BY EBERE WABARA
WHY should the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, ever think of buying two armoured BMW 760 Li cars with public funds at the cost of $1.6 million (about N225 million) if not that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan indulges some of these manifestly incompetent female ministers who prevaricate? This is happening at a time when most Nigerians cannot afford subsistence living.
A public functionary whose ministry is enmeshed in all sorts of controversies will now be driven in such luxuriant vehicles and she will feel very comfortable! It shows how detached and indifferent these ministers and their cohorts can be. This is snobbish corruption and irredeemable nonchalance fuelled by Nigerians’ complacency on public accountability.
The fact that the N225 million used in purchasing the cars is not within the ambit of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) whose official threshold is N250 million and above for scrutiny and verification, it is demonstrative of crass impunity to have such a brainwave. Is it possible that the Ministerial Tenders’ Board could have endorsed this kind of hollow and horrific decision? Was there any forensic audit even after the procurement?
That the Director-General of BPP, Mr. Emeka Eze, does not know about the odious circumstances of this transaction is a testament to the way we conduct public affairs in this country. It is not the first time and will not be the last. Meanwhile, there are imputations that both cars could not have cost more than N76 million!
Expectedly, her media aide, in justification of the scurrilous purchase of the security vehicles said they were meant to offer a protective shield for his boss who, he said, was now exposed to some disgruntled elements that have grouses about ongoing aviation reforms. This is balderdash. Public officials who do riskier jobs do not have special vehicles among other official obscenities.
What makes Oduah different? Nuhu Ribadu as chairman of EFCC in its heyday and Prof. Dora Akunyili as the DG of NAFDAC of yore stepped on so many toes but never thought of bulletproofcars. They still move about freely today. Oduah’s aides should just shut their mouths!
On a fairly regular basis these days, a lot of untoward things happen in this country. The anomie, despondency, violence and haplessness are frightening and worrisome. And nobody seems to be tackling the gloominess that has enveloped Nigerians. Most of our parliamentary representatives at various levels who owe their elections and positions to the fraudulent, roguish and fatalistic machinery of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) cannot challenge the status quo, hence the degeneracy in national governance. Fascism is the latest leadership style! This is responsible for the president’s growing roughshod antics.
A report just released by an NGO, Food Aid International, affirmed that 3,000 Nigerians die daily of hunger and poverty! The time has come for Nigerians to sink their differences and confront President Jonathan and PDP’s maladministration. All over, there is disenchantment, discontent and reservations about the country’s current tyrannical leadership. We have never had it so bad. The CBN recently put the inflation level at 13.8 percent as prices of basic items keep moving up.
The cost of living rises on an hourly basis, while the standard of living has fallen abysmally, If Nigerians don’t come together now and halt this drift masterminded by a president whose purported democratic credentials and economic reform programmes contradict the present realities of our time, we should be ready for a failed and collapsed state.
Jonathan is unreservedly a disappointment. All those who cleared the coast for him to become out nightmarish President should bury their heads in shame and utter disgust. What would be the legacies of this unfolding dictator?
A leader is not remembered for his platitudes and preachments, but by the enduring and visible achievements he leaves behind. The socio-economic dislocations in the country created by the Jonathan presidency can only be compared to all the monstrous military years put together.
Perhaps, the only positive difference is the prevalent freedom of speech, which, in any case, is a canon of democracy. Abject poverty, underdevelopment and unparalleled haughtiness are now the hallmarks of the Jonathan leadership.
If military and police formations which have all the paraphernalia of state security could be so brazenly and easily attacked by insurgents, it means that the rest of us in this country under a clueless ruler should draw closer to God for divine protection! It is now obvious that this government had never taken the issue of security seriously.
The spate of killings of Nigerians nationwide by bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, militants, assassins and the police is such that questions the presidency of Jonathan if his uninspiring administration cannot guarantee its citizens security which is one of the fundamental duties of any responsible and responsive government.
A country where policemen participate in armed robbery routinely and the Inspector-General of Police quarterly holds cash-backed public relational sessions with newspaper editors cannot be safe for citizenship. Why should 15 policemen be attached to each governor? The same thing or more apples to some private moneybags, particularly politicians most of whom are the President’s friends? Anambra State is the most notorious in this deviancy! Now, who are those who say that the country is under-policed? The point is that our cops are poorly utilized.
If not, why should 15 of them be attached to just one political buffoon and clusters of others on the highways and trunk B roads extorting money all day shamelessly? It means that for the 36 governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, we have a bunch of 555 policemen guarding them in addition to other security operatives like the State Security Service (SSS) and additional private and paramilitary operatives.
So, on a statistical note, from Jonathan to governors, lawmakers, ministers, council chairmen, top officials of the PDP and senior public bureaucrats-–including their wives and concubines–-only God knows how many cops are left to police Nigeria.
In spite of his pretensions and avowals to the ideals of democracy, enthronement of anti-people’s policies and inhuman economic prescriptions, Jonathan is a very big disappointment. His occasional deceitful resort to spiritually in strictly state affairs is simply diversionary and an admittance of ineptitude.
Jonathan’s phenomenal failure is buttressed by the escalation of insecurity. If we continue this way, this variant namesake of mine will ruin this country after driving the common man crazy with strangulating and suffocative policies. I have lost confidence in the retrogressive Jonathan presidency
In a sane environment, this minister would have resigned or fired and investigated by anti-fraud agencies.