ONE: As reported last week, the executive committee of the National Assembly (NA) arbitrarily increased the money allocated for the National Assembly in the 2011 budget. The executive branch budgeted N112.24 billion for the NA when the bill was first sent to the House. By the time the bill was passed and returned to the President, it had increased to N232.74 billion. Last week, the president amended the bill and reduced the final figure appropriated to N120 billion. The lawmakers however increased its section of the appropriation by another N30 billion when it passed the amended bill last week. It also raised the budgeted amount for the “legislature, presidency, defense, police formation and command and the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation”. The final number allocated for governance was reduced from N4.485 trillion to N4.97 trillion, which still leaves the Nation with a budget deficit of N1.9 trillion. With the Excess Crude Account (ECA) depleted, the reckless oil benchmark at $75 per barrel, and the value of the Naira decreasing at alarming rates, the legislative branch refuses to take prudent steps to put the country’s fiscal health above their short term gratification.
TWO: The governor of the CBN has recently stated that for Nigeria to achieve financial growth in lieu of the 20:20 vision, it must become a “cashless” society. The world has changed and so must the Nigerian economy if it wants to be the “giant of Africa’ it constantly claims to be. A cashless or perhaps cash reduced society is more efficient and above all much more transparent. A bank can easily track an electronic transaction more than it can track a cash transaction. I cannot stress how important this is for the economy. The CBN states that cash transaction for individuals should be limited to N150, 000 daily and N1 million for organizations. This seems reasonable, given that “only 10 per cent of Nigerians can withdraw upwards of N100, 000 cash per day”. However, customary to its unofficial role as the enemy of progress, the Nigerian Senate has instructed the CBN to increase the cash transfer from N150, 000 to N250, 000. One wonders what part of only 10% can afford N100, 000 they fail to understand.
THREE: President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that 4 years is simply not enough for his government to deliver any reasonable development. I am tempted to list all the achievements of previous governments within this same time limit, but I won’t. I am tempted to state all that was achieved by a state governor in Lagos state, Jigawa, Kwara and others, but I won’t do that either. He has now publicly offered his excuses for his future failures after spending millions of Nigerian money on his reelection bid. He promised his employers, the Nigerian people; to deliver within the 4 years of his term and we shall hold him to his promises. Come 2015, if he does not deliver, this ridiculous excuse should not be tolerated. Campaign promises are essentially a contract between the governed and the government and the time limit in that contract was 4 years. No court of law will change the terms of contract after signage. The presidential excuses will no longer hold. Mr. president has been given four years to deliver on his promises, and that is all. Check the link for more on his hubris.
FOUR: Last week the president held a luncheon summit with the Nigerian youth community. It was held ostensibly to hear their demands for his new government and to provide him a set of policy they feel would benefit their segment of the population. A select few of the elite youth leaders were chosen to attend the luncheon and to represent the millions of Nigerians between 15 and 35 years of age. It turned into a case of paradise lost last week when the Internet savvy youth community heard that the government gave those who attended sizable compensation for their time and efforts in attending the luncheon. Akin Akintayo wrote HERE that the youth leaders did nothing wrong and Feyi Fawehimin defended those who felt betrayed. The whole issue is a step forward in the right direction. It means that the Nigerian youth community is alive and well. They know what they want and they will not stand for any hint of corruption from those who lead them. But maybe sometimes paradise must be lost for a sane reality to emerge.
FIVE: A group of Nigerian IT professionals have decided to hack the websites of various governmental agencies. Their intent is to protest the amount the government has decided to spend on the presidential inauguration. The NaijaCyberHacktivists succeeded in hacking the NDDC website. The agency was only able to restore the website a day after the breach. They have also made other demands. They called for the government to catch the killers of a “Mr. Tochukwu Uzukwu” and that “all those detained with the arrest and detention of a Prof. Steve Torkuma Ugbah must be released. They have threatened to:
- Launch an attack against ALL financial institutions
- Launch an attack against the e-payment bodies in the country
- Take down the Networks
- Cripple the telecommunication companies
- Take down all government sites.
They have given the government until Saturday to fulfill their demands.
SIX: I reported some months ago about the incompetence in which political rallies are planned in some parts of Nigeria. These rallies often result in the tragic deaths of those who choose to participate in them. In November 2010, 11 people died at a PDP rally held in Kwara State to distribute rice to Governor Saraki’s supporters during a sallah party. Last Friday, an estimate of 20 Kwara state citizens were trampled to death at another one of Governor Saraki’s giveaway parties. I cannot state how egregious his lack of organization and general incompetence is. Is it too much to ask those in government to learn from the mistake of the past and make better decisions? Is governor Saraki simply unaware that it is his responsibility to guarantee the safety of those citizens? Giving away free food to those who are desperately hungry is always cause for riot and general disorder and it is important that those who are in charge introduce mechanisms that will reduce the likelihood of stampedes and senseless slaughter. When will enough be enough?
SEVEN: Another Boko Haram attack happened last Friday killing many police people and other law enforcement agents. The pervasive insecurity of the Northern region needs urgent attention. One hopes our new president is up to the task.
EIGHT: An interesting documentary about the achievements of Governor Lamido of Jigawa. The facts in there are verifiable and self-evident. It is hoped that this effort will encourage the governor’s achievement to be extolled now just as much as Governor Fashola’s of Lagos has been.
NINE: I urge everyone reading to read this article. It is one of the most compelling articles about Nigeria in recent times. It was fair, frank and looks to the future of the country. Enjoy.
TEN: Yesterday morning, the 14th president of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in to begin his second term as the leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His tasks are great and urgent. Nigerians are looking to him for leadership to move this country towards its true greatness. Best of luck to him.