Universities lack internet access, education standard keeps falling while Jonathan’s State House gets extra billions

August 15, 2011


by Tola Adenle

There is a young undergrad lady at Abuja who wrote me recently to lament she had not been able to go online and check certain references I suggested for her graduate research in Communication.  When I wondered why since Abuja is one of the better-served three cities in Nigeria with web access – Lagos and Port Harcourt are the others – I was surprised to learn that the University of Abuja, a “federal” institution, does not cater to students’ needs in that area.

Billions of Naira are looted by single civil servants in various government agencies; the National Assembly has train-loads of unresolved looting and mismanagement of funds such as the last House Speaker, Alhaji Saburi D. Bankole’s reported loot of billions.

Meanwhile, over at the executive branch, President Jonathan – despite proclamations – has reportedly put in place the biggest government Nigeria has ever had:

He has repeatedly told Nigerians of his determination to rein in government spending, bring about probity in government while fighting corruption but reality has been far from these.

In a recent news report by 234NEXT, the astounding cost of running Jonathan’s government, especially the part that ministers to his needs, “his first constituency – the State House” has reached “a new high.”

Before I go any further, let’s keep in mind that 1billion Naira is $6m+.

“For more than a decade since the return of democracy – save for a year under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration – budget variations for the seat of government have oscillated between 20 percent and 30 percent. It usually includes footing bills ranging from the maintenance of presidential aircraft, to keeping a safari park.

From the highest at N26.48 billion in 2005 under Mr Obasanjo, the total annual cost of the State House slumped to N10.52 billion in 2009 and rose slightly to N12.78 billion in 2010, according to an analysis of federal budget outlays since 2000.

For this year, the State House is spending N20.01 billion, a 56.53 percent rise from that of 2010…

In detailed budgets, the State House, somewhat like a parastatal under the presidency, had N19.52 billion in 2006; N14.95 billion for 2007; N15.62 billion for 2008; N10.52 billion for 2009; N12.78 billion for 2010 and N20.01 billion for 2011.”  [234NEXT, August 9, 2011]

Nigeria’s so-called “lawmakers’” ire at this obscene expenditure is laughable because it’s  probably not more than play-acting for the public. After all, the fact that the president uses their own excessive spending at the NA to get the public mad at the “lawmakers” is all that galls them.  That displayed “ire” is all the public will ever hear about it because IT – that is the rage – would die because Nigerian government operates for the benefit of the few in power and at the top of the civil service, and hence, I do not believe they ever allow each other to forget that “we are in this together.

How did that blogger come about “a crime syndicate masquerading as a nation”, for Christ’s sake?

From 2010 to this year’s budget, the State House is getting N7.32 billion – more than $110 million, okay?  What exactly is happening at Aso Rock that calls for this OVERAGE of more than 50 percent of last year’s budget????  Is this the needed change promised by Dr. Jonathan?  Is this the “fresh air” – a billboard near my local government headquarters reminds me all the time – erected for Jonathan’s campaign – promised?

The news report by 234NEXT also contained Dr. Okonjo Iweala’s reaching out to foreign investors, including business juggernauts like George Soros purportedly to improve Nigeria’s economy.  A blogger captures what millions of educated Nigerians must be thinking about the never-ending calls and pursuit of foreign investors that gulp billions of our resources.

Posted by fati nura on Aug 09 2011, 234NEXT

i don’t know if i am the only sane person in nigeria or perhaps other sane nigerians are not talking. what does meeting soros or american investors have to do with anything? nigeria’s problem does not lie there ngozi. there are thousands of soros, gates, buffetts, etc that are interested in investing in nigeria! in fact, there are millions of nigerians interested in investing in nigeria! what we are saying is that you must fix light, fix corruption, sack civil (evil) servants who undermine serious investments on a daily basis, reduce cost of running ineffective government, make laws that protect and empower citizens. should i go on? if this is a taste of what is to come, please wake me up in 4 years i beg!”

I once referred to this fruitless search for foreign investors to earth’s ends by Nigerian leaders in one of my weekly essays putting a twist on the baseball-related movie, “If you build it, they will come.”  I made the unscholarly suggestion that if Nigeria does things such as what Blogger “fati nura” has clearly enumerated above, “investors would come.”

Nigeria seems doomed with legislators who are self-serving, greedy and have no interest of the country at heart; parasitical and self-entitled civil servants AND an executive branch that accelerates spending which benefits a very few, pursues tenure elongation while ignoring problems calling for immediate action and resources, and overloads and overburdens the system with too many political appointees (ministers, advisers, assistants, etcetera).

All Nigerians need to wake up and stop imagining that our problems would go away if they pray hard enough because even pastors and Imams generally are in league with those in power, OR that God would send Nigerians a “God-fearing leader”.  They must look beyond Nigerian shores and see that a fight for reduction of the cost of governance is a fight the masses must shoulder.

During Shagari’s presidency – the benchmark of reckless spending – Ministers, at least two that I knew, had two official vehicles each and used the civil servant officers in place when they became ministers.  Not anymore.  These days, how many official vehicles does a Speaker of the House at state level have even as I hate to wonder how many vehicles does retd Col. David Mark of the Senate or the new House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal have?  Aso Rock or the Presidency as it’s called: there must be a vehicle assembly line as well as a factory in progress to assemble air planes!

Meanwhile, the new Spinmeister at Aso Rock, Reuben Abati, would not dignify NEXT’s question with a response but would rather hurl abuses, insults and put-downs on those who dare wonder at the new elongation of term pursuit when there are problems screaming for attention, and projects calling for resource allocations. Like his predecessors, he now condones things he used to write vehemently against in the Guardian.  All those who benefit from the Nigerian system are seemingly arrayed against the country’s development and the masses.

What more is there to write and what words can one employ to ask that the young lady at Abuja University or other universities and polytechnics – should wait and hope for a Nigeria’s “glorious morn” that Awo once predicted for the country – if it ever would come.



Nigerian newspapers and online news sources
  • 234 Next News site
  • Bella Naija Magazine
  • Business Day Newspaper
  • Daily Champion Newspaper
  • Daily Independent Newspaper
  • Daily Trust Newspaper
  • Elendu Reports News site
  • Emotan Blog
  • Huhu online News site
  • jhova blog Blog
  • Leadership News site
  • Linda Ikeji Blog
  • National Daily Newspaper
  • Nigeria Plus News site
  • Nigeria Village Square News site
  • Nigerian Observer News site
  • Osun Defender News site
  • PM News Newspaper
  • Punch Newspaper
  • Sahara Reporters News site
  • Sun Newspaper
  • The Guardian Newspaper
  • This Day Newspaper
  • Tribune Newspaper
  • Vanguard Newspaper

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