Padded Budgets, Dynamics Of Devt And The Polity – All Motion No Movement, By Jimi Bickersteth
The commentaries, sighs, trepidation and confusion that greeted the 2016 national (padded)budget, has turned it into a simple meal with no frills in a nation that promises so much but delivered very little. This padded document takes its roots in precedent, only that, this particular one, has left many a Nigerian disillusioned and disappointed; and coming swiftly after the people spoke with their right hand thumbs,in a tone that echoed resounding’change’, across the length and breadth of the nation.
It is relevant, hence should be noted here in parenthesis that the pressure and persuasion in the ‘ change ‘ mantra stemmed from the seeds ( sow the wind and reap the whirlwind) planted by all previous administrations put together and without any exception, which at fruition, birthed, anguish, fear of recession, corruption in high places, mindless fleecing and the frustration of retrogression:ills,whose effects are threatening to blow the nation apart.
In a nation where everything was wrong, while nothing was working and nothing was happening to the people,the swansong today is still a hangover grumbles of ‘ all motion no movement ‘. A nation that have a closet full of clothes, yet going shoeless and have nothing to wear in the harsh coldness of harmattan.
The prevailing circumstances in and around the country portrays Nigeria is a great and complex country, where the social and economic structures are also so complex, to a point that we neither can not properly interprete, what democracy stood for nor make it serve the general interest of the mass of the people. Which invariably was not a mere Freudian slip, it’s a set up recipe for failure.
Beyond the realm of our usual subjective speculation, it is becoming as clear as daylight that the nation, who’s budgetary systems and form could be likened, to plastic surgery tactics and procedures have produced budgets that have been made and used over time as a non cosmetic or cosmetics, if you like,plastic surgery to improve the aesthetic characteristics of the nation and aimed, albeit, half heartedly to restructuring, restoring,the economic crisis confronting it. but more often than not,the results have always left scars that don’t heal or to be on the safer side, never heal.
Because of the procedures which appear defective, a lot of improvisation which ordinarily should have been built into the documents and should have led to new innovations and development including rebuilding, reviving and increased knowledge about the nation’s peculiar economic conditions and which also should have led to exploring and exploiting the potential of cloning technology as a method of economic rejuvenation have been truncated, and monies supposedly charged to votes have been wantonly and frivolously, shared amongst the exclusive executhieves and legislathieves clubs, and leaving the nation with the usual traditional,but arcane annual rituals.
The cumulative effect of this magic,so to speak, is the monumental and unprecedented failure of the system and of a budgetary pattern that has left the nation and its people skating on ice, and the otherwise piffling complaints all around.The list is endless,PHCN,Agriculture with billion without any land to cultivate, Housing, Health, Education, Security, Social security, no welfare,no safety net, etc.
In retrospect, its easy to see where it all went wrong, and why our democratic experience is still a meaningless metaphor of a people sheepishly submitting to the state. The nation’s freakish odyssey in to civil rule,has strange bedfellows, sit on the destiny of the Nigerian estate and share experiences they hardly understood nor could relate with.
Little wonder it appears the hallowed chambers are peopled with characters with loose values, loose lifestyles, self-absorbed, self-centred and morally decadent individuals, presently trying to arm twist the course of justice and rubbish the new administration resolve to resolutely fight corruption.
They are even flaunting and carrying on with swagger like a drunken sailor on an oceanliner as if there is no qualms about it, forgetting that in matters of state they should be principled, right is right and wrong is wrong,and there can be no two ways about it. After all, one can not be right and at the same breath be wrong.
Need one remind the lawmakers that as representatives of the people in matters of principle, they as distinguished honourables cannot afford to swim with the tide as they seem to be currently doing.
Of course, I have some of my good friends in both of the red and green chambers,some of whom I’ve not seen in a long while, but who I know to be morally upright and above board both in learning and character, but then, “?rú kan ní mú niibú’gba erú “. In any case, we must arrest the tide in the slides,and all compatriots must arise in tune with the first line of the nation’s anthem.
It is curious how the nation shout blue murder on the president and his cabinet any time things go harry and they often do, yet we have a well renumerated legislature that is almost insulated and shielded from criticisms. A legislative Chambers, peopled by men and women, who have displayed again and again, that in matters with which they are ‘better acquainted’ than the rest of us, who incidentally wear the slippers, do not listen to us, but follow the current of their own thoughts; in a tone which constantly showed that they only understood the meanings of their words, after they had uttered them, and with such confidence that Nigerians could not be sure of what was been said. (The latest is the budget, and Nigerians are even asking the legislators, whose budget.) The best we have produced in the circumstances have been unending crises. Nigerians once murmured, and their misery quotient increased, but now are screaming, how did we get from tranquillity to volatility.
Take for instance the most current faux pas,the purchase of 108 jeeps for the senators, which, apart from being allegedly,fraud laden, the purchase as it were, appears unethical and insincere . In this period of belt tightening and cutting coat “according to the cloth”,the timing is wrong, and if they will be honest to their vocation and oaths of office, they know within themselves, that there is no exigencies and compelling reasons for the purchase. I will wager my lunch if those jeeps are not mere status symbols aimed at oppressing and further pauperised the frustrated and disappointed Nigerians.
That aside,elementary economics and common sense should inform the decision to buy the jeeps, as it dictates and so it is expected that the lawmakers or those saddled with the function,in applying the due process, should have taken an interest in centralising motor vehicle purchases by purchasing through a centralised agency,and since they are buying in bulk,should have been in position to negotiate lower prices and consequently a better bargain than it got . In this austere time, if it were their personal money, would they have taken the liberty to take the same decision,let us be honest.
There comes a thought forming in my mind, that seat have a way of tripping its occupants, and its fast becoming a musical chair,and from Nigeria’s experiences, the Senate leadership banana peel always emanates from motor vehicles purchase second only to renovation of quarters, and this one is not going to be an exception,read my lips. It is sad that this peculiar mess is taken place in a nation that is big enough population and economic wise, to manufacture motor vehicles.
On this budget circus show and the purchase of 108 jeeps,add the ones delivered to the Senate president last month or so, one thing leads to the other and at the end, wider questions arise,and this is an area where the nation’s leaders should take more than a cursory interest,and should begin to institute elements and strategy for establishing and owning
i.our own motor vehicle industry ( not an assembly plant or a CKD depots),
ii.ipsofacto, establish practical working strategies that would make it possible for Nigerians to
a.assume greater control over its own economies and
b.develop our own manufacturing industries strong enough to survive in the international market place.
The PMB administration must find an answer to the nation’s economic,political and industrial problems. By this the nation would avoid exploitation in every possible way and also checkmate those who indulge in excessive profiteering and tax evasion, and the monopoly of the giant multinational vehicle companies.
> The spindles hummed steadily and ceaselessly on all sides. As the people move to protect their nation from the predatory interests of its leaders, the question PMB & Co should address at this time of our national development, is, can he provide Nigerians with leadership at its most challenging. Leadership whose only criteria is not only about power and control,but about giving of oneself to the people who should matter.
Since the second Republic in 1979,it would appear as if our politricians did not seem to understand the arguments about the dynamics of development. This was due largely to the division in their ranks as it appears they have often failed to harmonies positions. It is obvious that majority of the ruling elites have a pro-right political leaning, and consequently, support more traditional social values, private enterprise and control of industry by private companies, where they could stash their money and other slush funds for profit rather than by the pro-left postulations, that favoured a greater degree of social change, that industries should be controlled by the state and that wealth should be equally distributed.
Hence, politicians in the two extremes, have not been able to arrive at a concensus on how to make the inner dynamics of socialist orientations an integral part of the nation’s development strategy,processes and character, which arguably should have worked better for the nation and would have accelerated development, because our temperance, nature and republican make up would easily fit into such arrangements .
It is obvious that the bane of the nation’s growth and development is the pseudo capitalist approach it adopted,this much shows in our spending and savings pattern and the picture of the budgets we have always had,and the bridges we burnt.
> The leaders mindsets which runs contrary to the ideals of social integration is the raison d’etre of the nation’s sloppy developmental strides. They hardly understood the relationships between economics and politics and at the interface between the two.The contrast is that Nigeria have great traditions and rich cultures, while the aspirations and expectations of the people are varied and sophisticated. The complexity of our country is further enriched by the commitment of the people to good government based on democracy.
One way or the other the nation is waiting to see what strategies the pressy has mounted to implement the budget with its numerous contradictions and backpack of complications, and also waiting to see how the battles of wits, superiority, the domino effect the Saraki saga, the 108 jeeps and the CCT and arrant deceit in the budget pans out on one hand and how well and efficient the PMB administration would implement the budget and deliver the dividends of democracy to the teeming mass of our people. #
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.
He can be reached on Twitter