By Ambali Abdulkabeer
I understand Dino Melaye is a serial political clown who doesn’t deserve much attention. Yet there’s a need to say a few words about his recent cringe-worthy video targeted at Peter Obi.
In the viral video, Dino argued that Nigeria’s problem is beyond cutting governance costs. He said that with all confidence. Ignorant.
Nigeria is what it is today due to a lack of financial prudence in the political firmament. For instance, a report emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari travelled 11 times in five months. However, if you carefully research the trips facilitated with the country’s hard-earned money, you may discover that not all the trips would demand the President and his needless entourage.
Ahmed Lawan, the President of the Senate, in a lecture titled ‘The Legislature, Legislative Mandate and People – The Reality and the Public Perception’ and presented during the First Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies last year, clarified the salaries of members of the National Assembly.
“The total salary of a member of the Senate is about N1.5m while that of the House of Representatives is about N1.3m.
“The average office running cost for a senator is about N13m while that of a member of the House of Representatives is N8m”, Lawan said in the robust paper.
When calculated, the N13m office running cost for a senator amounts to N52m per annum, while the N8m for a member of the House of Representatives amounts to N32m in a year.
Plus salary, this means that each Senator goes home with 70 million and House of Reps member with 47.6 million annually.
Don’t let us talk about the salaries and allowances of the President, Vice President, Ministers and others. A waste of time!
Then the big question is, how much does a diligent civil servant get annually, or even in his entire 35 years in service? You can answer that!
And don’t forget this country is abysmally run through heavy loans upon loans. So if any country in the world must cut governance costs to attend to its multifarious crises, it should be Nigeria.
There is nothing wrong with Dino canvassing support for Atiku Abubakar. But to say that the only solution now is the unity of Nigeria is problematic. It’s even self-delusion to tip a former vice president as the best man for the job! If we are united (which I think it’s untenable given our slapdash approach to leadership), the country needs people who are genuinely financially prudent to survive. Not these endlessly grasping ‘agbada men’ carting away its resources.
It must also be said that whether or not Peter Obi is manageable for the country at the moment, Nigerians have the liberty to decide in 2023. It would be fair, however, to remind us that our country needs a better future.
The Danish poet and social critic Soren Kierkegaard was right when he said, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” So while they should embrace the fact that the country needs a genuine president, Nigerians should not be fooled into believing cutting governance costs isn’t a solution.
Ambali Abdulkabeer writes from Ilorin. He can be reached via email@example.com.