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The Paradox of Nigerian Poverty

Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa; honestly I wonder the assessments and qualification put in place. Yes we are the Giant of Africa, so what?  Is it the Crude Oil, or the Agricultural sectors, or Mineral resources, bitterly most of these things we claim to have are not even yielding us enough profit or rather income in other to revive the economic state of the country.

No doubt, Nigeria is really rich and diverse in Natural resources, but certain things are yet to evidence the richness of the country; majority of the citizens are living in poverty, and large swaths of the country lack access to quality health care and even clean water.

The Government is clearly not utilizing our resources appropriately; Nigeria is capable of refining its resources, producing raw materials at large for exportation, rather than exporting its resources for refining or importing rice for consumptions.

Is no news that several writers has written about the country‘s Economic situation and utilization of resources, but sadly our Government distort feedback, critiques and solutions that could promote the country rather than self-oriented goal to their advantage.

Long before I was born, Nigeria has been categorized as Developing Country, I was thought same in my Elementary school, till date we’re still developing, and the question is for how long? I dare to agree to the notion of developing I rather say we’re Underdeveloped.

Industrialization in Nigeria lags behind all the countries upon which universal agreement of developed status exists. Nigeria suffers from low literacy rates, poor health care, and a stratospheric infant mortality rate.

According to statistics and evaluation of developed countries, the differences with Nigeria are wide while it has close ratio to Underdeveloped countries.

A developed country is defined as a country that has a developed economy and advanced tech infrastructure when compared to other nations. Typically, a developed country is designated by look at several factors, including the gross national product, gross domestic product, per capita income, industrialization level, standard of living, and infrastructure.

Developed countries have post-industrial economies with service sectors contributing more to the nation than the industrial sector.

An underdeveloped country is defined as a nation that is not as developed economically as other nations. These countries are very poor, have very low per capita real income, poverty is widespread, and many residents live in very dire conditions. In these nations, very little money is spent on health care or education, and there is very little industrial activity when compared to more developed nations. The main occupation in most underdeveloped nations is agriculture.

In these nations, unemployment and underemployment are major problems. There is also a high rate of population growth within these countries. In underdeveloped countries, most residents live in rural areas.

The infant mortality rate in Nigeria is a high 69 per 1,000 live births, while the life expectancy rate is low: only 53 years. Its overall HDI value is .51.

Based on its economy, health care, and living standards, Nigeria is a long way from being classified as a developed country.

It maneuvers my comprehension why Ex-Political Leaders are entitled to mammoth Pension benefits with their immediate family members inclusive. Let’s not forget that these so called Political leaders only have four years to rule except if re-elected for second tenure cumulating eight years.

Haven collected salaries that are capable of feeding and financing a Community for the number of years; they end up having access to Life Pension.  Our so called Leaders are Public Servants for crying out loud, they were elected by us (Citizens) to take charge and manage our resources for the purpose of growth and implementation.

Nigeria government is a means of financial freedom and road to stardom to many Politicians, the office of President, Governors, Ministers, Senators and many more is an opportunity to safeguard and acquire wealth.

Truth be told, Nigeria Politics is a field of corruption for the purpose of extortion; it is a battle of the fittest, the ability to submit to so called Godfathers demand in other to be powerfully endowed. The desire of people at heart is second to none; the purpose of office is obsolete and bygone once declared winner.

The rate of out of school children is on the high side yearly, swamp areas, deserted rural areas, insecurity, and extra judicial killings among other factors the country is experiencing.

I would share in this article Pension benefit of some states Ex-Governors and Deputy Governors, if only money allocated to these so called Political leaders can be utilized in the Educational sectors, Health, Agriculture among others I dare Nigeria would have been among developed countries in the world.

Nigeria educational sector is far from standard, no wonder our Politicians have their children school at foreign countries, get medically attended to and build their life, leaving the citizens whose taxes is used to wrath in discomforting conditions laid out by them.

Let it be mandated, as a Political leader you have no right to travel outside the country for medical treatment so therefore provide all we need in our health sectors. Nigerian Doctors are the most sorts after in the world but lack medical facilities to exhibit their professionalism.

As a Political leader your children must attend schools in the country and not foreign land.

A modest of N140 million in 2005, funds allocated to entitlements of former Presidents/Heads of State, former Vice Presidents or Chiefs of General Staff have risen rapidly to hit N2.3 billion in 2016. The peak was in 2012 when the immediate past Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration budgeted N3.185 billion for the welfare of the ex-leaders. Between 2013 and 2016, the allocation was constant at N2.3 billion for each year.

Various state assemblies had approved a wide range of entitlements for ex-governors and their deputies.

The Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension) Law No 11 official Gazette of Lagos State, 2007 states that former governors of the state are entitled to a house each in any location of their choice in Lagos and Abuja.

Section 2 states, “One residential house each for the governor and the deputy governor at any location of their choice in Lagos State and one residential house in the Federal Capital Territory for the governor on two consecutive terms.”

A former governor is also entitled to six new cars every three years, 100 per cent of the basic salary of the serving governor (N7.7m per annum), as well as free health care for himself and members of his family.

The law also says former governors will be entitled to furniture allowance, which is 300 per cent of their annual basic salary (N23.3m); house maintenance allowance, which is 10 per cent of basic salary (N778,296); utility allowance, which is 20 per cent of the salary (N1.5m) and car maintenance allowance, which is 30 per cent of the annual basic salary (N2.3m).

Other benefits include entertainment allowance, which is 10 per cent of the basic salary (N778,296) and a personal assistant, who will earn 25 per cent of the governor’s annual basic salary (N1.9m).

The law adds that a former governor is entitled to domestic workers comprising a cook, a steward, a gardener and others whose appointments are pensionable.

A former governor will also be entitled to eight policemen and two officials of the Department of State Services for life, according to the Lagos law.

In Rivers, a former governor is entitled to ten percent of annual basic salary, one residential house at any place of his choice and three cars replaceable every four years.

In Akwa Ibom, a former governor receives pension for life equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor. He is also entitled to free medical services for himself and spouse at an amount not exceeding N100 million. Other benefits include personal aides, cook, chauffeurs and security guards.

Kano State Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law of 2007 provides for 100 percent of annual basic salary for a former governor and deputy. This is in addition to free medical treatment and 30-day vacation, both within and outside Nigeria.

In Gombe, the law provides N300 million executive pension benefits for a former governor.

Zamfara’s Pension Law of 2006 provides that a former governor is entitled, for life, to two vehicles replaceable every four years; free Medicare in Nigeria and abroad; a 4-bedrom house and an office in Zamfara state; free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

While Section 2(a) of the Code of Conduct (CCB) Law provides that a public officer shall not “receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid emoluments of any other public office,” section 14(a) of the same law states that “members of legislative houses shall be exempted from the provisions of paragraph 4 of this code,” which prohibits a public officer after retiring from public service and while receiving pension from accepting more than one remuneration at a time.

How can you be receiving Life Pension as an Ex-Governor and yet receiving salary as a Minister or Senator, this is barbaric of the highest order;  Pension law needs to be revisited and inducted, it is immoral and unethical.

Nigeria government has lot to do, population can be reduced through birth control implementation by such doing Citizens standard of living would be upgraded.

Lest I forget Youth are the leaders of tomorrow they say, am looking forward to having a youth be the President or Governor of our country.

Pension paid to our Ex-Political leaders is steady hence no delay, yet thousands of retired Civil Servant who spent 30 years actively performing their duties are yet to receive their pension, some passed on as a result of this delay. The best adjective to qualify this act is Cruelty.

Government is struggling to adopt Minimum Wage to N30, 000 but yet effortlessly pay Ex-Political leaders out of Labour workers taxes.

Ex-Political leaders Pension entitlement is theft, alarming and ridiculous, it is a major factor why Nigeria is not developed.

 Say no to Scam, and hence each state Pension bills should be amended by cutting down the benefits.

By: Omolara Ogunwale

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