Apropos of the furore over the House of Representative’s alleged N10 billion indebtedness to a local bank, and just after some form of accomodation had apparently been reached at the House’s executive session, Honourable Independence Ogunewe (PDP, Imo State), is reported to have told journalists that “the tax-payers would suffer the consequences of the resolutions of the House on the matter”.
Now, this is one of the problems with the country. Too many myths abound! With oil export earnings accounting for more than three-quarters of government’s annual revenue take, the tax payer does not pay for anything here. Expectedly, this calculus is at the heart of official impunity too. Tax payers have not demand proper representation because the incidence of inept husbandry of the nation’s resources do not impact their pockets directly. A friend of mine even points to an unstated agreement between taxable Nigerians and government: “so long as government stays out of our pockets it can do whatever it likes with whatever it earns”!
If this is true, then the burden of reform (the “no representation, without taxation” argument, as it were) shifts in favour of those responsible for government’s non-tax revenue sources: the oil producing areas of the Niger Delta. Unfortunately, their militancy is of an uneducated variety; and daily it is becoming parochial.