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Published On: Fri, Nov 17th, 2017

Budgets and public trust (1)

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President Muhammadu Buhari laying the 2018 Budget Proposal before a joint session of the National Assembly Members, yesterday in Abuja. With him is the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Omolori (right).
Photo: Mahmud Isa

FRIDAY Column by Engr. Abubakar A. Fari

You can’t get rich in politics unless you are a crook -Harry S Truman, Former US President

We start from the basic needs before pursuing the dreams like sending a Nigerian to the moon. Nigerian noise makers are still making noise and padding the budget while when we were at ABU the US astronauts who landed on the moon visited us at the faculty of engineering in 1973. The Russians were the first to raise the stakes with the Sputnik expedition to the moon. The Nigerian copy cats cannot produce a bicycle or even a spoke. But they have gone to the ridiculous extent of saying a section of a country that produces the food needs and meat supplements of the nation as unproductive. While they foolishly call themselves productive because an Oyibo has found oil on their “land” which their ancestors were only sleeping and worshipping idols till Shell struck oil at Olibiri. Their living interest is talking loud and contriving religious sentiments to remain relevant. With many fake degrees and certificates, budgets as public trust to them are na my office I go chop.
One must address the hierarchy of needs in the budgetary process before attaining the wild dreams. For the sake of illustration consider this scenario. Consider a household. The head of the family instead of providing food, clothing, rooms and beds for his children to sleep, payment of school fees to educate his children, getting them good transport to school and place of work, would rather hide the money in his mattress and ask them to go and play soccer perhaps they will be an Arsenal top player. Then leave for London and therefore say bye-bye to poverty. There on will be sending US Dollars for his up-keep and family sustenance. Or the money for them he will save and invest in shares while they go and beg. So the issue of training them to be engineers, doctors and other responsible citizens is set aside since he would see it as a waste of his earnings. The trust reposed on him to train and empower his children is regarded with disdain. To the Nigerian ruling elites the public trust embedded in the budgetary process is treated as holy water and the common man is not in the equations.
In Nigeria instead of getting the basic infrastructure right, the newspapers are only promoting hate stories and vilifications of other tribes with nothing to show in their backyards but leaders with cases with the EFCC or ICPC or the Code of Conduct bureau (CCB) that they are willing to part with 5% of the padding to get away with the illegal wealth. Either way at the micro and macro levels it is “lion” share for me and my tribes or those we share the same religion and the “baboon” share for other indivisuals and those outside my race or religion. All issues of development projects that will make Nigeria a great nation will continue to remain in the back seat.
The desire to manipulate the budget so as to position the “crooks” as former US President Harry Truman said to remain relevant in power play is the do-or-die paradigm. The manipulations of the recurrent expenditure and the capital votes take the centre stages. Public funds have been privatized by private indivisuals who see themselves as “small governments”. During the GEJ clueless administration the promotion of indivisuals richer than “governments” was the logic of his Niger-Delta myopic ethnic nationalities with “crooks” from PDP politicians nation-wide to support the budgetary economic crimes or the day light robbery that remains unprecedented in Nigerian history. We had a Tompolo knick-named and addressed by a serving President of Nigeria as “government”. Oil proceeds were diverted to none government accounts before the federation account and the noise makers knew pretty well the treason that called for public execution of these day light robbers but chose to ignore.
The cases of those with ambitions to vie for governorship and presidential elections induce many in the executive and the legislature to pursue earthquake corruptions. Even for a local councilor, a king maker ensures he has stolen from the budgets too much money to support his boys and girls. We remember former Governor Ngige was “imprisoned” for not bowing to the macabre dance of one of a former head of states stooge and a PDP blackmailer from his state bent on taking a chunk from the federation account of his state. So remain lunatics of the do-or-die politics that manipulate and control the dirty games at the National and state legislative arms take the shape of the scramble for Africa. This stance make the budgets as conduit pipes to siphon funds and all sorts of financial crimes that equate the victims to what former EFCC Chairman Farida to behave like mad men that need psychiatric examination. The so-called constituency projects and juicy Committee Chairmen at the National Assembly and effectively the control of the Judiciary are the stakes in budgetary chicaneries and gimmicks of the “how dare you” politicians.
Hence they store in sewages and ivory towers in places like Ikoyi liquid cash in foreign and local currencies that collectively, would otherwise create value chain and raise Nigeria’s status to an envious position in the world scene. Some even go to the ghettoes like Sabuwar Tasha in Kaduna and lock and dam millions of US Dollars that they do not need just because they are sadists. Rather, noise makers study law to confuse and degrade the country to a banana republic and ultimate chaos. Economic and financial criminals are legend and because of the abuse court processes to frustrate recovery of the loot remain unused for the common good.
These underutilized public funds are needed to develop basic infrastructure like roads bridges and high ways; health infrastructure; food self sufficiency; reliable supply of electric power but for the fraud by the merchants of generators importers; stable insurance policy for the civilians and military and the para-military; qualitative education; cost effective operations of the refineries and petrochemical complexes; and security is designed to fail in the country because some crooks have failed to rig themselves into the corridors of power among others. So hard earned foreign currency essential for financing development projects end up in the US-Zionists banks for the procurement of arms and not food and basic necessities. Commission agents again cheat their fellow citizens in the process. It is when these facilities are on ground that one can dream of going to the moon.
The hierarchy of needs demand that we satisfy our people with food against hunger. Then we move to provide clothing, shelter, transport and security to pursue our diverse interests. That security is one that creates an environment where one is free to move without the fear that his life and property are at risk. Nigerians witnessed this callous indifference when GEJ and the southern elements held sway. The budget was not held in trust for the citizens of the country. The GEJ and the PDP turned Nigeria into a banana republic and the oil and gas proceeds were manipulated by a cabal from the so-called Niger Delta who regarded the proceeds from the petroleum as personal to them. One petroleum minister and her boss GEJ and other grandees met behind closed doors and appropriated it to themselves. Greedy scavengers from the PDP nationwide forgot themselves and their fellow countrymen each wanted to feast like hungry lions on a buffalo in the jungle. So what if the country ran riot.
The moment public trust is disrespected the centre cannot hold. Corruption is a societal cancer. Clearly, something had to inevitably give way. The naivety of GEJ and the clueless advisors could not understand that in a country with over 150 million people lacking basic needs and someone throws in the religious card and that was Christianity for GEJ and his greedy Pastors will not work. A huge majority of Christians could not eat hallelujah and vote with no hope in the future. No food for their families while few got stinking rich from their tribes and few Pastors. Urubebe had to fall in disgrace as their scheme was clueless and treasonable in all of its ramifications. The Biafra elements once more miscalculated and sided with the anti-Nigerian elements and now with no shame are crying wolf.

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