Congratulations for what?

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Posted by USA on 12/7/2001 6:23:28 PM
Views: 184 Post Comment Congratulations for what? Nigeria
IT is rather sad to say the least, to see so many congratulatory messages to government officials in the newspapers, while we watch the pensioners waste away to death because the government is "unable" to pay the pittance owed to them as pension, and the salaries of many government workers go unpaid in several parts of the country.

On a daily basis, we see an increasing number of pages expended in the newspapers to congratulate our leaders on their "accomplishments," visits to various states, or the expensive commissioning of various projects. Even worse were the lavish full-page congratulatory messages by well-wishers in the public sector marking the vice-president's 55th birthday for over a week. Why should taxpayer's money be used for such? At the beginning of the present administration, the president had frowned at such expenses and warned that such public commendations, if done at all, be funded privately and not with government funds. However, these words of caution appear to have gone with the wind as almost every governor sponsored a full-page birthday message. One could argue that perhaps it was done with their personal funds, but what signal does it send to the common man when so much money is spent by our leaders to congratulate each other?

Worse still is the recent trend of self-commendation, while the names of accomplished professionals are purported as sponsors of the newspaper messages, without even notifying them. I was especially happy to see that one of the congratulatory messages, which was claimed to have been commissioned by eight well-known, seasoned professionals, was publicly disclaimed by them. If they did not sponsor the message, who did?

A leader's primary concern should be the welfare of his followers, but so far, while our leaders pay lip service to the fight against corruption and poverty reduction, they wallow in self-adulation and sycophancy, and don't seem to be tired of asking for more benefits for themselves. It is no wonder then that most Nigerians feel no sense of patriotism, as our leaders appear insensitive to the plight of the poor masses. Consequently, people are largely engaged in businesses that cater for their pockets but have harmful consequences for the country as a whole.

The poor have continued to pay dearly for petty crimes while the rich continue to plunder and go unpunished. While the man who stole a cow in Zamfara had his left arm cut off, many government officials who have been proven guilty of embezzlement of public funds not only go unpunished, but also remain in office. And what's more, they get national honours! It is about time we citizens who are concerned about the future of this country voiced our opinion on these issues.

We would like to appeal to our leaders to discourage such flagrant displays of sycophancy. Too many people in our country are dying of hunger and living in dire poverty, while we watch our government officials spend recklessly. This cries to heaven! We elected our leaders to look into our welfare.

While we constantly hear them speak loudly of poverty alleviation, the achievements in this area are minimal, just enough to create a facade of concern. It does not make sense to spend so much money that could have been used to improve the standard of living of so many villagers to welcome or to announce over and over again on TV, that a government official is visiting a state. For goodness sake, he is only doing the job for which he was elected into office and gets handsomely paid for it.

Let us once and for all, decide to pull this nation forward. Nowhere in the world, not even in neighbouring African countries is so much money spent on flamboyant celebrations for government officials, or large entourages travelling on frequent foreign trips. Neither are motorcade escorts used for so many people. The recurrent amount of money spent on all these would certainly have contributed to paying salaries or improving the hideous state of our infrastructure. It is public knowledge that more and more government officials are buying houses in London and America. Does anyone need to take two guesses about where the money is coming from? A good signal to the nation that the right leadership is in place will be to cut down on these frills and channel all this money to the benefit of the citizenry.

Ms. Onwuegbuzie is a member of the Concerned Professionals.

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Comments (3)

Roll(Adelebsen, Lower Saxony, Germany)says...

Hi Patrick,

Did you ever study in Göttingen?

Best regards


Ayo(Lokoja, Nigeria)says...

Nice one

Agbemashior Paul(Conyers, US)says...

Nice Story about Nigeria