A terrible thing has happened.
We have a ‘bastard’ situation at hand. There is a child roaming around the Nigerian polity who seems to have no father. It is the National budget. When President Buhari presented the deceitful document last December before the national assembly, he was quickly praised as having the highest regard for and sense of responsibility towards Nigerians. A ‘whole’ President came to present the budget. We were totally impressed.
Now, we have realised that we judged rather too quickly and it didn’t take long for us to see the mistake we made.
Just when it was time to begin deliberations on the budget, we realised that it had been kidnapped like a white man in the creeks of Bayelsa. A whole nation’s economic plan was missing.
The entire nation was sent into a frenzy. We searched for the national budget under our pillows, in the fridge, under the bed – everywhere!
When news would break out, there were 3 versions of the story:
- That the budget never went missing.
- That Mr President himself had crept in like a thief in the night and stolen the budget so as to make a few corrections.
- That a presidential aide had the audacity to have a fun-filled day changing figures and altering the supposed-to-be hallowed document. Therefore, there were two versions of the budget – the original and the remixed versions
It wasn’t until former Governor of CBN Dr Charles Soludo pointed out the real problem that we had a clear picture.
The budget that was presented in December by ‘Sai Baba’ had been written by the Goodluck Jonathan Administration which Nigerians had voted out of power. That was a bitter moment of truth. The presidency quickly said that it accepted the flaw and sent the ‘correct’ version to the National Assembly and deliberations finally began. Little did we know that once again, we had been fooled.
This time, it was more shameful.
Funny figures started appearing in a budget we thought would reflect the austerity the APC manifesto promised us. Here we were looking at a budget which provided for only N130 a day for the meals of inmates in the prisons while the Presidential kitchen gets N1billion for food stuff. Biko, are they eating goldfish and diamond rice?
What logic is behind the allocation of more money to The Aso Rock Clinic that caters to fewer than 2,000 people while teaching hospitals that cater to over 170 million Nigerians are handed peanuts? And then there’s the N3.2billion allocated for the renovation of Aso rock. Abeg, are they building Aso rock from the scratch?
N237 million was spent in 2015 to purchase kitchen equipment in Aso rock. Now, another N89 million has been budgeted for kitchen equipment. What kind of ridiculously expensive kitchen equipment is it that couldn’t survive one year or did Mama Peace carry them to Otueke?
While we were yet lamenting the drunk distribution of resources in the budget, another slap landed on our faces. The Minister of health, you remember him? The one that said we should blame GEJ for the outbreak of Lassa fever – yes, that one; he said the figures in the budget from the Ministry of health had been remixed. Who changed the figures? His enemies from his village?
You see, when we sat by our radios and Televisions to monitor the Ministerial screening last year, it wasn’t as a result of joblessness. We thought we were putting together a formidable team to bring the change Nigerians are hungry for. Isn’t it a huge disappointment that this would be happening now? We have spent over 40 days of 2016 and the most populous black nation on earth still doesn’t have an economic plan.
The 2016 budget reeks of the lies and empty promises of the APC – not that the wailing wailers from PDP could have done any better. This issue right here is non-partisan, it is rather a Nigerian problem. It is about a mad man who does the same thing while expecting different results. You condemn the former administration of having a luxurious fleet of jets at the expense of the people and when you get into power you do not only enjoy the same costly luxury but plan to acquire another jet. Haba!
Now we know the change APC was chanting last year. It is the change you get from that bus conductor who keeps yelling in your face that fuel is expensive so your fare has been increased. Yes, that miserly amount of money you’re handed back after you give him a crispy ‘Nnamdi Azikiwe’. To say that Nigerians are running out of patience is an understatement. One day, patience will only be remembered as the name of the former first lady of Nigeria if President Buhari and his cabinet don’t sit up and perform.
Whether you call it #budgetofyams, #missingbudget or #budgetofcorruption, don’t you just wonder that if ordinary writing of the budget can give everyone a headache, we all need to tie our wrappers well ahead of more drama. It is well o.