. 2019 budgetary allocation bears eloquent testimony to this assertion.
This is in our view a practical demonstration of a leadership devoid of prudence and mercy for the masses. And, the more bitterly each round of this situation is remembered, the deeper the pains.
More important than the above, while poor Nigerians depend on their legs to move around, the President has access to fleets of presidential jets. This explains why lawmakers are looking for something close to the cost of an aircraft.
Having said this, it is important to precisely recognize the root of our nation’s inequality and poverty so that we do not pin our hopes on false promises particularly as there is no evidence that our economy is a source of worry. Regardless of what others may, the root of our challenge as a nation lies in institutions within the framework of governance. And the operators of these institutions are in the habit of doing little to spur sustained growth.
And no one seems to have reminded the FG/Senators that as leaders, they are watched closely, that people are noting every move they make, that their followers are learning a great deal about them and what they really believe is as opposed to what they say.