One game the Nigerian government loves playing is the blame game. And we’ve seen that play out many times with the current Buhari administration, from blaming the state of our country on so-called lazy youths to blaming the weather for fuel scarcity. It’s 2022, and fingers are still being pointed.
Early in December 2022, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, blamed the state governments for the level of poverty in the country. Barely 24 hours later, President Muhammadu Buhari voiced the same accusation, saying the state governors were looting local government funds.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed that the Buhari administration has supported states with over ₦5 trillion since 2015, but millions of Nigerians are still extremely poor.
We’re approaching the final six months of the Buhari administration with another administration on the way, but the problems plaguing us as a nation have barely changed.
If the government’s allegations are true, how and on what projects were these funds spent? Well, we have a few guesses.
Nigerian politicians know how to live soft lives on our national cake. Nobody does it better than them. We’ve also seen that they can be very cheerful givers. In April, the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, distributed 260 brand new Cadillac 2019 model cars to traditional rulers to thank them for sustaining peace. This was a week after he distributed 15 brand new Hilux cars to leaders of “repentant” bandit groups.
You’d think a governor whose state has one of the highest population of out-of-school children would focus scarce resources on addressing that rather than rewarding criminals. But no, this is Nigeria, and logic doesn’t live here.
Our politicians were probably explorers and adventurers in their previous lives because they enjoy being anywhere but home. And if we look more closely, they started the japa trend because they mostly have their families abroad, and their children hardly ever have to pass through the ASUU strike rite of passage. Even our First Lady, Aisha Buhari, decided the country was too stressful and spent six months in Dubai and can you blame her?
In July 2022, the vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, received praise for undergoing surgery in Nigeria, and that showed how low the bar is for our politicians. Millions are spent by government officials seeking foreign healthcare. And unfortunately, the ambassador of this sad trend is our president himself, who, despite his promise to end medical tourism, has spent a total of 237 days abroad for health reasons.
Even 2023 presidential candidates aren’t ready to commit fully to staying in Nigeria for their medical care if they win next year’s election.
As we already know, elections in Nigeria are expensive. The 2023 presidential nomination form for one of the political parties cost ₦100 million. This is one of the reasons why politics today is ruled by godfatherism. This system ensures successful candidates use state resources to repay favours owed once they get into office.
While Nigerian politicians keep pointing at non-existent excuses for their failures, Nigerians are suffering from neglect. Hopefully, the next administration we elect in 2023 will spend Nigeria’s money on Nigerians..