By Adeola Aderounmu
Sanusi Lamido said that the Nigerian lawmakers gulp 25% of the Nigerian National Budget. He said this in his capacity as the Chairman of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Ayogu Eze the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media said that was an exaggeration. In his analyses he said that it is only 3.5% of the Budget.
Dimeji spoke at Unilag and reiterated that he hoped that Sanusi was misquoted.
It may be true that on paper, our lawmakers are wasting 3.5% of the Budget. Yes, waste because for real I don’t see what those people are doing. I think they are just wasting time and money with their level of efficiency and the low level of intellectual discussions in both houses.
How did Sanusi reached his 25% conclusion? The man is not an illiterate and if there is something he knows, it is how to calculate money-in and money-out.
Who knows? Sanusi’s conclusions may have come from a more realistic approach. He is the Chairman of the Central Bank. This means that he has a very good grip of money flow in the Nigerian economy. He probably made his deductions from what he knew and what he saw-money flow to the lawmakers account. More explanations from Sanusi will avail much.
I am tempted to think along that line, I would say on paper, 3.5% but with all the allowances, exaggerated estacodes and all sorts of funds drawn for various dubious reasons then 25% may even be an understatement.
If Sanusi lied then he should be sacked with immediate effect. He must know if it is 3.5%, 25% or something in between. He said 25% and the rest of us have to take him for this words because he is the custodian of our treasury. I’m sure Mr. Sanusi knows other avenues that Nigeria’s monies have leaked away.
In plain terms if the Nigerian house of Assembly and Representatives take 3.5% of the National Budget, that in itself is even too much.
In a country of 150m people, a handful of people in Abuja earmarked to themselves a whooping 3.5% (on paper) of the country’s wealth. We also need to find out how much the executive and the judiciary arms have allocated to themselves. In rough statistical estimates it means that over 10% (on paper) of Nigeria’s wealth is legally embezzled by Politicians at the national level only!
Our optimism about a prosperous Nigeria must address these sorts of anomalies. We can’t build a virile nation when a few people are taking away more than 10% of the wealth because they are politicians. In reality and based on Sanusi’s revelations, we are probably talking about more than 50% of Nigeria’s wealth in private pockets.
It is therefore not surprising why poverty and hopelessness pervade the land north to south, east to west.
My suggestion is that all salaries and allowances of Nigerian politicians should be reviewed downward to tally with what is obtained in the Federal Ministries. Politicians are not gods and they should by no means earn more than the rest of the people in public services.
Nigerian politicians should start earning from N7 500. Why not? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Why should politicians be earning millions of dollars when the minimum wage in Nigeria is still less than N10 000 per month? This is gross social injustice that is worse than both racism and xenophobism.
Nigerian politicians are spoilt and rotten. They get so much for doing so little. Nigerians must wake up from their slumber.
Political offices must be made to become an avenue to serve and not a means to be rich or to loot. The salaries and allowances of the politicians across Nigeria are great anomalies.
3.5% or 25% of the National Budget are both unrealistic figures for a few men and women if Nigeria really wants to set the country on the path of economic recovery, social justice, fairness and the good of all.
Nigerians must also know that one of the reasons why politics is a deadly game is because of the money people get when they are elected or selected or rigged into offices. One of the ways to bring sanity to Nigerian politics is to make the salary unattractive.
Indeed the exaggerated salaries were to discourage looting but that has been counter productive in many ways. They have looted more!
Let Nigerian politicians earn the same as the rest of us. If they steal, let us send them to jail.
If we don’t do the right things, our walk to freedom, justice, peace, true independence and economic vibrancy might take forever.
Let’s stop fooling around please!