HOW OVER-BLOATED POLITICAL & CBN's ANTI-SOCIAL POLICIES KILL NIGERIA'S SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
An erroneous impression and a misleading parameter have been created and entrenched in the Nigeria’s contemporary society to the effect that once our political leaders fulfil their contractual obligations with those under their direct employment, otherwise called civil servants or public sector employees over their pay, either by way of prompt payment of their pay wage or by effecting an upward review of same, such political leaders are celebrated as “great achievers of our times”. In some cases, bogus meritorious awards are organized by the leaderships of the organized labour, in the form of “the most labour friendly president or governor”, etc. Any labour minister or commissioner that successfully midwifes the resolution of the labour-government industrial dispute is celebrated as “a hero”, even if such minister or commissioner is a profligate or ministerially incompetent. Also, if a political leader is an electoral buccaneer or a rabid thief, as long as he or she pays his or her government employees, he or she is tagged a “God-sent”.
This warped attitude defeats the very essence of “Government”, as invented by the Great Crusaders of the post Hobbesian periods. Just as the grand norm of Budgeting is its capital segment, the grand norm of “Government” is not the welfare of its principal and clerical operators, but the generality of the public. Where over 74% of the 2011 budget goes for the services of the government operators and their subordinates, while the meagre 26% is retained for the over 140 million Nigerians, is utterly impeachable and socially disastrous. Out of 52% of the total federated allocations meant for the federal tier of government in Nigeria, over 70% goes for the services of an infinitesimal federal government operators and its subordinates; out of 42% for the State tier, about 60% goes to its operators and subordinates; and out of 26% for Local Government tier, about 90% goes to the governors, the LGA operators and their subordinates. This explains why within the context of government social service delivery or performance index in Nigeria, State Governments still top the federal and LGA tiers, with about 30%, while Federal and LGA tiers struggle for 20% and 5% respectively. Out of about 30,000 kilometres of the Federal Roads in the country, for instance, about 20% is attended to; out of about 34,500 belonging to the State Governments, about 35% is attended to; and out of about 129,500 belonging to the LGA, about 5% is attended to, with the LGA specifically attending to about 2%, while the States extra-statutorily attend to 3% (under township road or Trunk C road programmes).
At the Presidency and the federal legislatures alone, there are about 1,500 political (personal) aides outside the statutory ministers, special advisers, secretary to the FGN, the national security adviser and the 469 federal legislators. For instance, out of 40 ministers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, there may, at least, be 80 personal aides attached to them, that is to say two for each minister. And out of 20 special advisers recently approved for President Goodluck Jonathan, at least, 40 personal aides may abound. The offices of the Secretary to the Federal Government and the National Security Adviser are usually attached with a retinue of personal aides. Still in the Presidency, there may be dozens of Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Executive Assistants and Personal Assistants, usually attached to the offices of the President and the Vice-President. Out of the 360 members of the House of Reps and their principal leaderships, there may, at least, be about 800 personal aides, on average of two for each member. And out of 109 Senators and their principal leaders, there may, at least, be 250 personal aides attached to them.
In the 36 States and the FCT of the Federation, there are at least 2,700 political appointees in their Executive organ, in the form of “commissioners”, “special advisers”, “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” on average of 75 per State. This is in addition to bogus monthly security votes of the governors, averaging N500Millon monthly. And in the 36 States’ legislatures, there are, at least, 2,500 personal aides attached to the 1,152 States’ lawmakers and their principal leaderships, on the average of two aides per lawmaker, totalling over 3, 652 political appointees. In the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, there are at least, 3,096 LGA executives with extra 3,096 personal aides, on average of one PA for each executive member, and at the LGA Legislative Houses, 8,692 legislators exist, with another, at least, 9,000 personal aides attached to them. In other words, there may be 1,969 political appointees in the federal executive and legislatures, including 469 federal lawmakers; 2,700 in the 36 States’ executives; 3, 652 in the 36 States’ legislatures; 6,200 in the 774 LGA executives; and 17,692 in the 774 LGA Legislative Houses, totalling 31,643 political appointees in the Nigeria’s Executive and Legislative Organs.
It is very important to observe that the judicial arm of government in Nigeria, which is made up of about 934 top statutory principals, remains managerially competent and non-wasteful. Over-bloated and wasteful personal aides are almost non-existent in the judiciary. It is only in rare situations that few domestic aides are attached to principal leaderships of the organ and in some cases; the allowances of such aides come directly from their employers. Despite the fact that the country’s remuneration laws, such as the Salaries & Wages for Top Political Office Holders Act of the Federation 2002, as amended, prescribes the pay scale for political appointees from special advisers upwards, members of the Federal and States’ legislatures unilaterally reverted to an “unwritten code” to milk the country’s commonwealth dry, by fixing bogus allowances for themselves and their political “concubines”. This is truly the secret behind the allocation of a whopping 74% of the 2011 federal budget to service the recurrent expenditures. It is a clear case of 31,643 top executive and legislative managers in the country and their (about) 10million employees (NLC & TUC) squandering over 70% of the country’s public wealth at the dreaded expense of the land-lorded 140 million Nigerians.
On a similar note, we wish to condemn, unreservedly, the unfolding anti-social policies of the CBN, under Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido’s governorship. Apart from his efforts to Islamize the country’s banking industry by attempting to introduce “al-Qaeda banking”, he is also “Northernizing” the Nigeria’s banking system, by returning the foreign exchange transactions to the inglorious past when patronizing foreign currency black marketers was the “beginning of wisdom”. Today, by allocating a paltry 250,000 USD per bank per week, the CBN Governor is deliberately “Hausanizing” this important trade, by encouraging his fellow “Mallams” to be the sole black marketers of “the products”. The effects of this infamous policy on Nigerians are mountainous. The USD, which sold at N153.00 per USD in May 2011, is now sold at N165.00 per USD in black market, as at Friday, July 8, 2011 and the increase is continuing. Similar situation applies to other leading foreign currencies. The new policy of the N150,000 maximum cash withdrawal per day is another undoing of the CBN governor. The consequences of the latter policy on Nigerians are incalculable. One of such is the expected return of “cash carriage” culture, which will lead to an explosion in armed robbery attacks, market and house raids, because the likely counter measures by customers may be to keep huge cash off banks.
The anti-social policies of the CBN Governor reminds of the China’s social stupidity of the 60s, when her rich cultural heritage was massively destroyed in the name of “cultural revolution”. But when she realised herself, she returned to the path of socio-economic greatness. Today, China is the world’s second richest economy. The CBN hash policies are akin to the Nigeria Police crime fighting strategies that are designed to treat violent and property criminals as “kings” and innocent Nigerians as “slaves”. Today, some, if not many directors of the country’s banks serve as conduit pipes through which stolen funds are stashed in overseas through their domiciliary accounts, yet our CBN Governor does not see or notice them, instead, he designs policies that hurt ordinary Nigerians. The solutions to the Nigeria’s socio-economic problems do not lie on these ill-fated policies, but on practically taming the rabid corruption; drastically curtailing the country’s huge recurrent spending or budget of “intestine”; aggressively pursuing economic development (not economic growth), by way of massive industrialization; and proactively tackling the country’s mountainous social vices.
All in all, we call for the immediate resignation of the CBN Governor and reversal by the Federal Government, of these ill-fated policies. Specifically, the foreign exchange trade must be returned to its dual market period and enough quantity of transactable foreign currencies allocated to the participating banks. We also see the so-called “Islamic Banking” as a threat to Nigeria’s secularity; therefore, it should be shelved. It will also heighten insecurity in the country. The Salaries & Wages Commission and relevant bodies at the States’ level are tasked to review the existing laws on emoluments for political office holders in Nigeria with a view to abolishing the bogus allowances for the appointees other than special advisers, ministers and commissioners. The bogus allowances to the President, Vice-president, NSA,SGF, ministers, Senators, House of Reps members, Senate and House of Reps principal leaderships, governors, State Assemblies principal leaderships, commissioners, States and LGA lawmakers, etc should be reviewed downwards. The powers of the courts may be invoked to nullify the present emoluments scale for the present political office holders, whether written or unwritten.
Written by Emeka Umeagbalasi (+234-8033601078).