Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Promise... is Comfort To a Fool!

Source CBC News

1st shocker yesterday was a court ruling upturning Emmanuel Uduaghan's 3 and half years tenure as governor of delta state. Then the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC and Trade Union Congress 3 days warning strike to press home their demand for a N18,000 minimum wage. But like Emperor Nero and his court, the Federal Executive Council celebrated the day by approving billion dollar DCC contracts while Rome burns. It is really annoying when our government bury their head in the sand or look the other way while the poor suffer. But even more annoying is that fact that we always do as they expect us to. A people deserve the leaders they get. We are gullible, easily impressed, and worst still, lack standards.

Why am I wailing again this morning? Well, I was sad to learn that the strike is over just because the President met with the union leaders and as usual, settled the score with yet another promise. A mere promise, like the several promises made to Teachers, Lecturers, Doctors, Nurses, etc... but as the saying goes - a promise, is comfort to a fool.

Who Are The Goons?

You and I, and the so called Labor leaders! Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those lazy people that want to down tools and stay home for weeks unend. I am also not one of the bourgeois who enjoy the status quo and relish at every event that impedes on the growth of the poor and down trodden. A person whose attitudes and behavior is marked by conformity to the norm. Rather, I think the strike shouldn’t have been about only raising the minimum wage, but reducing the remuneration of top public officers. Yes, that’s one sure fire way to bridge the gap between the upper and middle class in Nigeria.

In situations such as this, it is always nice to compare. While researching the issue, I found 2009 figures that show that the average US senator earned $174,000 par annum (See US Senate Salaries since 1789). A conservative estimate using the official exchange rate works out to roughly N24,360,000.00 I was alarmed to learn that this is not even enough entertainment allowance for their Nigerian counterparts. The Nigerian senator earns N43,000,000 quarterly - N129,000,000 annually (about $908,450.00). In fact the several people before me have written about the unholy sums the Nigerian government pay their lawmakers. (See Nigerian Senators Earn 10 Times more than their counterparts and An appendix while the nation rots away. Little wonder why you can find all forms of luxurious effects in our society, where an undeveloped piece of land cost more than a town house in Virginia USA, yet the masses still suffer in abject poverty.

In all, we can conclude that the Nigerian senator is not only the highest paid law maker in the world, but earns 10 times more than the president of the United States of America. How ironic, in a country where millions have to make do with less than $1 a day. Even more worrying is the fact that they want more (See 2011 Election: Senators want N10.9 billion quarterly) No doubt Nigeria is ripe for a revolution, these self servicing law makers should be done away with, I support the strike, and I am not happy with the focus of labour unions. NLC should not be looking only towards raising the minimum wage, but go further to reduce the maximum one. How much work does a law maker do? Why should they earn so much? Little wonder why Nigerian politicians perpetuate themselves in power – who would walk away from such a sumptuous dish? Little wonder why they are ready to kill to remain there, and what do we do to help? fan their fire by asking for a raise on all levels while there is nothing in the offing to sustain the endeavor. This drama is akin to a house hold whose output is marginal but where the father drives a Jaguar and the kids no longer see reason why they should trek, and are therefore demanding for a VW beetle - in comparison to their neighbors who run a successful family business and the Father drives an average Japanese salon and the kids ride bus. While one family is able to gradually climb the ladder of economic growth, the other will soon run out of fuel money in the first year alone. If only things were this easy to explain, life would have be a bed of roses in deed. That is why I often think from my ass. yes out of this world.

My Blue Sky "A**" thinking – the Way Out.
First off, let me say that true democracy is unattainable (if at all feasible), no nation in the world can boast of practicing true democracy, Surprisingly, democracy cannot be easily explained, Abraham Lincoln’s popular definition as “the government of the people by the people and for the people” (Lincoln, 1863) is actually a Utopian idea that still exists to date. Consequently, the concept of governance has evolved 3 main forms. 1. Representative type where people select (or elect) representation. 2. Citizens participation, where representation deliberate with citizens to reach a consensus. and lastly 3. a Direct form where everyone plays a role. Yes,everyone. Until recently with the advent of technology, this 3rd form of governance was beyond any society. but it is now possible - Like me, Ari Orr thinks this has made representation obsolete -

I have often been accused of being a Technological Determinist (one who thinks technology solves all problems) in fact a bosom friend of mine calls me TD. But I am not alone, some civilized nations are already thinking of Direct Governance, one in which people make their laws through public participation in eGovernment. Utilizing tools like referendums and public portals to engage citizens in the conduct of governance. Direct Democracy advocates like Orr see public officers like Senators and false forms of representative government as the evil that must be done away with. These complicated technical problems of bureaucracy of public office continue to be the major reasons why other forms of governance are wasteful and expensive. He surmises that “Today, for the first time in history, it is possible for millions of people to make every political decision themselves, directly - without representatives” (Orr, 2000). The huge expenses spent in running these complex structures should be used to develop our infrastructure and alleviate poverty by creating more jobs.

Nigeria's problems are complex, solving them completely for now is only an Utopian idea, yet it needs to be tackled, Who will bell the cat?

No comments:

Post a Comment