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Monday, 17 December 2012 00:00
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Expensive govt cause of our woes

NIGERIA with a population of 165 million people runs the most expensive government in the world. While the United States of America, the fourth largest country [in land mass] in the world with a population of 350 million people runs the most expensive electioneering campaign in the world, its caricature, Nigeria has found itself in economic ruins largely because of its greed and its copycat posture.

The alarming security situation in this country called Nigeria has continued to engage my thoughts and has sent me to several schools of thought in my search for a solution and also a search for its remotest and immediate causes.

The unprecedented rate of crimes and the strangeness of the criminality index have combined to task the brains and faculties of most concerned citizens in the land. Every where you go, the refrain is “We have never seen anything like this before” or “It has never been this bad”

Really and truly, things have never been this bad in Nigeria. And when you complain or make suggestions, you are accused of running down the President of the land or his government as if the President is Nigeria and his government is the country.

The government, or any government for that matter is just an agent elected, or in the case of Nigeria, an agent that forces itself or rigs itself into power.But that is even a minor problem.

A government can force itself into power as it happened in the old Soviet Union, or in Castro’s Cuba, or Gaddafi’s Libya, or Rawlings Ghana, or even Muhammed’s Nigeria and still effect positive changes in the lives of its people.

It is therefore not the rude manner governments in Nigeria have always force themselves into our political life, as bad as that may be, but the horrendous things that such governments do thereafter.

Today Nigeria and her hapless citizens are groaning under the painful pangs of unprecedented unemployment, unprecedented decay of infrastructure, unprecedented looting of the national treasury, unprecedented crime rate, and many other unprecedented calamities, and we have come to the conclusion that the remote cause of these ills is the indisputable fact that all the resources that could have been used to provide infrastructure, chief of which is Energy/Power/Electricity or whatever name, massive employment, massive productivity, employment of adequate police men and women, and large scale food supplies have been spent and are being spent on less than 1% of the total population. And what ever remains of the humongous sum has been looted by the same thieving class that has high jacked power and imposed itself on the rest of us.

Look at the budgets of both the Federal Government and the state governments and see how much money is allocated to the so-called servants of the people. Look at how much the thieving ruling class spend in providing personal security to its members and its members’ families and see how much is left to provide security for the remaining huge members of the country.

The great Sardauna of Sokoto, our highly revered Sir Ahmadu Bello ruled the entire Northern Nigeria with about 12 regional ministers. The same land mass which Ahmadu Bello administered with unbroken records is now being run by 19 heavy governments, with heavy budgets, with heavy retinue of staff, with heavy doses of looting and reckless stealing.

All these are a huge cost to government. In this regard alone, the amount being spent to govern the Northern Nigeria alone is over ten thousand times the amount spent by Sir Ahmadu Bello. Multiply these figures with what obtains in the areas known as Western Region, Eastern Region and the Mid-West, and you will see how much the cost of governance has impoverished the country.

There is no two-way to it. No country which spends over 90% of its total earnings on just less than 1% percent of its population can ever escape from the dangers we have exposed ourselves to as a country and as a people.

The way forward is for the agents that brought us into this mess to come forward and reverse this monumental mistake. It was a major political mistake to jettison Parliamentary system of government and get pushed by the totalitarian Military into United States Presidential system of government. In all my study of political systems I am yet to find a political system as corruption-laden and foolishly expensive as the United States presidential system.

The Military jettisoned the regional structure of the country and came up with these bogus and hopelessly nonviable states. It is this multiplicity of states that has sky-rocketed the cost of governance in Nigeria. And I am convinced without a doubt that no civilian government, because of its inherent selfish and self-serving agenda can return Nigeria to regional or the so-called six geo-political zones. Hence, until the doomsday, we may never get out of the madness which the 36-state structure has brought on us.
The current Revenue Sharing Formula was also imposed on the country by the Single Command Structure of the Military.

Nigeria must return to the British Parliamentary democracy and seriously reduce the cost of governance if we are ever to get out of the woods.

Nigeria must go back to six regional structures or call the arrangement by any other name for us to reduce the cost of governance and make allowance for funds to provide the necessary facilities for running a modern government and for providing much needed service to the people.

Nigeria must seriously and immediately reduce the salaries and emoluments of all political office holders. Again, there is no civilian government as presently constituted and with the characters currently parading themselves as 'rulers’ of the people who can courageously and patriotically slash their elephantine salaries and perks of office.

Several enlightened and concerned Nigerians have warned of imminent dire consequences of turning blind eye and deaf ear to all the danger signs that stare us in the face. Nigerian masses are hungry. Nigerian masses are angry.

Nigerian masses are frustrated. They have reached their elastic limit. Pray, let us not see the day when angry Nigerians will be forcefully entering fellow citizens houses and slaughtering one and another in broad day light. The 300,000 police we have as opposed to 3 million required can not save the situation.

Mr President, I beg, do something before it is too late.
Somalia beckons!!!

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DEC122012