Published On: Fri, Aug 11th, 2017

In Nigeria, the cake is big

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NASSFRIDAY Column by Engr. Abubakar A. Fari

What a child does not receive, he can seldom later give.  – P.D James

In Nigeria the cake is big. A Chinese foreign national expressed this view to me. The problem he said “is from the few who do not wish it to trickle down to the downside”.  There is a fairy amount of the cake to address key issues especially the sustenance of basic infrastructure and affordable food at reasonable prices. If what a child does not receive he can seldom give, it would appear from the many rags to the riches Nigerian ruling elites, the cake will not circulate. The ruling elites behave one kind when it comes to prudence with public trust.  From the hind sight, most when in charge will come disorganise things and live the “treasury how they met it”.

How did you meet it when asked “empty” and how did you leave it “empty”.  It does not matter if it is his state, local government or indeed the mother of all the federal government. What is at stake is live and let die. Cake is a cat and mouth game. The paradox is that even the so-called southerners; you will discover it will be the tribes from their clan or local government that will swallow the cake. It may appear as if the Yoruba or the Ibo or Niger Delta share the cake when it comes home. The noise is only anti-Hausa-Fulani and the religious card.  However, a closer scrutiny will reveal that it is members of his “Kingdom” or “nation” or “government” that distribute the cake and to themselves. All other supposedly, the chiefs of administration are waiting for the crumbs to sing the song of the Emperor. If the common man sleeps hungry and angry is not his headache. Leadership is not for service but for selfish interests. The Idoma, Tiv and Jukun trivialities is laden with Okar agenda but there is zero sum game where Tiv must swallow most of the cake in Benue.

The cake is big if one looks at the resource patterns endowed Nigeria by their Creator the Lord of all. We have huge land resources for agriculture and livestock production. There is abundant surface water for irrigation farming and fresh fish to remove hunger. The number of trucks loaded with cows, sheep, goats and donkeys on a daily basis on route down south that if the herdsmen fight back will cause a standstill the day they refuse to sell a single piece. What happens that the “well meaning people of the middle belt” are not sending pigs and bush meat from Benue, Taraba and Plateau to add to the dietary menu of the “well meaning people of the south?” I bet the nutritious value of the southerners will be tested from bush meat that Ortom may export to the well meaning people of the south. However, if bush meat is a valuable cake let Lagos, Anambra, Ekiti and Port Harcourt sign delivery agreements as Lagos did with Kebbi to purchase such delicacies from Plateau, Benue and Taraba among others.

With the anti-grazing Bill instead of improving  the cake supply chain, are savagely destroying the cake of the herdsmen by poisoning the grass and killing the herders through genocide as in Mambilla and as they did in Zangon Katab in Kaduna and Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi among others. And some voices are politicizing criminal acts into what they pretend is an atmosphere of hate speech. Is it hate speech that is at issue or arresting and punishing those who contrived genocide on Mambila and elsewhere. Is the political interest of any politician more important than posterity and the lives of innocent people massacred? Is the life of any Nigerian better than the ordinary people murdered in cold blood because they are commoners and pawns in the chess game of the political calculations of desperate and callous political game plans of top rank office seekers?

It is a fact that in Nigeria the cake is big. Just consider the ongoing revelations where unbelievable amount of our cake is being diverted by few selfish fools. The front page Blueprint paper edition of Tuesday August 8, 2017 captioned  PARIS CLUB REFUND: Court freezes Abia, Delta, Cross River’s account; Pay us from refund, Edo pensioners tell Obaseki. Further, on the front page it says “A federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered that the Paris-London Club Refund bank accounts of Abia, Cross River, and Delta states be frozen. This followed an ex-parte order issued by Justice Yusuf Halilu, following allegations that the governors of the three states preferred payment to family members, friends and cronies in the guise of settling the fees for consultancy services at the expense of the real consultant progenitor of the Paris-London Club Refund.”

Second, the Daily Trust of Thursday, August 8, 2017 captioned on the wonderful world of the former Petroleum Minister Diezani captioned “Court orders final forfeiture of $37.5m mansion linked to Diezani. The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered immediate forfeiture of $37.5 million mansion in Banana Island Lagos, alleged to be owned by the former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. Further in the wonderful world of Deizani the centre of the cake manipulation, the Sun edition of Sunday July 23, 2017 states on page 10, Stinking Billionaire:  Complete Story of Diezani ‘s Associate, Kola Aluko.  In part it says “The liaison with Diezani came with sizzling sweetheart deals that are ricocheting and causing stirs; and ultimately threatening to send them to jail. Already, the United Kingdom, UK has requested for his extradition to the UK to face multiple money laundering charges to the tune of $1.8billion.”

Third, the Daily Trust of Wednesday, April 12, 2017 captioned Jonathan : I didn’t receive $200m from Malabu deal. Reps mull summon for former President. The former President Jonathan has denied allegations that he received $200 US million Dollars kickback from the OPL 245 Malabu Oil deal.

Furthermore Trust says “In an account of his interview given by the FBI to prosecutors, “Agaev was asked about payment of his commission. Agaev stated that he went to Etete and told to pay him the $65,000,000 fee. Agaev stated that Etete said ‘I can’t pay you, I have to pay Adoke [Mohammed Bello Adoke, then Nigeria’s attorney general] $400million and all the other people in the senate and the National assembly.’ Agaev stated that he would think President Goodluck Jonathan got at least $200 million of this money.”  With respect to the huge cake shared by the three tiers of government, again the Daily Trust of Monday, May 22, 2017 on front page says “FG, States, LG’S shared N1.4 trillion in Q 1. The three tiers of government shared over N1.4 trillion during the first quarter of the year official data has shown. The Federal Government got N549.1 billion or 52 percent of the total according to the revenue sharing formula. The 36 states earned N359.18 billion (26.72 percent) and the 774 Local government got N269.42 billion (20.60 percent).”Compare to African countries, this has been going on over the last 45 years and cake being denied the majority and the manipulators using media to deceive them on the anti-corruption. It is anti-denial of the cake to Nigerians.

Fourth, with respect to the cluelessness of Nigerians on the favours given to them but their penchant for ungratefulness, they neglect to provide food for themselves. Any nation that depends on others to provide their food needs and depend on greedy traders to import food so they make an over kill in profit against the leaders wish are wish full thinkers. It is akin to what the Buhari administration is pursuing with regards to establish food security for posterity. It is not surprising the anti-grazing Bill and all contrived conflicts between the Executive and Lawmakers and in part the Judiciary. Those who do not wish to develop the cake inward can go to all length. The Daily Trust of Thursday April 6, 2017 on the front page captioned “Smugglers erode local rice production gains. Smuggling of rice through land borders has resumed at an alarming rate, threatening to reverse the gains recorded through local production, millers and farmers told Daily Trust.”

With respect to these dangers on neglecting to develop the cake endowed again the Daily Trust of Friday, May 19, 2017 titled “Students starve as politicians eat fat.  Student in public boarding schools are fed with an average of N200 a day per student, Daily Trust investigations have shown. Analysis of the 2017 budget figures shows that the students in the federal government unity collages across the country are being fed with less than N200 daily, per student; while the office of the president and the vice president spend about N300,000.00 and N147,000.00 respectively on food, daily.”

These revelations are mere tips of the ice bag. But it would appear, the Nigerians are bent on shifting blame in the wrong quarters. If they focus nearer home on the state governors and local governments for the better part of their cake the better. Unfortunately spent forces in the Senate are crying for more money and devolution of powers. If they were content with diverting only 10% of the trillions they received, 90% of the cake would have changed the lives of the common man.


This Columnist will go on break to resume end of September -Editor

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