By Kola Animasaun
â€œIf we donâ€™t bring sense to the public finances, we canâ€™t do any of the good thngs that we want to doâ€ â€“ Nick Clegg, new Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
A good friend of mine, the other day, asked me to find out how much legislators earn.Â He probably meant to surprise me.Â I, in turn, asked a knowledgeable friend who told me what a wall brick it was to find it out.
Thank God, the legislators themselves passed the answer in a streak of greed and carelessness.Â And I am very surprised at what they earned.
They were asking for an increase in what a colleague called â€œinsatiable appetiteâ€.
The House of Representatives used to earn N1.3 million per month and an allowance of N27.2 million per quarter, which makes it a cumulative of N10.36 million.
The modern Oliver Twists have just asked for another N14 million in allowance.Â This should bring their take home to N15.3 million.Â I have used â€˜take homeâ€™, advisedly because, there are many other hidden charges.
They are so brazen in their demands.Â The legislators have asked the capital budget of the House should be collapsed to take care of their demands.
Their demand may have been met by now.Â In other words, they are asking to eat up the goose that lays the golden eggs.
God knows how much more the Senate now earns.Â It has been a season of paying off our executives.Â They are being paid in heavy sums.
Someone has said that the legislators were laying nest eggs for the coming elections.Â But should they use Abuâ€™s money to fete Abu?
Federal Government has been wavering on the minimal wage.Â They say it will be N18,000.00.Â Even at that, they have not made up their mind.
We do not know how much more the state government officials and legislators are paying themselves.Â But we guess we should be in pretty same positions.
So the pastor is growing fat and the congregation is getting lean.Â They are not lean because of the size of the offering but because the â€œtenderer is tendering very wellâ€ as Professor Jerry Gana will say.
In good climes, good governments and good legislators are careful not to expand conspicuous consumption.
Our famous President popularized how to fight an election and win.Â He used the same method he called â€œDo-or-dieâ€.
The Yoruba call it: â€œKaka ki akere ma dun â€˜be, tâ€™apa tâ€™ese e lo ma tan siiâ€.
The politicians will use every thing in the book â€“ hook or crook.Â And God save all of us this coming election season.
In the service of democracy
The battle is ongoing.Â But we can always give kudos to those men and women who have given it everything to keep the battle going.Â We are talking about the battle of democracy.
The battle has been on in the last three years.Â Some of them are still at it â€“ in the fourth year.Â They have dragged or have been dragged through courts â€“ losing one battle or another.Â But because of their never say die, they do not see the end of the battle until they go through the final lap.
They have expended money, energy and time.Â These men and women have enriched our law and its development and they would be mentioned in the annals of our history.Â They may win or they may lose.
This is a tribute to all those who stand up for what they believe in; they never lose for want of trying and gave it all they could.
It is also a tribute to all who stood by them, their families and friends.
I remember ALHAJI ABDUL-RAUF AREGBESOLA, a staunch believer in progressive people every where.Â He carried his student unionism to his political days.Â He was aided by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, whoâ€™s never-say-die spirit is legendary.Â He has been behind the struggle.Â And the struggle continues.
There is also Dr. Fayemi of Ekiti: He never also say die.Â He exhibited the stubborn streak of the native son.Â He got up as many times as he had been put down.Â In three years, only God knows how many times he had dusted his trousers and gone to the fray.
Of course, he has the same Tinubu as companion.
Senator Is-aq Abiola Ajimobi of Ibadan fought the good fight.Â From the AD where he was a Senator where he was not giving a dogâ€™s chance, he beat the PDP and Adedibu could do nothing about it.Â Mago-mago deprived him of the Governorship of Oyo.Â He fought each of the way.Â Each time he was â€œdefeatedâ€, he appealed.Â Until â€¦ now Ajimobi has dusted himself and is ready to contest the Governorship of Oyo come 2011, Insha Allah!
Our own Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola has a different kind of fight.Â He did many revolutionary things.Â He did some unheard of things in the reformation of Lagos State.Â Name it: he has done it â€“ environmental, roads, schools, taxes, etc.Â and all of them in 36 months.Â And he has 12 months to go.
Nuhu Ribadu, ex-EFCC chairman, will have a doctorate degree conferred on him today (June 6).
Citation: loyal breeding, lofty aim, resolute courage as well as fierce stand against corruption.
To be conferred by Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State.