November 04, (THEWILL) – The controversy surrounding the recent acquisition of 469.high end Sport Utility Vehicles for members of the National Assembly was not in any way a surprise to observers of political and economic developments in Nigeria given the plights of most Nigerians in recent times.
However, the justification for the purchase of the N57.6bn imported vehicles at a whopping N160 million each at a time Nigerians are being asked to tighten their belts and bear with the government over the prevailing economic hardships in the country really leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
The arguments for and against the apparently unpopular decision had hardly slowed down before another issue relating to the allocation of another whopping N2.9 billion on Sport Utility Vehicles for the Presidential Villa and the purchase of SUVs vehicles for the Office of the President and First Lady came into the national discourse, following the approval of a N2.1 trillion supplementary budget for President Bola Tinubu by the National Assembly.
The criticisms that followed became even more interesting with the revelation of the inclusion of the plan to purchase a N5 billion luxury yacht allegedly for the President. Interestingly, and as expected, the Presidency has since denied planning to make such a purchase, saying the yacht is an operational vessel meant for the Nigerian Navy.
However, the recent profligate spending and plans of the new administration are, disappointingly, the exact opposite of its initial stance and posture as an administration with a mission to clear the mess left by its predecessor.
Sadly, all the actions taken so far are clear pointers to the simple fact that the political class will stop at nothing to satisfy themselves before the interests of the generality of Nigerians are served. More annoying is the fact that all these are being rubbed on the faces of helpless Nigerians who are constantly being reminded of the need to bear with the government with the assurance that “things will soon improve.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian workers are being served some beggarly and meagre amounts in the name of palliatives and succour for the economic hardships imposed on them as a result of the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol. While most of the promises by the Federal Government are yet to be delivered fully, with labour always in limbo over non-fulfilment of agreements, Nigerians are being told that the interests of the political elite come first.
The hard reality Nigerians must be ready to face in the next four years is not to expect too much from the present administration if they must retain their sanity, otherwise they will be met with total disappointment and more frustrations. While most manufacturers and employers of labour in the private sector are finding it tough to maintain their operations as large-scale lay-offs loom large, the Federal Government keeps borrowing to splash on satisfying the interests of the few political elite as if the time to settle themselves has come.
Over 100 days after the inauguration of the Tinubu administration, Nigerians have not really heaved a sigh of relief as the plight of the majority of the people keep sinking below the general expectations. Policies and actions that will bring succour to the masses should be fast-tracked instead of defending the selfish and self-serving spending jamboree for the political class.
We therefore call on President Bola Tinubu and his team to place the interest of the masses at heart instead of concentrating on settling the political class, knowing full well that much is expected from them by the majority of Nigerians who gave them the mandate to steer the ship of the state for the next four years. They should remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.