By Abdulkadir Salaudeen
FG Supporting Stars like Burna Boy and Wizkid with 300 million loan: Osinbajo’. This headline, featured in Peoples Gazette, captured my attention. I have to rob my eyes to be very sure I am not dozing—to be very sure that I saw what I saw and read what I read. This was after winning the Grammy awards. But 300 million loan to do what? To buy musical instruments? Agogo or bata drum? Alto horn or piano? Drum machine or electric guitar? I just don’t understand.
I know someone will say this is to boost the entertainment industry and encourage the budding musicians. Truly, I am neither artists’ fan nor do I habitually consume whatever is produced in the entertainment industries. Yet, it may not be wrong if government chooses to invest in entertainment industry, but that should not be at the expense of other critical sectors like health and education. The number of out of school children balloons day after day. That is to say ignorance is on the ascendance in our dear country (Nigeria) in the age of knowledge, science and technology.
If you add the number of out of school children due to ubiquitous kidnappings in the North which led to the closure of many schools, you will realize how terrible our condition is. Don’t even talk of the Almaajiris in the North who, in their multitudes, go from house to house begging for food—a tradition which some people erroneously attribute to Islam. And sadly, this is happening in the 21st Century.
As I mentioned above, investing in entertainment industry or tourism is not wrong in and of itself (especially if it generates revenue to the government). What is painful is that tax payers’ moneys are used as loan to musicians who do not necessarily need it. I would have expected the Vice President give out this loan from his pocket; not from the public fund. Do not forget that the N-Power Volunteers Batch A and B were sacked during the period of lockdown when life was miserable and ends could hardly meet. They were to be replaced with Batch C which had been put on hold since last year. Or should I say have been kept in a limbo? The explanation for not mobilizing the Batch C will perhaps be: ‘no money’, ‘the government’s coffers are empty’, ‘government is broke’, ‘there is recession’, and what have you.
It could be argued that the Government has been reaching out to the masses too through various interventions. Yes, there is this credit facility: a stimulus program for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) as well as households affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. But surely most people will not get it except perhaps through the back doors. You could recall how Nigerians got the COVID 19 palliatives which were housed in several warehouses across the country. They did not actually get them; they looted them. Nobody, of course, prays that such a historical looting spree be repeated again.
As someone jokingly said, and it could be true, that cars used by Burna Boy and Wizkid worth N300 million. This is to say they are rich and do not need Federal Government loan. But those who genuinely need government loan were helped through TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoney which only worth N10, 000 to N300, 000. Please do not be deceived by the latter figure (N300, 000). It might take you years before you are entitled to it. This is how it operates: you get N10, 000 loan; after the payment of the first loan, the beneficiary automatically qualifies for a N15, 000 loan. After paying the second loan, the beneficiary qualifies for a N20, 000 loan, followed by N50, 000 loan, N100, 000 loan, until the beneficiary finally qualifies for N300, 000 loan. But N300 million loan for the likes of Burna Boy and Wizkid within a twinkle of an eye? Wonder shall never end!
In addition, most graduates who need jobs could not get job; and the few who were giving N30, 000 monthly allowance, courtesy of their N-Power service, were sacked without the promised exit packages. When are we going to get it right? I just hope we get it right. I was chatting with a friend in one of those foreign countries that Nigerians escape to, to have a sigh of relief from the torturous living condition here in Nigeria. He said many Nigerians after the completion of their studies abroad do not like to return home even though they are not wanted in those countries. He said they prefer to be hiding and working. What a pity! I think it is high time the government prioritized the needs of the masses. I wish and hope and pray that Nigeria regain her lost glories one day.
Last week in my article titled “The Devil Called ‘Four Point Scale’ and the Faith of Education in the North”, I erroneously wrote that the almighty University of Ibadan is a good example of universities that dump the 4 point grading system and reverted to their former systems. I later realized that the University still uses the 4 point grading system for some categories of their students. This I regret, though the fact that the 4 point grading system in comparison to the 5 PGS is disadvantageous to