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Le ventre du Nigéria de 2010 (The Underbelly Of Nigeria's 2010)

By Prince Charles Dickson
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It's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong...

The year 2010 is ending on more of the same way it ended, with killings in Jos, Maiduguri.., its ending the same way, with bombs, as I write unofficially death tolls is almost hit a hundred in Jos.

And then what many know is possibly the state sponsored murder of our friend, comrade and colleague, human right activist Chidi Nwosu. After his wife and kids were locked in the toilet in his home, he was shot severally.

It was a year of two presidencies, a slow Yar'adua that exited for a slower Jonathan, a mother-tongue tied Turai and an English-tied Patience, two intelligent deficient women.

The year started with the express looting by the Yardy cabal, it is ending with a nation broke on its knees borrowing from everywhere. (Somehow the money no dey finish)

There are now more cell phones in the world than people, almost 10 for every one mobile in existence just a decade ago. Even Intel, the high-tech firm, has experimented with 'quiet time,' in which, for four consecutive hours every week, no e-mails or phone calls are allowed.

For us there was no quiet time, every event was based on the doctrine abi na law of necessity, from the rank of vice president to acting president, then from incumbent president to consensus president and lately 'endorsement' president.

We saw thanksgivings in different moulds, from those that stole and thanked God to those who fainted in the process of thanking God; we equally witnessed thanksgiving for bastards.

Our concerns about what technology is doing to our heads have begun to reach a critical mass: No one would deny that technology has infinitely expanded our possibilities. And 2010 was no different with Julian leaking badly on Nigeria and how badly exposed we are, not that we did not know.

While Ghanaian president was rejecting bribes, we were collecting, from Adamu, to Ike, Debayo to Akpan we collected both on-camera and off camera.

"There are no easy answers. But together we will provide the platform to solve our basic common problems. To that effect our professionals, experts, business and industries will again form the bedrock of government intervention in the improvement of financial management, rehabilitation of our infrastructure, provision of public utilities and social services".

Those where Buhari's words, they should have guided us in 2010, but it did not, can it in 2011? I leave the answer to discerning minds, especially in a new year when foreign experts would manage our budget according to GEJ.

The financial reward of Ghana's participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be channelled towards construction of a three-star hotel at the Ghanaian Soccer Centre of Excellence at Prampram in the Dangbe West District of Greater Accra Region.

The hotel with an Olympic-size swimming pool among other facilities will serve as a major camping base for the various national teams and also operate as an income generating venture.

At the Nigerian end Adamu will also have to explain another N1.3 billion, which he purportedly spent as "PR". The man was also spending N180 million of our money in an affair concerning his wife as well as N80 million expenditure involving his son-in-law.

Ghana reaped $11 million after taxes for reaching the last eight of the first ever Mundial on African soil, South Africa, according to Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Ghana's Minister of Youth and Sports.

Our 2010 is best described by a chewing-gum-chewing Yakubu who had just thrown away a goal opportunity a blind cripple man would have scored. However that was our story for the year 2010, that of wasted opportunities, little in achievement in the face of vast resources in all spheres.

Our leaders continued from where they stopped in 2009, their stealing spree at the National Assembly was brought to the fore by Sanusi the CBN Miango pepper but it achieved little.

While we lost the Rimis, Enahoros, Yardys, Maryam Babangida, Barry Wonder, Dagrin, and co. Many ordinary Nigerians loved dear ones because they could not afford million dollar-foreign hospital treatment. I equally lost my mom and there are no exact figures to the number of road accidents, robbery incidents and kidnappings went sour.

I knew I was going to draw the ilk of my Igbo comrades but it just did not make sense that "friends of Ojukwu" could not fund the treatment of the Igbo chief. My take what happened to the millions of Nigerians that could not be flown abroad in 2010, answer, they were just ordinary Nigerians.

The State House plans to spend over N500 million on food stuff and catering supplies, according to an estimate in the 2011 budget before the National Assembly. About N54 million voted for fuelling of plant/generator. There was no how the vice president was going to Jos, it was a case of "", so the man with a N500 million worth of food and N54 million worth of electricity stayed put n Abuja.

With the following figures, 2011 may still be grim. About N574, 074,750 is to be spent on food stuff and catering materials are to cost N374,074,750; N312,400,000 is for refreshments and meals; N86,422,720 for honorarium and sitting allowances and N383,408,436 is proposed to be spent on welfare packages.

N30 million is to be spent on office furniture and fittings; over N428 million is voted for computers; N553,594,442 for canteen/kitchen equipment, N403,594,442 for kitchen and household equipment and N150,000,000 for household equipment and materials (for the Vice-President's residence).

N24 million is proposed for one library scanner for the library. I hope it's not the scanner you and I know; it surely must be an ala-muttalab scanner.

The purchase of utility and operational vehicles for the office of the VP is to cost N300 million. The furnishing of the VP's Guest House at Asokoro is proposed to cost N100 million.

About N400 million is proposed to be spent on the acquisition, upgrading and furnishing of the VP's Guest House at Aguda House. With all these you ask what happened to all the furnishing and computing, all the householding and kitchening, the canteening and vehicling that was done for Jonathan while he was VP?

The answer is that, we should thank the Almighty that the Aso Rock Villa was not sold during the year under review.

Senators pronounced GEJ budget as 'lacking in direction'. Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Ahmad Lawan, told plenary that the budget is programmed to fail because it was presented to the legislature late in the year. As if any of the budgets in the last five years have come early.

Omar Hambagda, Ethics and Public Petitions Committee Chairman, added that the job creation proposal has no direction as it is not supported with any framework for success.

The above paints 2010 clearly, because while all these raged on, we were told the 2010 budget was going to run till March 2011, great nation, great people, great magicians and increasingly wicked and clueless leadership and helpless citizenry.

The year saw the emergence of a New Mexico in Abia, new service chiefs, new ministers, new this and new that. It was a Naija and Dora year; we were witnesses of all kinds of absurdities. Bombs have now become regular occurrences. Security did not improve, it only got worse; electricity was no better than it has been. There are still no good roads; we did not see any hospital built.

Schools still went on strike and government's reply was to build more. Yet our president knelt down more times in church services than any other president in year 2010, there certainly is something he is telling God about 2011 we do not know.

A year filled with very few good, the bad got worse, an already ugly situation only added new dimensions and degree of ugliness.

My best wishes for a true democratic experience come 2011, not by force, but by choice, may we witness that revolution, we hope it is not violent, but something must give...”every day is minus one day from that day” my late grandma once said.

Prince Charles Dickson

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