Nigeria Oil Minister: Mark This David Mark By Erasmus Ikhide
There is nothing more thrilling than being oneself at any given point in time. The Senate President, David Mark has proven that self-evidence maxim, even though negatively, that one must remain true to his ideology, however discredited. Clearing or absolving the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke of any corruption charges as allegedly done by the Senate Committee on Finance some days ago is what Nigerians expect from the David Mark’s Senate.
Doing otherwise, David Mark would have been adorning a borrowed robe that detracts from his actual self, his longness for graft and purposeful impunity. David Mark, all his life, has been an ultra-conservative military impudent who stoically and consciously advocated the retention of existing traditions and institutions so as to limit desirable changes. It would amount to becoming left-handed at old age if Mrs Diezani Allison is not absolved of any wrong doing.
David Mark has played innumerable ignoble roles that terrorised the long suffering citizens of this country, even unto death. General David Mark was one of the arrowheads of the military top brass who vowed that MKO Abiola would be president over their dead bodies and that Nigeria would return to democratic rule over their graves! That singular objection from David Mark -IBB military clique to return Nigeria to democracy after several unkept promises dealt savage blow, not just on the socio-political psyche of the country, but hundreds of thousands of lives were crushed in the struggle to democratise Nigeria.
Nigerians who knew little of him only got to know more of him when he was Minister of Communications under the military jackboot of IBB as Head of State. Driven by class- mentality and perverse social alienation towards the larger populace, David Mark intoned then that “Telephone is not meant for the poor”! Less than two decade afterwards, urban and rural telephone became a bye word, and every Nigerian on the streets, up to the remote parts of the country, now have access to communication.
As if Nigerians were not eternally dammed and afflicted enough, the same David Mark has been siting pretty atop Nigeria Senate Chambers with a questionable mandate from Benue South Senatorial District, presiding over the democratic affairs of Nigeria! If anything, there is little or nothing to expect from an over ambitious and homicidal personage who ensure the crushing to death of democracy activists, forbid humanity from social advancement and access to communication.
Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC has been more epileptic than the Power Holding Company of Nigerian, PHCN, and David Mark’s has deadened its feelings to the cry of Nigerians to reign in Mobile Communication Service providers. Nigerians are less likely to expect the National Assembly, especially the Senate to prevail on the Commission for appropriate punishment. That would mean that Nigerian citizenry will be having the last laugh for which he has the highest contempt, and that is certainly not obligatory of David Mark’s Senate. That would have brought him in direct collusion with his past and conscience.
If President Goodluck Jonathan could say “corruption is not Nigeria’s problem”, gave clean bill of health to the Petroleum Minister, why wouldn’t David Mark do the same thing? If president Jonathan could find Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke worthy of appointment with her daunting credentials of failures, why wouldn’t David Mark validate her righteousness? If President Jonathan could openly debase his exalted office with falsehoods in a national broadcast in defence of Diezani why not David Mark? These are reciprocal altruisms, after all vampire bats and baboons have been observed feeding and protecting offspring within a colony not their own!
The oil empress’ crocodile tears she shed on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway is still flowing, now with concealed blood of commuters who are victims of accident on a daily bases, eight years after. Inclined to failure and corruption, the Oil Minister easily finds a ready alliance in Jonathan’s Presidency. Her presence in the Jonathan’s cabinet maybe serving other purposes unknown to us. In any case, intense beauty such as hers has some alluring satisfaction to the mind, especially in a vanquished government like this. Asides her scintillating presence in President Jonathan’s Presidency, one is not sure what else she does for the nation.
That is another form of corruption that has been hardwired, knowingly, into the fabrics of President Jonathan’s Administration. Until lately Nigerians didn’t have any impression that their president partied out most of the nights. People like Dr Jonathan and David Mark of this world are yet to realise that it is better to use irrigation systems other than human sacrifice to promotes agricultural productivity. Nigeria will only remain trapped in the juggle of primitive governance riddled with corruption if the desired change eludes us in 2015.
The Senate Committee which investigated the NNPC over allegations of fraud by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, Wednesday allegedly submitted its report to the Senate saying no funds were missing. The Committee in its report said Sanusi was merely spurious in his claimed in a leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan that $49.8 billion in crude oil revenue was missing. A further probe on the recent report on Mrs Diezani might reavel under the table dealings between the presidency and the Senate Committee on Finance. By the way, who can trust the graft infected National Assembly who deliberately pauperised and pretentiously defrauding Nigerians with their unearned salaries and outrageous allowances for gallivanting about?
We are yet to get to the climax of the theft of $49.8billion fraud. Baring all concealment, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Bukola Saraki, told Punch Newspaper that he was not aware of the clearance of the Petroleum Minister: “I can say on behalf of the Committee that these media reports bear no correlation to the content of the Senate Committee report and I would urge the public to disregard it in its entirety.
“The Committee is yet to receive the report on the forensic audit and independent analysis on the subject clearly indicate we have a lot of grounds to cover in order to determine the level of culpability or otherwise of agency on the alleged non-committal. “Therefore, to suggest any clearance for anybody at this stage is out of the question. I will further advise that the media should wait for the senate to release the details of the Committee report to the public before they jump into spurious conclusions.”
About two year ago, The Economist Magazine came up with the report that Nigerian legislator are the highest paid in the world. The magazine reveals that Nigerian federal legislators are the highest paid in the world with an annual basic salary of $189,500 (N30.6 m). The report, quoting data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), considered the salaries of lawmakers around the world and expressed it as a ratio of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
It reveals that the annual salary of a Nigerian federal lawmaker at $189,500 is 166 times the country’s GDP per capita, estimated at $1,600. According to the Daily Trust, British MPs earn 2.7 times their country’s GDP per capita. The study listed the annual salaries of legislators from different parts of the world: The US ($174,000), and Brazil ($157,600), UK ($105,400) yearly, South Africa ($104,000), France ($85,900), Kenya ($74,500), Saudi Arabia ($64,000). Other countries according to the Daily Trust: Ghana ($46,500), Indonesia ($65,800), Thailand ($43,800), India ($11,200), Italy ($182,000), Bangladesh ($4,000), Israel ($114,800), Hong Kong ($130,700), Japan ($149,700), Singapore ($154,000), Canada ($154,000), New Zealand ($112,500), Germany ($119,500), Ireland ($120,400), Pakistan ($3,500), Malaysia ($25,300), Sweden ($99,300), Sri Lanka ($5,100), Spain ($43,900) and Norway ($138,000).
It sounds out of place that Nigerian federal legislators receive higher salaries than lawmakers from richer countries such as the US should strike anyone as outlandish, but according to The Economist magazine that is the obvious truth. The Economist report on the Nigeria thieving legislators firmly established the massive gap between the rich and poor in Nigeria which the figure of $1,600 as Nigeria’s per capita income conceals. The annual income of middle class professionals would range between $15,000 and $30,000, senior middle class professionals up to $60,000, while executives would typically exceed $100,000.
Nigerian lawmakers’ allowances include accommodation (Senator N4m, Rep N3.97m), vehicle loan (Senator N8m, Rep N6.948m), furniture (Senator N6m, Rep N5.956m) and severance gratuity (Senator N6m, Rep N5.956m), which are due once in four years. Other allowances, which are payable every year, are car maintenance (Senator N1.52m, Rep N595,563), constituency (Senator N5m, Rep N1.687m), domestic staff (Senator N1.5m, Rep N1.488m), personal assistant (Senator N506,600; Rep N496,303), entertainment (Senator N202,640, Rep N198,521), recess (Senator N202,640; Rep N198,521), utilities (Senator N607,920; Rep N397,042), newspaper/periodicals (Senator N303,960; Rep N297,781), house maintenance (Senator N101,320; Rep N99,260) and ward robe (Senator N405,280; Rep N397,402).
There are also estacode (Senator $600, Rep $550) and duty tour allowance (Senator N23,000; Rep N21,000) payable per day when a lawmaker is on official trip. The RMAFC submitted a report alleging that the various government departments were violating the rules and provisions governing appropriate remuneration through lavish allowances. Till date, David Mark never spare a thought on balancing the National Assembly satanic remuneration package with a view to equalising Nigeria’s GDP with their criminal salaries and allowances so as to reflect it on the development index as obtained in other developed democracy’s.
An imposture like General David Mark ought to have been languishing in prison, if we were to have a country of my vision; not just because he is reaping where he did not sow, but as an absolute malefactor, an unwashed predator, and a brutal economy manipulator who parades himself as the ultimate lawgiver in the nation’s 3rd highest office.
Unless and until we refused to be manipulated by politicians of this caste with criminal credentials, the like of David Mark will continue to stride the political space with ignominy, creating escape route for bizarre being like Mrs Diezani Allison.
Erasmus Ikhide wrote in from Lagos, Nigeria.
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