10 national issues being lost to 2019 power noise
The next general election is six months away. Not, government seems to have surrendered its duties to the noise of the power riddle, abandoning many issues of national importance. Below is a list of some of such issues that federal and state governments have relegated to the background in their anxiety to secure ‘the people’s mandate’ to plunder Nigeria’s commonwealth.
(1) Ranching for cattle in order to curtail bloodletting across the country: In June, the Federal Government declared its intention to establish ranches in 10 states: Benue, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara in order to halt the movement of cattle that is responsible for recent bloodbath in the country. Though the plan has been opposed in some states, government seems to have abandoned the issue. It was expected that diplomatic moves should have been made to allay the fears among opponents of the policy, but this does not seem to be happening. Perhaps, the APC will include the ‘ranch promise’ as part of its 2019 electoral campaign slogans.
(2) The Buhari bailout, put at about N1.7 trillion, should have sorted out one of the nagging problems government encountered upon taking over power in 2015 – non-payment of salaries to civil servants. But six months to the next election, many states still owe salaries. Incidentally, the misuse of the fund is not being probed. Here is what the Central Bank of Nigeria has said each state received : Abia (N14.152bn), Adamawa( N2.378bn), Bauchi (N8.60bn), Bayelsa (N12.85bn), Benue(N28.013bn), Borno(N7.680bn), Cross River(N7.856bn), Delta( N10.036bn), Ebonyi(N4.063bn), Edo(N3.167bn), Ekiti (N9.604bn), Enugu (N4.207bn), Gombe (N16.459bn), Imo (N26.806bn), Kastina (N3.304bn), Kebbi (N0.690bn), Kogi (N50.842bn), Kwara (N4.320bn), Nasarawa (N8.317bn), Niger (N4.306bn), Ogun (N20.00bn), Ondo (N14.686bn), Osun(N34.988bn), Oyo(N26.606bn ), Plateau (N5.357bn), Sokoto (N10.093bn), Zamfara (N10.02bn). Many of the states still owe civil servant salaries, with some arguing that governors were not elected to pay only civil servants’ salaries so the money has been used for other purposes.
(3) What’s happening at the country’s refineries?: The country’s refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna have not been effectively producing refined products since February this year. For this reason, the NNPC has engaged in importation of almost 80 per cent of refined products. So, NNPC uses proceeds from crude sales to subsidize the N145/litre pump price of refined products. The GMD of NNPC was once quoted as saying Nigeria is the highest imported of refined petroleum products in the world. What a scandal! But as the country marches into another election, it is not clear what the status of the refineries is. Why can’t Nigeria’s refineries work?
(4) Minimum Wage: The country’s minimum wage at the moment is N18,000 ($50) per month. The Buhari administration claims to be in defense of the poor, but in spite of the fact that it devalued the Naira two years ago, government has failed to demonstrate the political will to raise the minimum wage. The poor wage is responsible for vote selling, corruption in the civil service, the expanse of executive beggars, and the inability of the people to pay for their essential needs, including healthcare. Why can’t Buhari sincerely put a minimum wage in place?
(5) Where is Leah Sharibu?: The 15-year-old Dapchi girl who reportedly rejected conversion from Christianity to Islam has been abandoned in Boko Haram den in the last 170+ days. No one knows what is happening to her. Three times Buhari promised the nation that behind-the-scene efforts were on-going to secure her release. Now, government has kept silent over her predicament, and is expending energy on the next election…
(6) What’s the latest on Babachir’s corruption allegation?: The grass-cutting scandal that ruined the political career of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal is being buried under the rubble of 2019 election campaign. In June this year, Babachir praised EFCC for the kind of investigation being carried out on his case, and then there has been silence. How can such allegation of brazen fraud be levelled against a close associate of Buhari and the anti-corruption president maintains silence about it?
(7) Who is responsible for killings across Nigeria?: In the last two years, over 3,000 Nigerians have been killed in Benue, Zamfara, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi States in an euphemism called ‘farmers-herders conflict’. On many occasions, Buhari promised to bring the merchants of death to book; he would claim security agencies would investigate and punish them. But where are the masterminds of the crisis? Where are the reports of the investigative activities of security agencies?
(8) Vote Buying in Ekiti, Kogi, Bauchi and Katsina: Allegations of vote buying have marred the APC’s victories in recent elections. This is a criminal act, but neither the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security nor even INEC have come up with an investigative report on the perpetrators and how they are being punished. Therefore, vote buying has been experimented successfully, and shall characterize next year’s election.
(9) Kemi Adeosun’s Certificate Scandal: Premium Times investigated the NYSC certificate of Kemi Adeosun. The newspaper alleged forgery. Neither the federal government nor the minister has responded to the allegation. So, is forgery now normal?
(10) Coach Salisu Yusuf Scandal: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in July published an expose of Coach Salisu Yusuf, where he was accused of bribery in order to field some players. Ghanaian journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas carried out the investigation. Ghanaian and Kenyan football chiefs implicated in similar frauds were either sacked on they resigned honourably. But the Nigerian government has been silent on the issue of Coach Salisu Yusuf. Why? Have we caved in in the fight against corruption?