The Nigerian State, Its Friends and Its Enemies, by Oluwadamilare Omotosho

 

The Holy Bible says “you should love your neighbor as yourself” and this position is reaffirmed by the Quran which instructs Muslims that “whoever believes in Allah and the last day, do well to his neighbour.”

The current situation of Nigeria shows that the people who profess friendship may actually be enemies. How in the world is a nation battling with economic crisis and the same ruling party would impose a ridiculous price tag on its expression of interest and nominations for the forthcoming 2023 General election. In a country where the minimum wage is 30 thousand Naira, the ruling imposed a total of 100 Million Naira on Presidential aspirants, 50M on Governorship aspirants, 20M for Senatorial seats, 10M for House of Representatives and 2M for State House of Assembly positions.

It is difficult to forget that the current Nigerian President, in 2014 criticized his party for setting 27.5 Million at the cost of its nomination form. Then Gen. Muhammadu Buhari would go on to complain that, “I felt heavily sorry for myself because I don’t want to go and ask somebody to pay for my nomination forms, because I always try to pay myself, at least for the nomination. N27.5 Million is a big sum.” Ironically in 2022, the President Muhammadu Buhari did not think that paying N100 Million for nomination form is a big sum.

There are some questions we need to ask those people that paid the APC nomination fee, like how do they acquire the money? Are they Businessmen or civil servants? Most likely not, as 80% of the aspirants are either serving governor, former governor, former senators or serving senate members.

As at today, the following under-listed people have paid for the presidential nomination form:
1. Yemi Osinbajo (Vice-President of Nigeria); 2. Bola Tinubu (former governor of Lagos State); 3. Daivd Umahi (governor of Ebonyi State); 4. Orji Kalu (former governor of Abia State); 5. Rochas Okorocha (former governor of Imo State and a suspect in a 2.9 billion naira fraud); 6. Yahaya Bello (governor of Kogi State); 7. Rotimi Amaechi (former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation); 8. Tunde Bakare (Serving Overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church); 9. Chris Ngige (Minister of Labour); 10. Ben Ayade (governor of Cross River); 11. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba (minister of State for Education); 12. Ken Nnamani (former Senate President); 13. Kayode Fayemi (governor of Ekiti State); 14. Adams Oshiomole (former governor of Edo State and former APC National Chairman); 15. Godswill Akpabio (former governor of Akwa-Ibom State and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs); 16. Ibikunle Amosun (former governor of Ogun State and serving Senator); 17. Nicholas Felix (US based Nigerian Pastor of the Miracle Church International); 18. Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology); 19. Uju Onanenye; 20. Ahmed Yerima (former governor of Zamfara State); 21. Dimeji Bankole (former Speaker of the House of Representatives); 22. Ahmed Lawan (the current Senate President).

This is nothing less than absurd. APC is a disaster to this great country, and it is still surprising how a party would have more than 21 aspirants contesting for president.

The funds generated from this stage of the Political process is also ridiculous. Let us do a little calculation:
22 candidates X N100,000,000​ ​= 2,200,000,0000​(N2.2B)

I think it is high time our society held political office holders accountable for how they disburse their allocated budget. This is necessary to understand how the aspirants accumulate the wealth for the nomination and consent forms.

This is a country where a Professor barely earns N400,000 per month. Ordinarily, no Professor is capable of buying the APC presidential nomination form. In actual fact, it would take a university professor over 20 years to be able to save for the APC presidential nomination form. For a country suffering from underdevelopment, this is very worrisome.

As a civil servant worker, a Permanent Secretary (PS) is the topmost position and the average salary earned by a PS is N300,000 per month. So a PS will have to work for 27 years 9 months to be able to acquire the sum of N100 Million.

There is no gainsaying that the so-called aspirants (politicians) do not even care about the plight of the people. This is a country where people are suffering and smiling. A country in a big security crisis. A country where there are hardly any functional basic social amenities. A country where everyone suffers from a high cost of living. A country where an average family cannot afford three (3) square meals.

Come 2023, it is my hope that the presidency is occupied by fresh minds, and not recycled politicians who have perpetuated themselves in power without actually solving any problem. Sometimes, I do wonder, if you are in the government and you have sound ideas of how to move us forward, WHY NOT ADVICE THE PRESIDENCY?

Instead of doing this, the ruling party has done more harm than good. According to the Guardian Newspaper of 18 March 2022, “the total debt stock of Nigeria is likely to reach N45 trillion as the Debt Management Office (DMO) plans to borrow additional N6.39 trillion to finance the 2022 budget.”

Let me show you some debt analysis from 1999 to 2022, the Obasanjo led administration met $28B as a foreign debt, the administration left $2.11B in 2007 after successfully securing a write-off from the London and Paris Clubs of foreign creditors. Yar’adua/Jonathan led administration added $1.39B to the debt profile, raising it to $3.50B. Jonathan led administration also incurred additional $3.8B and the foreign debt was $7.3B when the administration left office in 2015. By December 2020, Nigeria’s external loan had reached $28.57B, implying the sum of $21.27B had been accumulated under the Muhammadu Buhari led-administration, three times the combined amount by the past presidents since 1999.

I think it is high time we sat to amend the constitution of our dear country. How would a country in an economic crisis continue to pay unsustainable emoluments to 360 members of House of Representatives and 109 Members of Senate, a total of 469 members. Worst still, each federal parliamentarian has at least eight (8) special advisers. For the country to move forward, it has to cut down its frivolous spending and unsustainable loans. The journey forward requires cutting our coat according to our cloth. Nigeria deserves better and it is up to us to give her a fighting chance of survival by putting the right people in power.

Oluwadamilare Omotosho, writes from Ede, Osun State, omotosho580@gmail.com