There is a sinister narrative that has gone viral on social media, which laments that major world leaders do not have children but they are making decisions about the present and future of the world. The logic behind the post is that a grossly disproportionate number of people currently making decisions about Europe’s future do not have direct personal stake in that future. The correlation between (in)ability to have children and decision making is not up for discussion today: what I am perturbed about is that Africans, Nigerians in particular, who seem to care about their posterity care less or not about the future of their children.
Recently, the Enugu state House of Assembly passed into law a bill approving that pension be paid to all former governors and deputy governors. This includes salary, medical, furniture and accommodation allowances including houses and cars, which are replaced regularly. Their cooks, chauffeur and security are also well provided for, all at the expense of taxpayers. It is on record that Lagos state was the first to pass this obnoxious law which has since been replicated by 21 states of the federation, Enugu being the latest entrant. This controversial law is currently been challenged in court. One wonders why Enugu state would choose to go the path of infamy and controversy when one considers that many states have had to rely on handouts from the federal government to ensure their viability. The other more pertinent question: is this the priority of Enugu state residents at the moment? Undoubtedly, the answer is in the negative, not even in this recession.
In my view, our lawmakers may need to be reminded of their primary assignment in the chambers. Clearly, many of them are oblivious of their primary assignment, or have chosen to deliberately derail from the honourable path of making law for the citizenry. I am baffled as to how they have decided to repudiate core important matters of nation building that can positively affect the lives of their people, while vigorously pursuing contentious matters capable of self-destruction.
By this act, the state house of Assembly would be denying the majority of people of the state funds meant for development, thereby draining the state and denying the citizens of meaningful development. As if this is not bad, generations yet unborn would have been raped of resources which could be harnessed to better their standard of living.
The average salary of the Nigerian worker based on the national minimum wage remains N18,000. So the annual salary is N216,000. After serving the state or federal government for 30 years, his gratuity and pension is a paltry sum, which often times is neither prompt nor regular.
On the contrary, a governor or deputy governor who served the state for eight years is entitled to hundreds of millions of naira on a regular basis. According to reports early in the year, a whooping sum of over N37 billion has been spent on 47 former state governors and their deputies spread across 21 states in just four years. This is simply immoral and unjust! How do we then want the civil servant to be dedicated to work, knowing that his take home after active service is a miserable sum?
The reality today is that while voters exchange their franchise for quality representation and legislation, the legislature has proved, over the years, to be a lackey to the executive and a burden to the electorates. It is sad how men at the helms of affairs mix delicate matters of governance with the murky waters of politics. Rather than commit the state’s resources to building her manpower who make the wealth of the state, and empower the youths who will define the tomorrow of the country, the lawmakers are expending the state’s scarce resources on tired legs, some of who have mismanaged and diverted the state’s resources into personal property during their reign. The curious and protracted case of Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu state readily comes to mind.
Nigerians need a re-orientation: the leaders and the led, the rulers and the ruled. The pot pourri of the highhanded, wicked and self serving shenanigans of the political class mixed with the apathy of the people is testament to the calamity which has befallen good governance in Nigeria. If this heinous rascality of our lawmakers goes unchecked, we will wake up one day to discover that the 36 states have totally mortgaged, the people left impoverished and enslaved, all marching to self-inflicted colonialism.
Nigeria is in dire need of men and women who understand the urgent need for governance above politics. People who earnestly strive to grow and develop their constituencies above the applause of cronies. We need men and women of noble intentions, and not those who perch on the wings of godfathers.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and other well-meaning civil liberty organisations had better wake up from slumber before this power intoxicated lawmakers make a wreck of our scarce resources and decapitate the hope of future generations. Nigerians need to challenge this loathsome law and the lawmakers from their various constituencies. We cannot suffer under the yoke of oppression of these chief executives while in office, and still allow them to divert our commonwealth long after they leave office. For how long shall we be slaves serving these demi-gods?