THE ANIMAL FARM CALLED NIGERIA

THE “ANIMAL FARM” CALLED “NIGERIA”

Theme: The Nigerian Senate consists of 109 members, who passed 46 Bills in 10 minutes and 123 Bills in 4 years expending N600bn in all, Wow!

I can only agree more with Mujahid Asari Dokubo that the Nigerian National Assembly is “a fraud”.

I got interested in knowing more about the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, especially when on June 4 2015 the Nigerian Senate passed a total of 46 bills in about 10 minutes as widely reported in news media.

In the submission of the outgone Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, the Seventh Senate in four years could only pass 123 bills, introduce 591 others, considered 115 motions and expended the sum of N600bn, about $3bn during this period.

This is a robbery of the Nigerian people. This article is therefore a protest against members of the Seventh Senate, the National Assembly and others in our political class.

This is robbing both Peter and Paul to pay self. I can understand it if Peter is robbed to pay Paul but I cannot find justification for this degree of self-centeredness, selfishness and a show of self-importance by our political class over other Nigerians.

Definitely ALL Nigerians are not equal before the Law. Like in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, this is another case of “two legs good, four legs bad”, where the civil/public servants and our political class, who constitute less than 20 million of the total population of our country see themselves as human beings, and the over 160 million others they see as  their animals.

This is the picture I want all Nigerians to see of how our political class view us. It is now that I understand the reason why some rascally military officers would wake up one morning and announce the suspension of our constitution and its political system.

If what I observe in the Third Schedule of our constitution is the result of its so many years of amendments and reviews, then I am sure it was worse than what it is now, necessitating the several military interventions we have experienced. No citizen who knows his rights under this present constitution can tolerate these degrees of human abuses.

Article 32 (a – e) of the Third Schedule of our constitution empowers the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to among other things “monitor accruals…and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account”.

The Commission is to also, among other things “review, from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities”.

This is to say, assuming the “Federation Account” is called the “Nigerian people bank account”, that the “account” where the monies for all Nigerians are kept; the RMAFC holds the deposit and withdrawal booklets; and altogether signs all transactions into and from the account.

In guiding this commission on how to spend the monies meant for Nigerians, the constitution only recognizes the political office holders as mentioned in Article 32(d) of the Third Schedule and others as included in Section 84 and 124 of the constitution.

In the aforementioned sections of our constitution, the Nigerian peoples’ bank account only provides disbursement of funds for every worker under the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.

If you are a Nigerian and you don’t find yourself working in any of the three arms of government, sorry, the Nigerian peoples’ money is not meant to be mobilized, allocated and fiscally commissioned for you, yet it is called “our money”.

The people who we entrusted with “our money” are the same people who have by their own making sidelined us from having shares in our patrimony; by their creation of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and empowering the Commission to sideline us.

There is therefore no other reason to give for the obscene allocations of salaries, allowances, retirement benefits and other mouth gapping sums these men and women take from us for themselves and members of their households.

I tell you, fellow Nigerians, that if every Nigerian is captured in the consideration of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission’s disbursement of revenue, we will not be exhaustively cheated as we now are.

Like I said, this is robbing both Peter and Paul to pay self. The right thing to do is to mobilize our revenue, allocate and fiscally commission it to and for every Nigerian qualified under the universal adult suffrage, providing for his upkeep, health and shelter, before the balance can be mobilized, allocated and fiscally commissioned for other needs of the country and for political expedience.

Let me by the above revelation draw the attention of our political leadership and that of the members of the RMAFC to their gross abuse of the Fundamental Objectives of our constitution as provided for in Section 13 of the constitution, which states that “it shall be the duty and responsibility of ALL ORGANS of government (including the RMAFC), and ALL AUTHORITIES (including the offices making up the Commission) and PERSONS (including everyone working in the Commission), exercising legislative, executive and judicial powers (meaning the whole government structure) to CONFORM to, OBSERVE, and APPLY the provision of this chapter (the Fundamental Objectives) of THIS constitution”.

I am therefore and hereby calling the attention of ALL Nigerians to the gross violation of a Fundamental Objective enshrined in our constitution for the benefits of ALL Nigerians by the creation, functions and activities with which the same constitution empowers the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

Of course we know that the constitution did not write itself, some Nigerians did.

Section 16 Subsection 1 (a & b) of our constitution, under its Economic Objectives, states that “the State shall, within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this constitution

(a) Harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy; 

(b) Control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of EVERY CITIZEN on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.

Section 16 Subsection 2 (a – d), in continuation of the Economic Objectives of our constitution, states that “the State shall direct its POLICY towards ENSURING:

(a) The promotion of a planned and balanced economic development;

(b) That the MATERIAL RESOURCES OF THE NATION ARE HARNESSED AND DISTRIBUTED AS BEST AS POSSIBLE TO SERVE THE COMMON GOOD;

(c) That the economic system IS NOT operated in such a manner as TO PERMIT THE CONCENTRATION OF WEALTH OR THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND EXCHANGE IN THE HANDS OF A FEW INDIVIDUALS OR OF A GROUP; and

(d) That suitable and adequate SHELTER, suitable and ADEQUATE FOOD, reasonable national minimum living wage, OLD AGE CARE and pensions, and UNEMPLOYMENT, SICK BENEFITS AND WELFARE OF THE DISABLE ARE PROVIDED FOR ALL CITIZENS.

Now let me take up our political class, especially the legislators, who quickly beat their chest each time they have issues with the executive arm, claiming they represent the people, on what their contributions have been in overseeing the implementation of Section 16 Subsection 2(d) of our constitution, which particularly deals with the rights of the aged to be cared for, the rights of our unemployed and the sick to receive some (financial) benefits; and the rights of the disabled to be given welfare, as provided for ALL CITIZENS in our constitution.

What have been their contributions to ensuring that these benefits get to the ordinary people?

Our Lawmakers are satisfied with representing us and pocketing even the little benefits that accrue to us as our rights, and as enshrined in constitution for us. They represent us and pocket our benefits for themselves.

Is this not criminal? The International Criminal Court (ICC) is meant to deal with criminal offenses isn’t it?

Now I ask again, what are the responsibilities of our Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); what are the responsibilities of our Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); what are the responsibilities of our Labour Unions?

They are satisfied in taking crumbs from their masters’ table and pretending to “fight” for us. Nigerians must clearly see our enemies for who they are.

The sheep have all gone hungered and astray, yet their shepherds and hirelings still muzzle them for milk and fat. This is no longer going to be acceptable. 

I therefore put it to President Muhammadu Buhari that he will not be doing any Nigerian a favour by paying graduates of the National Youth Service Corps allowances for one year after service, neither will it be a favour for him to pay 25 million unemployed youths N5, 000 per month allowances, it is the right of every citizen who is found in this category.

We all deserve better incentives, not the peanuts that we do not even see.

If every unemployed, sick, aged and disabled Nigerian citizen is not catered for, I do not see any moral justification in any officer or official of government taking any Kobo from our “bank account”, this is the position of the law.

It will be a gross abuse of our laws to settle some little section of the population with the larger percentage of our revenue when the larger population is left to scavenge for food, shelter and health.

They call themselves our “servants” but they cleverly “rule” over us. This robbery of the ordinary Nigerian is enough. Yes! Enough is enough!!

It is time we take our constitution to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and prove to them how our leaders have made us all slaves in our fatherland. They must be punished for their anti-people acts and behaviours.    

I therefore recommend the overhaul and review of the relevant laws setting up and giving functional powers for the operations of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for the sake of the over 160 million people the Commission has in its activities, systemically and systematically robbed over the years.

Nigeria cannot continue with such injustice and daylight robbery in the face of waste, squander and squalor.

If our lawmakers can suspend their bureaucratic, cumbersome and web-like “First, Second and Third Readings” to pass 46 bills in 10 minutes, I wish to believe that they could have passed all the 123 bills they wasted 4 years to achieve in less than one working day, saving us N600bn that can go into the allocation of allowances to the unemployed, the aged, the sick and the disabled.

This is very annoying and I can clearly see why, after the political class has taken all of us for granted, the military comes to shove them aside and continue in the same ridicule of Nigerians.

How long will we continue like this? I dare the political class to continue in this manner and see if the prophecy of TB Joshua of the Synagogue Church of All Nations will not be fulfilled.

Our political class can find out what he prophesied when he admonished about their taking ordinary Nigerians for granted.

Our leadership should draw lessons from what is happening in Syria and Iraq today. It is also possible in Nigeria, if ordinary Nigerians are further taken for granted. This is a timely warning, a stitch in time that should save nine.

Even as the Niger Delta youths have promised to work with President Buhari, it is clear how Asari Dokubo has stretched his arms for a handshake with the East.

It is a small thing to overturning the dining table if the right things are not done.

“A rule is unjust where either equal have and are awarded unequal shares; unequal, equal shares” – Aristotle.   

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