Saturday, 5 January 2013
Stop this profligacy, Mr. President!
The brouhaha that the contract cost for building the residence of the vice-president has thrown up is a clear indication of the insensitivity and the cluelessness that characterise the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. In a nation where the majority of the citizens are living below poverty line, homeless and with no indication that the situation will improve any time soon, the people at the helm of affairs are starkly projecting that they are there to feather their nest rather than serve those who put them in the saddle. Spending a whopping N14 billion to build such an edifice is unarguably a case of misplaced prority. It is even most befuddling that the contract had to be revised to suit some peculiar tastes and outlook of the incumbent vice-president. At a time when the government should be worried about putting food on the table of the average Nigerian, providing opportunities for the generality of Nigerians to be properly accommodated and facilitating the movements of the people, a forward-looking and sensitive administration would as of priority budgeted adequately for welfare schemes that will improve the lot of the people. The step being taken by the government has left many wondering why it would have taken the measure of removing the oil subsidy with a claim to putting the savings on efforts to improve the welfare of the people, only to end up spending it on frivolous projects such as the vice-president’s residence and the president’s banquet hall. The president, to me, has totally derailed. His selling point when he was campaigning for office was that he grew up as a young person without shoes and could, therefore, empathise with the common folks. His current gestures totally belie this! I am calling on him, if he desires to be on the good side of history, to retrace his steps immediately and stop frittering away the commonwealth of the people. He has to pay more serious attention to improving the electricity generation and supply in the country. The seeming gains that were made during the tenure of the former Minister in the sector, Barth Nnaji, have declined. The government seems to have now totally lost his bearing in the energy sector. Nigerians are daily going through hell trying to get fuel for their vehicles. The queues are endless and fuel is constantly in short supply. The Boko Haram terrorists are ever wreaking their deadly havocs, decimating human lives and destroying properties. With these myriad of problems, it is unimaginable for any government to ever think of misapplying the resources of the country for frivolous projects such as the proposed opulent vice-president’s residence and the president’s banquet hall. •Effiong Udoh wrote from Calabar.