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Published On: Fri, Dec 8th, 2017

Budgets and public trust (4)

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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

mofari@hotmail.com

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

Buhari took over in May 2015 with the three arms of government used to abusing public trust. It was and is still normal and why not. The Executive collaborated with the Legislative arms to see what is in it for me. The budget rituals where the President or in the states where the Governor as “Excellencies” present to the “honourables” called Senators and the members of the House trusted with doing “justice” to the budget for “their” people see it as something else. In the UK that colonised us and they taught us how to respect budgets coded in General Orders (GO) and Financial Instructions (FI) sanity prevailed. In the UK the budgets are effective April 1st to March 31st every year. Before 31st March the incoming budget must have gone through all the readings and scrutinies and will have been passed. Effective April 1st government and their people get it approve and on track.
In Nigeria, the Federal budget that is supposedly to be effective January 1st of a fiscal year goes through vested interests and self serving so-called “elected representatives of the common man”. They deliberately waste time because the interests of Nigerians are first and foremost not in their dictionaries. The goodness to Nigerians is not in any real sense in their heart of hearts. They contrive delays and squabbles for no reason within themselves and the Executive and the user MDAs. With a crooked Senate President and Speaker the stage is set for direct and indirect stealing. So far the beautiful ones are yet to be born. As it is the key functioneries have cases to answer with the ICPC and the EFCC and manyn that served as Governors have skeletons in their cupboards in their states they served.
So how can Nigerians get a fair deal? What is at stake is that they want Buhari to sack Magu. This would appear to a sensible Nigerians that the statement of Harry Truman for branding politicians as crooks instead of honourables would appear as if he had Nigeria in mind. Of course most of the user MDAs are birds of the same feather all “me” or what is in it “for me” first. Head or tail any constitutional arrangement, the common man in Nigeria suffers. The common man too out in the street is also something else. While he accuses his leaders for corruption, also given a small chance will abuse trust. However, the onus of getting the led on track lies on the leaders.
Obasanjo had the privilege of becoming the President of Nigeria in the second Executive US type Presidential democratic system America style. This followed Shagari that Obasanjo’s tribes men never allowed to function out of tribal and especially religious anti-Islamic stance by a narrow minded noisy and yet to get out of bloody poverty negroes of Africa. The Executive under Obasanjo lacked democratic balance and respect for the rule of Law. He saw himself as messiah which never he was. With old brigade military backgrounds behaved like an army commander seeking loyalty from all. The separation of powers was to Obasanjo only on paper. The budget I learnt in his first year that he “spent four times over”. I should like to believe Ghali Naabba for calling Obasanjo “the most corrupt Nigerian” could shed more light under the circumstance. But when Obasanjo was accusing the Abuja lawmakers they charged him back as a no better person.
The worst was when Obasanjo as a President at any flimsy chance in London and New York was accusing Abatcha of looting. Most believe that Abatcha gave Nigerians better deal in keeping the Trust with the budget. A fact remains he gave Buhari the opportunity to manage PTF to his credit and the small budgets were used effectively for the good of Nigerians. During Obasanjo there were missing NNPC funds, the proceeds of the sales of the houses and the huge oil and gas revenues were not effectively used to develop basic infrastructure. Obasanjo awarded US Chevron an oil deal at the expense of Shell with much better offer for Nigeria and Nigerians. Billions were wasted in power but with nothing to show. The highways cutting across Kano-Lagos; Abuja—Port-Harcourt; Abuja-Ondo-Lagos; Kano-Maiduguri; Railways; Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto etc airports till he left were undeveloped.
Most important food self sufficiency was treated with a joke. Cassava a none-starter since it favoured the south-west was naively raised to the centre stage of the agricultural policy with no positive result. EFCC was more for blackmail of those who were “disloyal” to Obasanjo and his third term ambitions. To compound Nigeria’s problem he did not allow for proper democratic election but a do-or-die contraption that imposed the Yar’adua-Goodluck ticket. President Yar’adua did his best under the circumstance but was schemed to be an ineffective President and die for a clueless Jonathan to take over. That was what happened so that public trust went to the dogs and budgets were personalized as private bank accounts under the clueless GEJ and uncultured grandees largely, from his enclave.
The legislators blackmail Executive by going to recesses and gallivanting abroad for nothing. The Nigerians are at the receiving end. Their lives and progress could go to the dogs. Meanwhile the “honourables” are riding new cars and getting alerts in their handsets for doing nothing. Six month down the line shamelessly the clueless “honoroubles” pass the budget and is ready for President to sign. Just imagine the FCT budget only passed in November 2017 slated for 2017 and they have received the 2018. Many come from poor homes and distressed villages with no good roads and portable water. Diseases abound but that is not their living interests. The technocrats in the civil service are no better patriots and intelligent. This demonstrates clearly, there appears no hope for a blackman. We still live with slave mentality to steal FX and dump in the West. What is the difference when the local police in the colonial days went to the villages and confiscated eggs and foul to cook for Oyibo.
The Judiciary was co-opted in the swindle and they got neck in deep. The opportunity arose with the judicial summersault when billions were at stake in deciding who won the governorship elections and other strategic positions for the President, Governors and the party in the LGs, states, Senate, the state and the federal Houses. The do-or-die remains the Governorship and the Presidency. Illegal drawings from state and federal funds to bribe Judges, fat fees for the SANs and party chaps and myriads of jokers. Federal allocations meant to be employed in the budgetary process were diverted through the Bureau de Changes to purchase US Dollars to turn justice upside down and inside out. The media houses and journalists and the spiritualists, traditional rulers and area boys and yaan daba and sara suka you name it became beneficiaries in these behind the doors illegal diversion of state and federal allocation meant for the budgetary process for Nigerians.
We conclude with white elephant projects or projects that are in the thin air. The mother of all hypothecation of oil and gas cahs proceeds as done when GEJ and DIEZIANE WERE BETWEEN THEMSELVES CALLING THE SHOTS AT THE NNPC AND THE JOINT VENTURE OIL AND GAS DEALS BETWEEN NIGERIA AND THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET. ZOBE WHITE ELEPHANT IN D/MA ELECTIC POWER PROJECTS THAT MONEY WAS STOLEN DIRECTLY
In Katsina state at Dutsin-ma there is a Zobe dam was established during Shagari era there typical type of projects about nation wide. The since early 1950 over 30 years down the line has been lying in productive, the communists do not benefit from the irrigation to produce food from irrigation. Nor do they enjoy water supply for consumption and sanitation.
There a huge concrete dam erection at the junction of the Katsina ……since over 30 years and billions have been paid but still lying waste near the Dutsin-ma dam there are so many huge water distribution pipes also dumped that were budgeted and paid for, how can intelligent people behave this way. Public trust abused with impatiently and the trustees get away with it.
The beneficiaries just which helplessly for donkey years, this sorry state of affairs and when a patriot leader calls those who contributed the “bogus” project to come and account they ran to the senate house of representative to block entry further with no shame would wish to evade justice.

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