BY REV. FR. GERALD NWAFOR
After the inauguration of the president, we saw the video of his convoy when he had come back from France before the inauguration. More than 120 cars were on the entourage. The reason the government gave when the public started complaining was that some of the cars were from political surrogates like governors and some bigshots who came to welcome Mr. President.
The shouting died down, and the public was still contemplating the waste before the president nominated 42 ministers, making it an extra six from what we were used to. It used to be 36 ministers, given that each of the 36 states of the federation would get one of their sons or daughters to represent them in the ministerial positions.
The situation escalated recently with the government buying SUVs (Sport utility vehicles) for all the 360 houses of representative members. Each of the cars cost more than 100 million Naira. Meanwhile, the government claims they cannot pay the minimum wage, which is 30 thousand Naira only. They keep telling the poor masses to tighten their belts.
I do not want to believe that Nigerian leaders hate the people they are leading. We used catapults to break glasses while growing up in a remote village. If those cars are bulletproof, I would like to know if they are catapult-proof, too, because this abuse has gotten out of hand. After the eight years of Buhari, in which he spent more than half in a British hospital, he failed to build at least one good hospital but had enough money to send SUVs to the Niger Republic as a gift. Now, the cars will be driven by the successful coup plotters.
I don’t know how I feel about that anyway, because the coup plotters had the support of the Nigerien citizens.I saw a man carrying a bag of rice given to him by the government as a palliative for the full subsidy removal. On the bag was written the APC government, and I was wondering if it was a campaign strategy of just foolishness that the government would put a political party logo on a bag of rice meant for the masses. The money used for the logo could have added a few more cups to the bags of rice. Some states have not started giving palliatives.
Some states have said that they have not received any money from the federal government. Where is the palliative money, if I may ask? I have not heard anything about it in some states. Before I forget, please, those senators and the house members whom the election tribunal and appeal court sacked, what will happen to the largess they collected, like the SUV cars and the prayers sent to their account numbers by the senate president? Imagine Akpabio sending prayers to you. God forbid bad things. Satan cannot see God. Anyways, let us get back to the business of waste in the government of Nigeria. If the minimum wage is 30 thousand Naira a month, how many months would it take a civil servant to buy that kind of SUV?
The answer is very simple: in one year, they would receive 360,000 (three hundred and sixty thousand). So, in thirty-five years of their service, if they are lucky to live that long, they should have received twelve million six hundred thousand (12,600,000). The answer is that never in their lifetime could they buy that SUV, even if they saved every kobo they earned and spent nothing.The political class cannot enjoy this mess for a long time because patience is running out. Our beloved country is at a crossroads. People should not be taken for granted for so long. Sri Lanka is a good example of what can happen when people are looked down upon. The Arab Spring is not very far away from history. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. A look at the 2023 presidential election should serve as a wake-up call to the people asking for good governance. They have tried the ballot boxes to send a clear message, but from all indications, the political class suppressed it.
They tried the judiciary, and the outcome did not look so good. The other options to try are on the table and nobody should be surprised because impossible is nothing unless you quit trying. Let me be simple and common in my logic here because I do not think that the government or their advisers are sincere. The SUV bought from Japan could have been built in Nnewi, and that money would have stayed in Nigeria and given over 1000 people new jobs in Innoson-motos. In these times of fuel wahala, why should the government go for a car that has high fuel consumption? Is it not just insensitivity? Did I see the president of Zambia saying that he needs no new car?
He further buttressed his point by saying that one SUV will put toilets in all the markets in one province and he concluded that any House of Representative member who needs an SUV should buy it with their own salary. I was so happy that we had Daniel as an African president.The luxury of the people in government. The extravagant life and the lavishing of our resources on themselves would implode the system and destroy them.
In our school days, we were told that virtue stands in the middle. And the Nigerian people said it differently, “Too much of everything is bad.” This luxurious life of the people in government is a big source of worry to the suffering masses. Everyone should tighten their belt if they need to tighten their belts. Everyone should cut their coat according to their size because what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Some people should not be tightening their belts, while some others would be feeding large and loosening theirs. It is hypocritical and pharisaic in nature.