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June 30, 2012

Every right thinking Nigerian seems not to be happy about the challenges facing us as a nation. Year in year out, government announces our budget without any significant impact on the Nigerian people. Nigeria is no doubt a mineral rich country in all ramifications but this wealth does not have impact on the welfare of Nigerians, food, clothing and shelter is still a major issue to a large number of our people, basic social amenities is not available.

We cannot however continue to ponder on the problem, we must all proffer solutions to the teeming number of challenges staring at us in the face courtesy of the fact that the government of the day seems to be enjoying the barrage of challenges facing us as a nation.

Governments at all levels spend so much monthly without any significant impact on the general well- being of the citizens. The effect of corruption is certainly overwhelming but the cost of governance is also becoming a source of concern that must be brought down immediately by all tiers of government.

We all need to study the budgetary provisions of all the tiers of government (L.G.s, State & Federal) to clarify issues. From the way things are currently structured, things cannot work in Nigeria; basic social amenities cannot be provided for. Our governments spend majority of our wealth on salaries and allowances leaving little or nothing for developmental projects that will impact on the quality of life of all Nigerians. The truth is for any society to make any meaningful progress, there must be a government to run its affairs but our government is fast becoming a burden on the citizens, the recurrent expenditure is repeatedly higher than the capital vote.

An average LG Chairman in Nigeria today has four SUVs attached to his office that follows him to and from work daily. He alone has numerous staff profile which includes:
1. Chief of Staff
2. Senior Special Assistant
3. Supervisor for Special Duties
4. Personal Assistant for Political Matters
5. Personal Assistant for Community Matters

The ones for the office of the First Ladies of the 774 LG councils across the 36 States are different.

Each of these aides have at least two SUVs (one official and one Utility), they enjoy fat salaries/allowances. An enormous amount of money is spent monthly to cater for the expensive lifestyle of these political functionaries. The truth is that by the time the Councils pay staff salary and the expensive lifestyle of the political office holders, there is usually little or nothing left to spend on developmental projects for the council area.

Almost all the State Governors in Nigeria today have bullet- proof official vehicles with surveillance camera and bomb detectors attached to the cars. Those cars cost quite an amount for states and the monthly maintenance charge is also something to ponder about.

An average Governor has one official car and 2Utility vehicles attached to the office, that of the Deputy Governors are quite different, that of the executive council members are also there.

The convoy of an average Governor moves around town with:
1 official car
2 Utility Vehicles
2 Escort vehicles
1 C.S.O. vehicle
1 S.S.S. Vehicle
1 Police Van
All these vehicles are usually SUVs. He is not going to any official function, and there is no State official with him, all these are just recognized by the protocol to always follow our elected Governor’s around. It should be noted that all these cars are fuelled and maintained from the States resources’. Almost all Governors today complain about scarce resources but the truth is what have they done with what they have? Too much of our limited resources are spent on frivolities’, no State Government in Nigeria saves money, they all spend what they have every month.

Apart from the cost of running the office of a Governor in Nigeria, the retinue of personal staff is also a source of concern. In the States, we have titles such:
1. Chief of Staff
2. Deputy Chief of Staff
3. Special Advisers
4. Senior Special Assistants
5. Special Assistants
6. Executive Assistants
7. Assistant Special Assistants

We should note that all these are not members of the State Executive Councils.
They are just attached to the office of the Governors. They all use SUVs, enjoy fat salaries/allowances from the resources of the 36 States of the federation on monthly basis. Members of the States Executive Councils have at least 3 Personal aides with an SUV each to always carry around.

The FG is worse of all. The President has hundreds of personal aides, most of them he does not know their first names! Each of the serving Ministers have 3personal aides with convoys to follow them to and from work every day. In the 2012 budget, only 28% of its provisions are allocated to developmental projects that will have influence on every Nigerian while 72% will be spent on salaries and allowances. The Presidency will be spending millions of Naira on vehicle purchase and maintenance.

All the States of the federation have several Boards, Commissions and Parastatals of government and we spend Millions of Naira every month on the salary and allowances of members of these board members’. There are so many duplication of Ministries across the nation, we have quite a number of Ministers and Commissioners (Ministries) that we can do away with.

I believe at this point in Nigeria, members of the public must begin to show interest in budgetary provisions of the 3tiers of government and we must insist that government provide more for capital projects and reduce the recurrent expenditure. We must review the Salaries and allowances of all political office holders at all levels.

We must all join hands and campaign against the expensive cost of running our government at all levels. The aides in the government houses does not have to be on full time appointment, a large chunk of them should be reduced to part time basis and called upon when their services are needed.

For Nigeria to be great, we must invest in the education of the young ones, infrastructure must be in place, other oil producing nations have continually used their oil wealth to develop other sectors of their economy, Nigeria must also do the same but our government must reduce their expensive lifestyle in order to achieve that. Things must be done fast to reverse the current trend.

Let’s all join the campaign and not stop until we force them to do what is right. We must not allow next year’s budget to be as it has always been. The movement must begin now through the social media and all other forms of communication available until they do our will.

Nigeria shall be great!
God bless you!
God bless Nigeria!

Mr Ajayi Opeyemi
Kings Leather Nigeria
Tel: 08154049140, 08062179119, 08032489598
Mobile: 08090542924

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