By Emeka Nwokocha,
I emphasize strongly this maxim, “life is ephemeral,” and have gone further to saying that it will amount to a foolhardy for any mortal to assume the posture of a demi-god and arrogates absolute power to him which in turn corrupts him absolutely to the point of causing his fellow country men and women irredeemable trouble or harm.
It is on this note I express worry to note therefore, that in the Nigerian democratic society, the apparatchik of government obviously habours a huge dose of inexplicable absurdities and intrigues, a sad development that has lowered the tempo of good governance over the years. It is pertinent to note that since democracy was reestablished in our country in 1999 after a long romance with the military regime, visionary and patriotic leadership has seriously eluded our polity. Notably, at the federal and state levels, good governance has assumed the crop of political leaders saddled with responsibility of time, the 36 States of the country, where government appears to exist, what reigns supreme is twisted ideologies characterised by vain and passionate quest for material acquisition, which hurtfully debase the value of humanity in the context of the Nigerian citizenry. The above is given prominence on the fact that after more than 5 decades of successful and uninterrupted exploration and extraction of crude oil from the Niger Delta region (the goose that lay the golden egg), the streets and communities of Nigeria is brazenly painted with the agony of lack, pain, hunger, deprivation, destitution, malnutrition, etc., that have regularly become the lot of the gullible populace.
So alarming is the grime fact that till this hour, the Nigerian government still feigns ignorance of the naked truth that the pegged eighteen thousand, five hundred naira minimum wage structure for the civil servants has since lost it value. Without mincing words, it is an indubitably fact that considering the high inflation situation of the economy currently, it will not be out of reason for this writer to infer that a large number of the employees of the civil service, most especially, those at the low cadre cannot afford a descent accommodation anywhere in the cities of the country. The truth is we need just a simple arithmetic to get a clear picture of what the above analysis tends to State clearly for every Dick and Harry to see.
For example, in the unplanned city of Warri, “the oil city” as it is popularly called, but seriously lacking the trappings of a modern city, a 2 bedroom apartment is being let at N18,000.00 and above depending on the area. But in Lagos, Abuja and other economically viable or industrialized cities, the price is much higher.
Without anybody being subjected to a state of duress in phantoming the reality in the exposition made above, it behooves Nigerians of good conscience to understand that it is still a mystery how the low income Nigerian civil servant could afford the cost of living in our cities.
As a good spirited Nigerian puts it “in plain truth, the wage structure of the civil service by default requires every low income earning Nigerian worker to live in the forest or bush within the neighborhood of the cities – That is what the structure evidently implies.
So disheartening is the fact that in the same country were the average Nigerian worker nay citizen cannot eke a living in the face ceremony of excruciating poverty and frightening unemployment, our political leaders play the ostrich and walk home with humongous salaries and unjustifiable allowances for doing no harder job than what we all see them do at the National Assembly in Abuja. Similarly, at the state level there is a replication of that lopsided remuneration.
Against the backdrop of the unmerited privilege our political representatives ignominiously enjoy in the face the ravaging poverty that dot the nooks and crannies of our communities and cities, which loudly portray us as a people living on vague and false values, the agency charged with fixing the salaries and emoluments of Nigerian public office holders – the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), must think rationally now and intervene in this national folly and correct the anomaly. It must be emphasised that this inexplicable disparity has unjustly been sustained and upheld despite continued call by the Nigerian people for a review of the pay package of the public office holders. Even at this hurting time of economic recession when thousands of jobs have been lost thus swelling the population of unemployed Nigerians and subjecting many families to untold hardship, these crop of Nigerian political office holders stupendously luxuriate in their bogus salaries and emoluments without a tinge of remorse.
In every facet of our fiscal policy, it must be noted that not a mention is made of the welfare of Nigerians. Over the years, the populaces have been subjected to untold hardship even as the government of waste squanders the resources accrued to the state with impunity.
It calls for concern to note that the primary responsibility of the government which is the welfare and security of the people is evidently a far cry.