Bailout: Rewarding Profligacy? | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Bailout: Rewarding Profligacy?

Posted: Jul 14, 2015 at 3:09 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The recent N400 billion bailout approved for the states by President Muhammadu Buhari to offset the backlog of salary owed to civil servants would certainly bring immense relief to the workers and their families. It is difficult to imagine how these Nigerians were able to survive the trauma and pain of existing for several months without salaries, especially, when one considers that even when these salaries were paid regularly and as at when due, they were hardly enough to solve even the basic needs of these public servants. In some cases, we have husbands and wives as state employees, and one is sincerely scared of imagining how life has been for them and their children these past few months.

One hopes that as this money is released, the story we would hear from all the states is that these hapless Nigerians have been paid all the arrears of salary owed them to enable them see the extent they would go to sort out their horribly battered existence – lives that have been heartlessly messed up by the gross irresponsibility and unspeakable callousness that now constitute the enduring character of state governance.

Considering that we have just emerged out from an election in which many state governors were squandering money as if all they all did to get loads of it was just to walk to their backyards and pluck them from some trees that generously grew them, Nigerians deserve to know the exact reasons why these governors were unable to pay salaries. In a place like OsunState, for instance, state workers were heartlessly owed salaries for about seven months. The state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, who recently won a reelection in bitterly contested (and obviously unimaginably expensive) election and who also may have equally contributed his own quota to achieve the “change” that now exists in Aso Rock must be compelled to tell Nigerians how his state achieved such an unimaginable descent. Why would a human being with a heart and blood running in his veins loudly advertise such unspeakable heartlessness by subjecting his fellow human beings to such horrendous trauma? Indeed, journalists and rights activists must thoroughly investigate Osun State and let us know if there were people among Osun workers that were unable to survive Aregbesola’s seven months of terror.

He must be held personally responsible and compelled to pay compensation to their families. This would equally apply to those unpaid workers who had lost children because they were unable to send them to hospital. Human Rights lawyers in the state should assist these victims of state terror to organize and institute a class suit against the Osun governor to demand compensation to serve as deterrent to other governors. For too long, our governors have got away with anything leaving the citizenry to bear alone the pain and anguish of their failure of character and leadership. President Buhari must be wary of behaving as if the money he just doled out came from his pocket. The N413.7 billion belongs to Nigerians, and despite the ongoing war of words between the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the exact source of the money, Nigerians deserve to know what exactly happened in the states that hampered their ability to pay salaries despite the allocations that flowed to them monthly from the Federation Account, and why some governors should not take adequate responsibility for the boundless financial recklessness and prodigality that plunged the states in such humongous mess? In fact, there is no “change” anywhere. Indeed, the APC, like someone said recently is just the PDP with a broom!  What Buhari has done, therefore, was to merely use the money that could have been judiciously deployed to make a difference in the lives of longsuffering Nigerians to reward mindless profligacy flourishing in the states.

It is most painful that while workers writhed in the excruciating pain of unpaid salaries, the governors lived large, squandering public funds as if they were going out of fashion. While other governors further drained the purse of their states by hiring and hopping about in private jets, Aregbesola opted to buy himself a helicopter in a state where workers were in grievous pain due to seven months unpaid salaries.  It is not as if they did not have such models like former Gov Peter Obi of Anambra State who saw being a governor as  just an opportunity to render sterling service to the people to learn from.

At a time, Obi was almost the only governor one could meet queuing to board an aircraft like any other passenger (and he mostly flew economy class) while his colleagues, some of whom would not have qualified to serve as his P.A. in any of his personal companies before they became governors hopped about in private jets and wallowed in unspeakable profligacy. No wonder, instead of bequeathing months of unpaid salaries to his successor, Obi, reportedly, left him about N74billion in money and investments. I think Buhari and the APC should transcend party lines and convoke occasionally reorientation sessions for the governors and bring the likes of Peter Obi to lecture them on the right mind to adopt as a governor and judicious management of state resources.