Thursday, December 2, 2010

Who Let The Dogs Out?

What a week!!! It all started on Monday, when I read (with joy in my heart) that at over the weekend at convocation ceremony of Igbinedion University, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS as he is fondly called) the Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria in his typical down to earth manner stated that the National Assembly appropriates 25.4% of the nations budget (N136.3b out of N500b yearly). I was not only happy that someone in government could stick his head out that far, but It also reaffirmed my stance that democracy is too expensive and that 3rd world countries like Nigeria should rather look for better forms of “direct” governance other than representation. These ideas I have written about in my article titled “a Promise is Comfort to a Fool”.

Over the years we have watched the senate bully Nigerians - bureaucrats and technocrats alike, at the slightest provocation. I knew that Lamido’s statement would set off several people in the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly and reckoned some arm twisting would be in the offing any time soon. As usual, I expected them to deploy their No. 1 weapon – Bullying. This underarm bully tactics in the form of a public hearing had gotten the desired results in the past – El’Rufai, Ribadu, Okonjo Iweala, and Soludo all faced this same fate at one point or the other.

So I was not surprised when I learnt that SLS had been summoned by the Legisla”thieves”. In a battle of wits (though with half wits) I watched with much admiration as SLS boldly held his own amidst several angry lawmakers and their barrage of questions all bent on eliciting an apology from the CBN governor. The proceedings where clearly laughable, the lawmakers drew the short straw this time as they unsuccessfully wrangled SLS. I guess the Omesire led senate committee must have planned to send a strong message to the Nigerian public, by inviting the press to a public hearing. However, one thing they didn’t count on was the unwavering character of the CBN governor. So much so that the Nigerian Television Authority (including its world-wide satellite channel) abruptly stopped airing the proceedings, when it became clear that the wrangling was proving futile amidst cheers from the spectators present.

To Nigerians and international observers alike, the facts are clear, the whole idea wasn’t about where he got the facts from, but the truth the gulf between the rich and poor in Nigeria is unprecedented. And the activities of the rich, especially the lawmakers heats up the system and creates bubbles – Unnecessary price hikes without an underlined increase in value. For instance, the rent regimes and real estate is such that one wonders why an undeveloped plot of land in Abuja can sell for as high as N400,000,000.00 (about $2,666,666.00). Only the rich can thieve in such an economy. It is behind this backdrop that SLS commented that the law makers activities are inflationary. This is in line with my idea that rather than increase the minimum wage alone, something should be done to the maximum wage the senators are getting.

This charade, though insightful - in terms of the quality of representation at the national assembly, but it is also eventful in our onward match towards good governance. We need good people. Men and Women who know what they are doing. People whose only interest is the future of Nigeria and our unborn children. People who are not thinking of what they can take out, but what common good they can create from what is available, people who are bold enough to stare these goons in the face, and still have the decorum to say the truth. People who are passionate and integrity – Men like Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Hear him:-
“My name is Sanusi Lamido Sanusi” my name is not CBN Governor. I will not be the CBN Governor for ever, but I will always be a Nigerian… I enjoy my job but if you want me to quit, I will honourably quit”
On his own part, the Minister of Finance Mr. Aganga had earlier threatened to cut the budgetary allocation of the Assembly. Something he quickly denied in the face of clear hostilities. By so doing, wrote himself out of my good books. But we hope others would act when called upon and not be overwhelmed with cowardice and fear. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, a powerful agent of government declares publicly that he is ready to vacate his job based on principle. But that will only make them happy. We should be ready to also stand up and be counted amongst the change champions. I will design a flyer urging the NAS to apologize to the Governor.

This storm is not over yet. I know the days to come will be action packed in this never-ending soap opera. It is time to act. I wonder what Nigeria would be like, if 5 more people like SLS were strategically placed in different sectors? Would we have the sorry state of affairs we have today? Would a “convict” lead a panel of inquiry? Would the NAS be a law unto itself? Would I be writing this, or sitting lazily in my boat off the Lagos lagoon? If someone who we all know has good intentions is forces out of office, would we seat and watch or would we stand up and make that match to NAS to press home our demands? Do we have to wait until then to act? Shouldn’t the Labour union act on this and set the ball rolling? – Isn’t this revolution we so long for at hand? Starring us in the face. How will history write these days? “Another Opportunity Missed” or “How the cookie finally crumbled”.

I hear the lower house has also summoned SLS before it, with a view to further disgracing the governor - Makes one wonder who advises them, cant they see the writing on the wall? Who is going to be the fall guy today?

No comments:

Post a Comment