By Yinka Odumakin
I HAVE no issue with Senator Rabiu Kwakwanso keeping his Almajiris so he could mobilise millions of herded voters at will,all I insist is that he should not run education from Abuja and churn out policies that would almajarise my own toddlers.
Hillary, do you still remember our 1986 protest on the ABU crisis over the extra-judicial murder of Farida Mustapha and others? We emptied out of our campus and hit the streets of Ife in anger against the state that gave the guns to to the police who killed our schoolmates.
We surmised that such a criminal state had no moral authority to accuse people of crimes and lock them away. Thus, we went to the prison in the heart of Oduduwa city and amnestied the inmates. We were sent home for about five months.
When we returned to school,Yinka Tella wrote a poem titled “Zamaru:The Aftermath” which was published by “Democrat”, the campus journal I edited at the time. About 30 years after, I still remember his last lines:
“If by the year 2000, the unmarried maidens of Zamaru
resolve to remain in purdah,
Despite Farida Mustapha, who cares?
Certainly not Ife!”
Tella was seeing far into the future and projected correctly that it would be futile seeking to unify civilisations. It is the template for a salad bowl country where all ingredients retain their identities and yet still collectively add up to one final product.
Living in illusion
For decades, we have lived the illusion of a nation-state buoyed by the oil doom which we nicknamed “boom”. We deluded ourselves that nationhood was settled with all the “no go areas” defined in our conversations . Yet, it is eternal truism that nothing is settled in the life of any country as it is a daily dialogue.
The rentier economy and its corruption bred an irresponsible elite that assumed that everyday was celebration as conspicuous consumption became a way of life. They never bothered to internalise the law of motion that whatever goes up must come down.
By the way, Isaac Newton who taught the world that diid not find much use for it in his personal life and he wept for it. Newton got his fingers burnt with the South Sea Company, which was established in the early 18th Century and granted a monopoly on trade in the South Seas in exchange for assuming England’s war debt.
Investors warmed to the appeal of this monopoly and the company’s shares began their rise. Britain’s most celebrated scientist was not immune to the monetary charms of the South Sea Company, and in early 1720 he profited handsomely from his stake. Having cashed in his chips, he then watched with some perturbation as stock in the company continued to rise.
In the words of Lord Overstone, no warning on earth can save people determined to grow suddenly rich. Newton went on to repurchase a good deal more South Sea Company shares at more than three times the price of his original stake, and then proceeded to lose £20,000 (which, in 1720, amounted to almost all his life savings).
His song after the crash was “I can calculate the movement of stars, but not the madness of men.”
It was that incalculable “madness of men” that made no one to listen when We warned a year ago that our “sharing” prosperity would end in calamity if the price of oil suddenly crash. The statement as captured by Vanguard of 9th, July 2014 is worth recalling:
“If price of oil crashes today, govs flying jets will look for okada to ride – Delegate”
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- A delegate representing the South West Geo- Political Zone of the country, Yinka Odunmakin told other delegates yesterday that if the price of oil crashes today, governors who he alleged to be going round the world with private jets, will look for motorcycles, known as Okada to ride.
Contributing to debate on report of the devolution of power Committee yesterday, Odumakin also said that if no oil, only Lagos state out of the 36 states of the country would be able to use its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR to pay workers’ salaries.
He said, “The recommendations of the Devolution Committee to use 4.5 % of our annual budget to develop other mineral resources outside oil is the most apt thing to do now to get out of the sharing culture that is holding Nigeria down. We are engaged in one of Ghandi’s identified 7 Social Deadly Sins-Wealth Without Work.If oil prices should crash today,all our states would collapse and the governors flying jets all over the place will look for okada to ride.
“The grim reality below shows that we must embrace wealth flowing from work by going under the soil in our various states to diversify the economy.”
Grim IGR reality
On IGR and States’ wages, the delegate said, “Only one of the 36 states can afford to pay workers’ salaries with internally generated revenues,
The remaining 35 states generate only a fraction of funds they require to settle their wage bills annually. This means that without federal funds, these states cannot even afford salaries payment, not to talk of executing any projects
“Information on states’ wage bills comparisons with data on their internally generated revenues (IGR), published by the National Bureau of Statistics. The result showed that only Lagos State can pay salaries of its workers by solely relying on revenues generated internally.
“None of the 19 Northern states has this much financial muscle. They all depend on federally-allocated subventions, mainly made up of funds generated from sales of crude oil that is extracted down south.
“Other components of the federal allocation, shared between the three tiers of government on monthly basis, include taxes collected by the Nigerian Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“Lagos generated N219 billion in 2012, three times its annual wage bill of N76.5 billion. States that generated more than N10 billion in 2012 are Kano, Kaduna, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.
Among states with fairly strong revenue bases are Rivers, which generates the second highest IGR of N66.2 billion in 2012, but has an annual wages bill of N96 billion.
“Edo made N18.9 billion revenue but is weighed down by a salaries bill of N28 billion yearly, while Cross River generated N12.7 billion though it pays N22 billion wages annually.
Even though Kano has the highest IGR in the North, the N24 billion it generated in 2012 is not enough to pay salaries of its workers, which is N36 billion yearly. Kaduna, the second internal revenue earner in the North, garnered N11.5 billion but which is less than half its N27.4 billion annual wage bill.
“The situation with the remaining states is worse, as their annual wage bills are several times larger than their internally generated revenues.
For instance, Zamfara’s internally generated revenue is N2.5 billion in 2012, while its annual wage bill is N13.2 billion; Yobe generated N1.7 billion, and has a yearly salaries bill of N18 billion; while Adamawa’s N23 billion wage bill is five times higher than its IGR of N4.6 billion.
Even oil-rich Bayelsa State generated only N3 billion in 2011, but pays N48 billion in salaries yearly.
“Nasarawa made N4.1 billion in 2012 but spends N24 billion yearly in salaries; Sokoto generated N3.8 billion in 2010 and spends N16.8 billion on annual wages; and Kogi got N3.1 billion in 2012 but it is workforce soaks up N44 billion yearly.
“Kwara (salaries, N11 billion; revenue, N7.2 billion), Benue (revenue, N8.4 billion; salaries, N34.8 billion), Katsina (salaries, N14.4 billion; revenue, N5 billion), Bauchi (salaries, 26 billion; revenue, N4.1 billion), Ondo (revenue, N10.1 billion; salaries, N48 billion), Plateau (revenue, N7 billion; salaries, N20.7 billion), Kebbi (revenue, N5.4 billion; salaries N12 billion), Niger (revenue, N3.7 billion; salaries N31.2 billion), and Gombe (salaries, N14.4; revenue, N3.7 billion).
“Others are Abia (salaries, N30 billion; revenue, N3 billion), Akwa Ibom (salaries, N33.2 billion; revenue, N13.5 billion), Anambra (revenue, N6.1 billion; salaries, N16.3 billion), Borno (salaries, N20.7 billion; revenue, N2.4 billion), Delta (revenue, N45.5 billion; salaries, N85.2 billion) and Ebonyi (salaries, N16.8 billion; revenue, N14 billion).
“There are also Ekiti (salaries N24 billion, revenue N3.8 billion), Imo (revenue N6.8 billion, salaries N22.8 billion), Jigawa (salaries N33.5 billion, revenues N1.4 billion), Osun (salaries N22.8 billion, revenue N5 billion), Oyo (salaries N49 billion, revenue N14 billion), Taraba (revenue N3.4 billion, salaries N21.6 billion).”
Reason for solo ‘waka’
The figures above clearly show why any group that holds the lever of power and does not have broadness of mind would do solo “Waka” to the consternation of others.There is very little we are making from oil . Even if prudently managed, there still can’t be national prosperity. Nigeria’s budget for 2015 is about $17b just about a little over one third of the $45b Walt Disney Company revenue in 2014. it is a recipe for poverty. A recent report by Vanguard shows that we are losing $208b annually in untapped resources because we have a constitution that says all mines belong to the Federal Government while the states that should tap them and create wealth are going to Abuja looking for “bail outs” are under their feet. That is going to Sokoto in search of what is tucked in your pocket!
It is being drummed into our ears that corruption is our greatest affliction and that it would kill us if we failed to kill it. That is half of the truth. Corruption itself is just a symptom of our worst disease: constitution. If Nigeria “dies” anytime the cause of its death would be printed boldly on its death certificate as the 1999 constitution.
Just one example in closing. It was profitable for a manager with NITEL to live on corruption when that body was the sole telephone provider with 400,000 lines to 100million people. He would make a fortune taking bribes from many people running after his few lines.If that manager were to be with one of the many GSM operators of today, he would wallow in penury if all he knows is shaking down those want lines as operators now beg people to take their lines.
What we have done in telecoms that we are able to communicate even with the demise of NITEL,we must do with our polity by reconstituting so we can create many corridors of prosperity with every federating unit pursuing their happiness according to their civilisation so we can all “Waka come”
The existing paradigm can only be productive of marginalisation, exclusion and bickering because of limited opportunities which fuels nepotism and clannish inclinations.
Hillary, your friend Jebb Bush is throwing his hat in the ring as the third Bush to seek the presidency of America in our adult life and you won’t hear “Na only Bush Family Waka Come?”Why?…May be I should let you chime in.