Let me at the very outset enter a caveat: This is no hysteria or histrionics of any kind. The issues raised in this piece are absolutely in the public interest, especially in the interest of the most at risk Nigerians who literally have no voice of their own. Among them are the unemployed and the totally unemployable s to whom the Federal Government’s social security programmes might have reached, and provide a succour of sorts, have our legislators not taken to themselves a hugely disproportionate part of the national income. Certainly among the victims of this crass selfishness, are government workers, millions of who are owed their salaries for upwards of eight months and some, as in Benue and Kogi states, for over 12 months. These are people whose children, and wards’ inability to pay their school fees have either taken to prostitution or chose almost certain death in the Sahara desert or, worse still, on raging seas in North Africa. Or sold into slavery.
And that is where they have not simply succumbed to the elements.
Thanks to Mr Peter Obi, former Anambra State governor, we now know that everything has broken down in Nigeria. According to him: “If he revealed how much a Nigerian governor earns, the outrage would be hotter than what trailed the N13.5 million monthly pay of senators.” “None of you,” he further said, “knows what a governor earns. Quote me anywhere, if you know you won’t be here.”
Nigerians already have details of what senators earn, and with those figures, we can work straight away. If any of the figures are wrong or outlandish, it will be the duty of the senate spokesperson to let Nigerians know. It will be the height of disrespect to the citizenry for the senate to resort to any sabre rattling and Nigerians will take none of such insult.
For me, Olakunle Abimbola of The Nation remains a constant source of great delight. He writes for all time, now and, forever, and always, quotable. Let’s see him in DISTRACTIONS, The Nation, Tuesday, 6 March, 2018. He wrote, and I will quote him in ex tensor: “The more the president pines, the more he is scorned, if not by the quiet majority, then by a noise-some, virulent ensemble; most garrulous among whom are unfazed past wreckers, locating their own redemption in Buhari’s destruction.
Yet, Buhari is nary the enemy.
“As if bewitched, critical stakeholders of the Nigerian realm have joined this self-destruct crusade. In booming business are ethnic entrepreneurs, with their impassioned Fulani roasting; tribal pigeon-holing and ethnic scapegoating, their golden but empty panacea to rural banditry (read “Fulani herdsmen”), with its wanton waste of life. Churches live in scandalous denial of the tough economic rebuilding, play politics of the belly with their congregants’ plight and worship on the altar of cheap populism. Yet, that denial negates their core doctrine: purgatory before salvation – that tough path to spiritual renewal. If you don’t purge yourself of old vices, how do you appreciate the new grace? A section of the media, smug, severe, all-wise and all-knowing, point fingers, lecture and hector: a very few from the position of condescending knowledge; a good many from self-yoked, but badly disguised bigotry; and many, many more, just echoing the din, like some Roman plebs baying for blood, but never bothering to ask why! Among the commentariat, an anarchist’s manifesto would appear writ large!”
What he failed to do in that piece, was cast a glance at the totally disreputable Nigerian legislature, an arm of government so unfeeling its less than 600 total population takes such a humongous portion of our country’s total annual income it would not be a curse to say that some of them will, very soon, choke on gluttony.
Cognisant of the fact that many wished President Muhammad Buhari dead not too long ago, I stopped short, in the title of this article, from doing that which Ghanaians, our neighbours and brothers, did a while ago when they called on President Jerry Rawlings to save Ghana from the likes of the predators who now predominate the Nigerian political space. Cried hapless Ghanaians: J J, DO SOMETHING BEFORE YOU DIE.
That is the war cry I am extending to the president today. If it is the only thing President Buhari will do for the remaining part of his entire life, he must save hapless Nigerians first, from the internal slavery the Legislature has dug us into. Their out of the world heist from the national treasury is choking Nigeria. They are so unfeeling not an all-consuming recession could make them bat an eyelid or have a rethink. They took it, all of their N13.5 million monthly heist, and more. What exactly runs through these fellows veins, what? Why is shame in such short supply among them? How many times a day do they feed their ravenous palates?
Unfortunately, the respective Houses of Assembly, save one or two, have become nothing but slaves to their Almighty Governors and there is no way they can call them to order. It is not unknown that many state legislators are owed salaries for months but you won’t hear a word. That is why the president must also handle all these leakages.
Mr President, it has become obvious that we, an absolutely docile Nigerian citizenry, can no longer help ourselves, and therefore have no choice than to call on the only one man we elected to govern us, despite all the mischievous antics of the antichrists that now populate our country. By whatever means, Sir, you must stop this lootocracy in high places and the place to start is to kick the ass of the soporific and useless Revenue Mobilisation Allocation Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) which has remained deaf and dumb to all the noise made by Nigerians on the ignominious obfuscations its constitutionally prescribed roles have suffered in the hands of legislators. The agency must be sacked immediately with new members appointed to breathe life into it. Most of the legislators’ allowances are self- awarded; a direct consequence of President Obasanjo inflicting two luckless presidents on Nigeria both of who became playthings of the legislature, especially during the Speaker-ship of Hon Dimeji Bankole when they not only astronomically increased their allowances, but went a-borrowing from banks, to pay illegal allowances that were curiously backdated.
Subsequent on Senator Shehu Sani’s letting slip their monthly pay, traumatised Nigerians have come up with several comments. Below is one on the Facebook wall of Valiant Samson Idowu-Alaba.
IN CASE ANY FIGURE IS WRONG, LET THE SENATE CORRECT IT AS THE ONUS IS ON THEM.
WHAT A NIGERIAN SENATOR GETS
Recess allowance ………….N0.25m
Vehicle Mtce Allowance…N1.86m
TOTAL RUNNING COST ………..N13.58m/month
This adds up to N162.96m annually
He goes home with N750,000 monthly.
This sums up to N9m annually.
He is entitled to N200m annually to execute projects which is the duty of the Executive branch but which they normally corner, where executed, at all.
Annual Salary…N9,000,000 per annum
Running Allowance….N163,000,000 per annum
Constituency….N200,000,000 per annum
TOTAL N372,000,000.00 per annum.
This amount is over N1,000,000 every blessed day including Sundays when he/she is in church.
HE ALSO GETS THIS
Severance Gratuity………… N7.43m
(Is this as many terms as he does?)
Furniture allowance ……….N7.45m
Motor Vehicle Allowance…N9.94m
TOTAL N24.82m. I presume once in a Senate life.
The above are the amounts to which Nigerians can put a figure.
So Mr President, if clearing this Augean stable is, the only additional thing you can do for Nigerians, you would not only have earned a place in our history books, you would have earned it in our hearts.
We know you can do it.