Parity can be drawn between Senegal devastated by flood in
September 2012 and Nigeria overwhelmed by economic recession
in September 2016. If Senegal closed down its senate and
invested the savings in helping its citizens, Nigeria should
also close down its senate and downsize the House of
Representatives by 75% to help its citizens currently
squeezed by economic recession.
By closing down its senate, Senegal was simply giving
democracy its true meaning as established by one of the most
charismatic leaders in living memory, former American
President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) who defined democracy
as a government OF
the people BY the
people and FOR the people.
The $15m raised by closing down the Senegalese senate could
well be the equivalent pocket money of our ‘distinguished’
senate President which was padded into the 2016 budget. By
the way, our own senate President is currently undergoing
trial for alleged corruption for a total sum which could be
as much as the economy of Senegal. Of course, His
‘distinguished’ colleagues are solidly behind him and have
consistently told Nigerians that ‘Saraki is innocent’. It is
only in Nigeria that Saraki will still remain on his seat
after the alleged monumental fraud and corruption he
committed against Nigeria.
Each senator costs Nigeria about N1 billion every month
aside other luxuries such as free exotic ‘official’ cars,
free travels around the world, free medical care abroad etc.
How will Nigeria not fall into recession? It is alleged that
each Nigerian senator earns more than the President of the
United States despite the debilitating poverty in our
extra-large size of government has kept the average Nigerian
in perpetually poverty while a select few use the machinery
of state for personal aggrandisement.
It is without doubt that there is a political angle to the
current economic recession facing Nigeria. There is so much
money concentrated in the hands of very few government
officials at the expense of majority of Nigerians who wallow
in abject poverty. Recurrent expenditure is about 90% with
only 10% devoted for capital projects. How will democracy
work for the average Nigerian under this distorted sharing
The revenue sharing formula as stipulated by the revenue
mobilisation allocation and fiscal commission (RMAFC) is
also hugely disproportionate and counterproductive to
development goals of our country. The federal government
takes about 56% (which it doesn’t need) of the revenue
accruable to the federation account, states take about 24%
while local governments are allocated 20%. The states also
collect the 20% meant for local governments under the
so-called Joint local government account. Local governments
should have at least 50% of the revenue from the federation
account because they are closer to the grassroots.
How will Nigeria not be in recession when the speaker House
of Representatives (HoR) Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara allegedly,
illegally and in league with 3 other named principal
officers of the HoR padded the budget to the tune of N40
billion which they allocated to themselves under the guise
of ‘developing their constituency?
The speaker even has the temerity to tell Nigerians that
padding is NOT illegal. On top of that, members of the House
of Representatives said Dogara has committed NO CRIME and
even wore green mufflers on the floor of the house with the
inscription ‘YAKUBU DOGARA’ in solidarity with the speaker.
It doesn’t really matter since all senators and members of
HoR are benefitting from the fraud while majority of
Nigerians are dying of hunger. Does it?
The economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is
constitutionally empowered to investigate the budget padding
scandal in the House of Representatives. Why is the EFCC
keeping mute on the budget padding scandal despite numerous
petitions submitted to the EFCC urging the anti-crime
watchdog to investigate Speaker Dogara, Abdulmumin Jibrin
the whistleblower and others?
It is fair to say that the senate and HoR caused the
economic recession that Nigeria finds itself today as a
result of the monumental corruption going on in these
chambers. The national assembly has become a haven of
corruption and must be sanitised if Nigeria is to move
forward. Close down the senate and downsize the House of
Representatives because they have no role in national
development except to share the national cake.
The average Nigerian will tell you that our senators and
representatives don’t make any contribution to the
development of our country except to share our money.
If Senegal whose population is just about 13 million people
can respect democracy and close its senate to help its
people in the face of economic recession and turmoil, why
can’t Nigeria do the same in the face of the current
economic recession and excruciating hardship amongst
majority of its citizens?
It is no longer news that Nigeria’s economy is in recession
and the good people of Nigeria are currently reeling from
hardship occasioned by the fall in global oil prices made
even worse by senseless attacks on oil infrastructure by the
Niger Delta terrorists. What is news however, is that
closing the Nigerian senate and cutting down the size of the
house of representatives to 2 representatives per state (For
example one HoR representative each for Lagos North and
Lagos South) will save 25% of our national budget which can
be ploughed back to get our economy out of recession.
Certainly, the solution is NOT the sale of our oil assets
such as the Nigerian Liquefied gas company or any other
national treasure for that matter. Those canvassing for the
sale of the nation’s oil assets should please save their
breaths because the President Buhari that I know will NEVER
sell Nigeria’s oil assets or any other treasure to brisk
businessmen who are on the side-line waiting to short-change
Nigeria. The risk of selling Nigeria’s oil assets to pay our
way out of recession is too great.
Borrowing from the Bretton wood institutions such as the
International monetary fund (IMF) and the World Bank to
rescue our economy from recession is NOT the best option for
two reasons: One is that it will mean that our economy is
effectively designed on perpetual borrowing (once you get
into borrowing from the IMF, you may never get out of it)
which will place us on the whims and caprices of the IMF and
the world bank.
The other reason is that the Bretton wood institutions will
place some stringent and obnoxious conditions for us such as
devaluing the Naira. Recall that the IMF boss, Christine
Lagarde came to Nigeria to meet President Buhari and asked
him to consider devaluing the Naira. Borrowing from the
Bretton wood institutions will mean giving the world powers
the chance to devalue the Naira which by the way is not in
the best interest of the economic development of our
Instead of asking the world powers to borrow us funds, why
don’t we ask them to assist us and repatriate stolen
Nigerian funds and assets to Nigeria? It is estimated that
over N50 Trillion Naira including unmovable assets stolen
from the Nigerian treasury is currently stashed away in
western countries. The world powers should help President
Buhari repatriate these funds back to Nigeria so that
Nigeria’s economy can get out of recession and empower the
PMB administration to effectively fight Boko haram, poverty
and build strong institutions.
Selling off our oil treasures such as the LNG is misplaced
privatisation in disguise and will not help Nigeria out of
recession. If anything, it will only mortgage the economy of
this country to shrewd businessmen and corrupt politicians
who are out to make money at all costs. No country sells the
mainstay of its economy just to cover gaps of recession.
Besides, why sell our oil treasures when we can drastically
cut down the size of government to make savings and fight
our way out of recession?
In mathematical terms, closing the senate and downsizing the
HoR by 75% will save Nigeria about N1.5 Trillion which is
the equivalent of $5 billion. It is estimated that Nigeria
needs about $15 billion to wriggle out of recession. The $5
billion that will be saved from the closure of the senate
and downsizing the HoR means that Nigeria needs a balance of
$10 billion. The $5 billion saved from the closure of the
senate will go a long way in fixing recession and
stabilising the economy.
It has also been officially confirmed that Nigeria has so
far recovered over N1 trillion naira through the on-going
anti-corruption campaign. This is another window to effect a
short and medium term palliative to the economic recession.
One wonders how Nigeria will continue to retain the current
size of the national assembly even in the face of the
alarming poverty amongst its citizens.
Of course establishing the national assembly is a
constitutional matter. Sections 47, 48 and 49 of the 1999
constitution are clear on the establishment of the national
assembly. Section 48 states that ‘there shall be 3 senators
from each state and one from the federal capital territory
(FCT), while section 49 was clear that there shall be 360
members of the HoR representing constituencies of nearly
equal population as far as possible, provided that no
constituency shall fall within more than one state.
Albeit the national assembly is a constitutional matter,
there is consensus and concurrence of opinion amongst
majority of Nigerians that the national assembly is only but
a haven of corruption and fraud. Our senators and
representatives are the highest paid in the whole world and
the least productive.
In these times of recession and economic squeeze, Nigeria
has to make hard choices and live within its means. The hard
choices that we need to make are NOT to sell our national
assets to desperate scammers or borrow from the Bretton wood
institutions to keep our country perpetually under colonial
bondage. The solution to the current economic recession in
Nigeria lies in applying the simple, legendary example set
by Senegal in September 2012.