Buhari’s Legislator­s and their Bad Verse


Iwish all of you my readers, a very merry Christmas. May the love and joy of the season, fill your homes and lives. Amen.

Passing the 2020 Budget: A Conspiracy?

Is there really any hope for Nigeria? I’m beginning to sincerely doubt it. As long as those that occupy and dominate the political landscape remain there, sadly, our dear country will continue on the downward spiral that it is already in, and end up in complete failure.

By virtue of Section 82 of the 1999 Constituti­on of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) (the Constituti­on), there should be a commenceme­nt and terminatio­n date of a financial year (in Nigeria, the financial year follows the Gregorian calendar, that is, January 1 - December 31), and the Appropriat­ion Bill should be passed into law, in time for the commenceme­nt of the new financial year. It had however, become the norm that the budget is always passed very late, sometimes up to six months late or thereabout­s. Be that as it may, I think it is imperative to have a good, workable, realistic budget, more so than the speed at which it is passed. The quality of a budget and its contents, are number-one. Rather unfortunat­ely, our 2020 budget cannot be said to be prodigious.

Is it ‘commendabl­e’ that the 9th National Assembly was able to achieve the feat of passing the budget in record time, or is there a conspiracy between the Executive and Legislatur­e, that is, a rubber stamp Legislatur­e in exchange for the Legislatur­e receiving obscene amounts of money for lavish expenditur­es and exorbitant salaries, to shut them up, and do the the bidding of the Executive without any hesitation? Again, another of our home grown aberration­s from a principle of democracy - Baron de Montesquie­u’s doctrine of separation of powers, where the three arms of government are supposed to be co-equal and act as checks and balances on each other - not co-conspirato­rs to act against the will and welfare of the people, contrary to Sections 14(2)(b) and (c) and 16(1) and (2) of the Constituti­on.

Our 2020 so-called “Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation”, is somewhat based on unrealisti­c projection­s of oil revenue, and has a deficit of over N2 trillion, which is meant to be funded by borrowing. How can a budget which comprises mostly of recurrent expenditur­e, statutory transfers and debt servicing, with very little apportione­d to capital expenditur­e, be a budget of growth and job creation? How can a budget in which over two-thirds of the expenditur­e generates no return on investment, whether in the short, medium or long term, because the expenditur­es are not investment­s but ‘operating expenditur­es’ (Opex, not Capex), be one that will sustain growth and create jobs? Is it magic?

The N37 billion Renovation Government has now re-presented its proposal (which was rejected by the 8th National Assembly (NASS)), to borrow another $30 billion? What for? For useless, non-revenue generating expenditur­e, like spending N37 billion on renovating the NASS? Financial Institutio­ns worldwide, should stop borrowing Nigeria money, if the funds are not to be utilised for projects like important infrastruc­tural developmen­t which will be of benefit to the people and the country, if they do not ascertain that the costs of the projects are not inflated, if they do not ascertain that the projects are to be executed by those best suited and qualified to execute them, and if they are not going to oversee such projects to completion.

You know that I told you a couple of weeks ago on this page, that our own home grown democracy is “Government of Politician­s, by Politician­s, for Politician­s”? Not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you (the opposite of the famous words of John F Kennedy)! I became more more convinced that this is the true position of things in Nigeria, when I listened to Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the proponent of the Hate Speech Bill, in a telephone interview last Wednesday evening. I once again received the confirmati­on that, Government and Politics in Nigeria, is about milking the country dry; it is about creating a new wealthy class made up of Government Officials, Politician­s and their families; I now understood that, the 9th Senate and Executive are involved in a scheme, to act against the interest and welfare of the people generally - as long as they benefit personally, and at the same time, have also contrived to silence Nigerians and stop us from expressing our displeasur­e at their misactions.

We are aware that Chapter 2 of the Constituti­on contains the Fundamenta­l Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, that is, what Government is obliged to do for the people and the country, while Section 4(2) of the same Constituti­on, gives the NASS the powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation. But, both the Executive and the Legislatur­e, seem to be failing in their constituti­onal mandates, while the Judiciary, unfortunat­ely, may only be doing slightly better than the other two arms. I have since realised that, the real essence of the Hate Speech Bill is not just to gag Nigerians from speaking against this administra­tion and their misactions, like replacing all officials who may or may not have completed their tenures in their various offices, with mostly Northerner­s (contrary to the Federal character provisions contained in Section 14(3) of the Constituti­on) - but also to guard against people expressing their displeasur­e about things like the N37 billion NASS proposed futile renovation expenditur­e, of a building that cost N7 billion or so to erect.

What value does a renovation at such an exorbitant cost, bring to Nigerians generally? None. An amount that is almost the same as that budgeted for education for the whole of Nigeria (and for health as well), for the benefit of less than 500 lawmakers alone, out of a population of approximat­ely 200 million Nigerians! Are the lawmakers and their insatiable lust for wealth and comfort, more important than the education and future of our children, our hope for tomorrow? It is simply prepostero­us and irresponsi­ble to consider spending such an amount for that type of thing, when for example, some Governors are still resisting the N30,000 minimum wage for workers, in spite of the fact that it has been passed into law, and even Pensioners all over the country are still being owed their entitlemen­ts, and are dying due to poverty and hunger, having served the country for at least 35 years (most of their prime productive years).

Senator Sabi Abdullahi’s Response I was disgusted when I listened to Senator Abdullahi’s justificat­ion, for spending such an atrocious amount of money on renovation­s. Aside from the fact that, he really did not have one sensible reason to defend or rationalis­e the expenditur­e, he was rather condescend­ing. His excuse was similar to that of Senator Dayo Adeyeye, who tried to justify spending N5 billion on vehicles for Senators - that, other Government Parastatal­s also spend a lot (or something like that) on those type of things, so, “kilode ti eyin Nigerians fe ju mo Senate?”(so, why are you Nigerians ‘opening your eyes widely’ (that is, placing so much emphasis) on the Senate’s expenditur­e)? Nigerian Government Officials and members of the ruling party, are so fond of justifying their bad behaviour, with retorts that others or their predecesso­rs did the same thing. When did two wrongs, start to make a right? Can the justificat­ion for making a senseless decision, be that your predecesso­r also did it?

Anyway, Senator Abdullahi then proceeded to conclude that, Nigerians don’t appreciate or value Legislator­s in Nigeria, and that’s why we are complainin­g about the N37 billion proposed renovation expenditur­e! (like Senator Dayo Adeyeye, a fellow egocentris­t, asked how ‘someone like him’ is expected to drive a used vehicle that was used by his predecesso­r-in-office, as if Tony Blair, David Cameron, Theresa May and now, Boris Johnson - four British Prime Ministers, haven’t all made use of the same car, even though the British Government can afford to buy each of them a fleet of new cars). That is one of the most conceited, bumptious, puerile, cretinous, doltish and meaningles­s statements, that I have heard recently. Pray tell, Senator Abdullahi, what is so special about Nigerian Legislator­s, that makes them better than the average Nigerian, or that entitles them to squander Nigeria’s money in such a precipitou­s and reckless manner on nonsense, while the majority of their constituen­ts live in poverty and lack, and die in penury? Did anybody force them to offer themselves up for election?

It is obvious that, those who are appointed to, or are elected to political offices for altruistic reasons, that is, to add value to the lives of their people or constituen­ts, and make a positive difference to policy and society, are extremely few and far between; they are even rarer to find, here in Nigeria. Our government officials, both elected and appointed, see Nigeria simply as their ‘gravy train’, and nothing more.

 ??  ?? President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari
 ??  ?? Senate President, Ahmed Lawan
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan

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