Nigeria: A Nation examined in one day

By Pacqueens Aisagbonhi, Coordinator Anti Corruption League

A day after 9/11’s 10th anniversary celebration in the US it was no surprise to see the Nation newspaper taking the human interest story of the event as the front page, and terrorism Nigeria style as another.

The Nigeria style was bold, Bombings; Tight security at defence quarters, while there was explosion in Jos. The idea that the army will sort our security out could mean it probably would not have happened under their watch. It could also mean we are still indirectly in a sort of military era. Even simple matters, why do we have an army uniformed officer behind the president every time, if not for army arrangement and military mentality.

On a very good note, have you noticed that it is only the Nigerian military that patronises assembled in Nigeria cars, thereby encouraging jobs in Kaduna. All other government agencies go for jeeps of different sorts and cars of, who knows who makes them, thereby encouraging jobs overseas and depletion of our foreign reserves.
Every day we shout that the recurrent expenditure is too high, why will it not be high when our ministries and Parastatals are full of fuel guzzling jeeps and vehicles.

Back to the Nation newspaper of the 12th of September, pages 10, 55 and 56 are full coloured advert by the Ministry of Petroleum presenting President Goodluck Jonathan’s oil and gas activities of 100 days in office. What is the point in telling us contracts have been awarded, approvals given, possible effects of a law signed in April 22, 2011, training for 12 persons and scholarship for less than 700 persons out of 40 million youths. All this is inside the same paper, where Lagos residents saw 100 days going unsung, yet, Lagos is probably the only state that is working.

More on adverts, the National hajj Commission of Nigeria has every right to advertise as an agency of government but should government really be involved in this religious travelling to foreign land, Saudi Arabia and Israel. We have no money for education but we have plenty for religious trips, what a country, what a people.

While Lagos state public works corporation, rightly, advertised for expression of interest for maintenance and rehabilitation for roads in Lagos state we have another advert by the Federal ministry for agriculture and rural development inviting tenders for rehabilitation of rural roads on page 62.

Why would the Agric ministry at the federal level be interfering in a road to the end of a grave yard, in Niger state? Obviously because we are so underdeveloped any intervention will be welcomed by the rural community but after this maintenance, who will do it next time? Is it not overlapping with ministry of works? Even then, why do we have Local and State governments, why is the ministry not using the counterparts fund to work with states? According to the Federal permanent secretary, Mrs Bamidele Fatimah, “The Ministry is not obligated to award the contract to any company” So what is the advert for? 419?

It is in the same vain, one wonders what will be the outcome of roads constructed by NDDC in some states or the classrooms built by Education trust funds in some primary schools. The maintenance of these new projects will eventually fall back to States or Local governments or be classified as federal projects and allowed to dilapidate from lack of maintenance.

How sad and low we have degenerated? What is wrong with our leaders?
The lack of foresight and inability to work for the good of all is demonstrated by the paper’s editorial on the same day, titled; Rivers “trapped” 380 MW. There is electricity but you can not use it.

It is not surprising to read all this in One day, in one newspaper, since the fundamental problem in Nigeria is still corruption. Yet, we have enough for our needs but not enough for our greed.

Pacqueens Aisagbonhi
Coordinator Anti Corruption League