By: Adebayo AbdulRahman Adedayo
Sometimes I find it hard to understand the main problem of the Nigerian citizenry. We bombard our leaders and political office holders with so many demands that Mr President had to address a press conference to explain the geometric fall in his size as a result of how hard he has been working to meet our demands.
Despite this we still find a way to confuse the thunders and paint a not-too-good picture of the government at all tiers, claiming they are not working and we need an overhaul. Someone even managed to take it as far as demanding a revolution.
However, in a bid to fulfil one of his major campaign promises of better infrastructure, Mr President has approved a meagre sum of just 37 billion naira for the renovation of a building jointly owned by all Nigerians, where our distinguished senators and class…no, federal…reps distribute national assets or discuss national issues as the case may be.
The renovation of the building is coming on the back of the claim by some distinguished lawmakers (if the law still exists) that some microphones — ordinary microphones — are malfunctioning and that the buildings have not been renovated for the past 2000 or maybe 20 years.
We have every reason to celebrate and applaud Mr President for this masses-oriented project that would increase and better the conditions of living in a country some jobless people have tagged the global headquarters of poverty.
No doubt, it is only when lawmakers discuss in a building with the most up-to-date interior design and perfectly working air conditioners that their brains can be in a condition to function well, to think critically, and arrive at more creative methods to carry out their legislative functions. This, of course, most importantly includes budget padding — because it is a naked truth that budget padding is an essential ingredient of economic growth and development. Yet, some lazy Nigerian youth believe the approved amount might be too much…no less.
What they don’t know is that had it been the renovation of the national assembly came ahead of the beautifully imported, made-in-China Social Media Bill rejected by Nigerians on the basis that it was plagiarised, probably our lawmakers would have been in the psychological state of mind to draft a better, much needed and not too plagiarised instrument like an Anti ‘Lai’ Bill, Anti Punch Bill etc.
A critical look at the 2020 budget where the project was included showed and gave a better view of how well the president understands the not-so-many problems of the Nigerian state.
He allocated a whopping N48 billion to cater for the educational needs of the country only in year 2020 and then approved N37 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly building thereby pointing to the fact that there is not much difference between the money required to up-downgrade the education sector and that for the renovation of a building in the Federal Capital Territory.
In a dissimilar situation, the minister for works and housing has announced that Nigerian roads are not that bad and that Nigerians simply prefer to undermine the truth.