BILLIONS FOR INAUGURATION? A FATHER CHRISTMAS SYNDROME
The Federal Government of Nigeria is reportedly planning to spend billions of naira on the inauguration ceremonies of the new administration billed to take place this weekend. According to the Sahara Reporters website, about five billion naira has already been set aside for this exercise. Another source alleges only one billion naira would be spent.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this spendthrift propensity. It is outright thoughtlessness and inexplicable insensitivity on the part of the Federal Government to allocate such a huge amount to the inauguration of a new administration. One billion naira sounds too extravagant when less than a quarter of a billion naira would have achieved more positive results. Five billion naira is an expensive joke. Nigeria is being taken to the cleaners right from the start!
The Jonathan regime appears to be sending the wrong signal to the suffering jamaheer (poor masses) that it is here to set off an era of waste. This is a dangerous precedent as ministries and parastatals are likely to emulate this Father Christmas mentality.
Have Nigerian workers started receiving the N18,000.00 minimum wage which was approved more than a year ago? No state government has paid that amount up till now. Even the N18,000.00 as a take-home pay cannot take them home. Neither can it ensure three square meals for them and their families. Paying the school fees of their children and wards is out of the question. House rents have already eaten up workers' pay. Inflation bites hard on a daily basis. Policies such as this widens the gap between the government and the governed, between the employers and the proletariat, between the 'haves-and-the-have-nots'.
The contracts for the inauguration which will gulp billions are going to cronies, court jesters and bootlickers. These are the oppressors of our society. They are the people who can afford to pay one million naira per term for their children's school fees in primary and secondary schools. It creates a situation where too few people have too much while too many have nothing. A super-elitist society has already emerged and this clique, this 'tiny cabal', is being nurtured by Jonathan's administration. It is too early for us to start getting this negative signal. Nigerians don't really deserve this kind of treatment.
How does President Goodluck Jonathan expect workers to receive the news of the huge sum of money billed for his inauguration? The poor workers whose sweat produced the wealth of the nation cannot even smell the aroma of those delicious but wasteful dishes at the state dinners being planned. Neither would they attend the expensive mundane and religious inauguration programmes.
MURIC cautions the Federal Government against extravagance. What Nigerians need is food on their tables, stable electricity, good roads, effective public transport system, qualitative education, an enduring public health scheme and a dependable security system, not extravagance, not waste, not pomp and pageantry.
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace