BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH
The request by the state governors for a bail out from the federal government to upset bunch of arrears for unpaid salaries of civil servants in their states is not only controversial but laughable in the sense that they cannot account for the monthly federal allocations for their states and local governments amounting to billions of naira in their control since the introduction of the obnoxious and infamous joint account system between the states and their local government councils.
There is no constructive engagement to justify the billions of naira. It is true that there is a shortfall in the international oil market by 50 percent but there are misappropriations of these funds by the financial controllers even when the former ministers of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, said she made it clear to the states from the beginning to give priority on workers’ salaries and wages. The federal government has not failed to release to the state and local governments their allocations, even as the former minister challenged them to show evidence of nonpayment.
Analysts are of the view that the misappropriation of the federal allocations and grants has resulted to nonpayment of workers’ salaries for several months, even as the analysts said the issue of bail out is uncalled for as the financial controllers are not justified in the management of public money.
They suggested that qualified independent auditors should be invited to audit both the states and local governments accounts on how the monies were used and make it public.
In Zamfara State, for instance, the 14 local government councils are being allocated many billions of naira every month from the federation accounts but the state government gives them a paltry sum of N20million each every month, yet there are no social services in any of the local government in spite of the billions being cornered by the state government.
It has been alleged that no cash allocation are given to the state ministries and agencies from the state government. The state is indebted to the commercial banks to the tune of many billions of naira, making every sector to be crumbling to a standstill.
Needless to repeat that Zamfara is a rural state in spite of the billions from the joint account which the government controls and yet, the state is one of the front line states that are agitating for a bail out from the federal government. Even the N20million that is being given to every local government council monthly is not even enough to construct one hand pump (tuka-tuka) of about 150 feet deep after salaries and expenditures.
In many states of the federation, there is no capital project on ground but they are seen on papers. The states resources are being used by must executives to tour the globe with chattered planes and helicopters, looting the state resources unabated while they leave their domains as failed states.
Even when workers are not paid their salaries, most governors travel here and there, ruling their states from out the country. Some of them never even spend three days in their respective states to know the problems of the people who brought them to power. As a result of their constant traveling, their states fortunes are dwindling.
We cannot run away from the realities as most sate governors cannot pin point what they have done with the billions of their states and local governments allocations, they have not promoted any significant project that has direct bearings to the lives of the common masses. For this reason, many people no longer trust the management of their
states resources. This shows that there is no effective democratic government credibility as there is no accountability to the people. Sad enough to mention, the democracy we claim to be practicing is nothing but hypocrisy because there is no paucity of information as regard to how public money are being spent by few individuals who are opportune to be there.
There is no hallmark of democracy and no readiness to count by who voted them to the seats of power. Then where is the beauty of democratic order? Many Governors have failed woefully because of the mismanagement of the public funds as there is no meaningful developmental project carried out despite the revenues generated and huge sum of money from the federation account. This again explains why many Governors are having credibility problem because there is nothing to show case as the dividend of democracy. It is disheartening to see that basic amenities such as portable water supply are still the major problem facing many states like Zamfara State.
When Governor Abdulaziz Yari came on board in 2011, the impression was that he is a man that would salvage the state from total decay but he has failed to take the state to a promised land. During his campaign, he did not only assured the people that he was capable of running the affairs of the state perfectly but promised to put the economic
position of the state in order but now there is no presence of any meaningful project on ground. The development of every society lies on the capability of its leaders to make marvelous efforts towards transforming the backward state into highly appreciable state but it still remains the most backward in terms of social, moral and economic despite the campaign promises, they are yet to see the product of such golden campaign promises.
Well, politics is said to be a dirty game. But sometimes, it thrives on the emotions of the electorates but sometimes things get out of hands. The whole thing is pegged on one underlying fact that the Governors work on their own ideologies rather than the stipulation of the constitution and principles of democracy. Therefore analysts believe that by checkmating the State Governors, it will be sanctified from every bit of fund mismanagement and in ability to dance to the tune of democracy. The problems as pointed out is that every Governor is given the power to dictate for people which makes it very possible not to reflect social justice. They are advocating that if a new system is enshrined into the constitution, they may be consideration for the welfare of the populace.
But because of some sections of the 1999 constitution which give power of protection to elected officers rather than the generality of the public. The immunity clause has not suit the taste of many Nigerians. To a very large extent, this has posed harm on the social aspect of living. Peoples destiny are tied to others and certainly they can’t be
free except they are untied to pick up their lives. Nigerians have suffered economic torture and woes as a result of corruption which has caused abject want, hunger and starvation and untold woes as minority have a skeletons in their cupboards.
The truth is that the mustard seeds and roots of corruption have been planted, accommodated and nurtured in our society which cuts across the federal, state and local government levels as much as that of the infrastructural facilities, education, health and other institutions as well as our value system which have either deteriorated or are at
their lowest ebb.
Before Muhammad Buhari took the control of the nation’s driving wheels, he promised correcting all the corrupt tendencies of Nigeria especially those who have tasted power and all other office holders. He has really started because we have heard of some influential names, who may be tried for misappropriation of public fund while in power.
Just recently, he has announced the sack of some fraud stars in many federal government establishments. That is a credible act so to say. The representation of public by elected or appointed officers to enhance efficiency has not helped the issue. Leadership at that level of governance is regarded as a transcending of opportunity to loot. It
abhors gluttony and manipulative calculations of figures. The president has reacted in outrage at what has generally been described and regarded as mind boggling devices of governance at all levels. Of cause the amount of divide- and- rule governance in terms of financial control and its judicious utilization is also outrageous. We see the
logic of office holders in connivance with officers of relevant agencies throwing money around as if we don’t know our right. Yet the Jonathan’s administration was reluctant looking at his subordinates reading billions not even millions in their personal accounts. They fled for the exposition of all civil servants salary.
Siphoning public funds by elected officers holders is seen by them as an opportunity to recover the debt and expenses they incurred in the curse of their campaigns for election while the appointed public office holders see it as a means of making hay while they have the opportunity before been removed from office.
BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH