5th December 2012
'NO' TO ASO VILLA BANQUET HALL
The Nigerian Federal Executive Council recently approved a whopping N2.2bn for the purpose of building a banquet hall inside the palatial Aso Rock Villa.
This approval raises more questions than answers. Is a dancing hall Nigeria's next priority? Have we provided accommodation for the homeless thousands who sleep under the bridge? Are our roads motorable? Have we conquered the power monster? Is the gangrene sucking the blood dry in the education sector plugged out yet? Do we now have drugs in the hospitals? Bombs are still exploding. Kidnappers are having a field day. What, therefore, does President Jonathan want to celebrate in a presidential banquet hall?
It beats the imagination of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) that a man who narrated his shoeless childhood to a sympathetic and gullible nation would turn around to propose N300m for plates and spoons in Aso Rock and N18bn for the maintenance of the presidential fleet of aircrafts. When will Nigeria grow? Saudi Arabia hosts an average of five million people for two months annually without the lights blinking for a second. The taps run ad infinitum. The roads are bumpless and macadam. When will Nigeria grow?
It was this same Nigeria that was declared the 26th poorest and later 20th hungriest country in the world. 100,000 Nigerians die of tuberculosis annually. Another 300,000 die yearly of ordinary malaria. Life expectancy, which was seventy as at independence, is now 47. Eighty million Nigerians live below poverty line. Per capita income is less than $300 and the average Nigerian lives on less than $1 per day. There is no hope of employment for Nigerian graduates. We therefore have every reason to declare the Jonathan administration as deaf, dumb and clueless.
The Glorious Qur'an says, "Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and put a veil on their eyes…." (Qur'an 2:7). MURIC reminds Aso Rock of the divine warning contained in Qur'an 102: 1-4 "You compete in the accumulation of wealth…and it diverts you (from the welfare of the citizens)…until you go into your graves. Soon you will know…Very soon indeed you will know".
We assert clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally that the proposed banquet hall is an exercise in frivolity, opulence, gross irresponsibility and executive insensitivity. MURIC rejects this culture of reckless spending. The signals coming from Aso Rock confirm the fear earlier expressed by some activists in the country, namely, that Jonathan is out to out-Herod Herod.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)