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Wasteful expenditure

News » Editorials

Date: 12th, MARCH, 2013

Image:  minister Labaran Maku

When we thought the country was through with reckless deployment of resources, information minister Labaran Maku has reminded a bewildered nation that nothing has really changed in the 14 years of public affairs management by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Since last year, a large party of journalists assembled by the information minister has been on an endless road show called the National Good Governance Tour.

According to the minister who himself was a journalist, the tour was meant to showcase what the federal and state governments have achieved in recent times. So far, the tour has taken the 120-strong band to about 16 states where the minister led the group to inspect mainly projects executed by the state governments. In each state, he capped the tour with a town hall where he pontificated on what has been done, how they ought to have been done and what he thought has not been done well.

A lot is wrong with the concept and packaging of the jamboree. First, this is a federation. The Federal Government has no business assessing the performance of state governments. Worse still, there is very little to show by Abuja that gulps about 55 per cent of national resources. In most of the states, the tour is all about what the harassed state governments have managed to do with the little resources allowed them in the skewed federal fiscal system bequeathed the country by the military.

Second, as Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has pointed out, it is sickening that the Federal Government could be presenting a bill of millions to state governors. At a time that workers and the people are agitated that living wages are not being paid and infrastructure crying for attention, how could Maku be exerting such pressure on a meaningless project?

It is also unfortunate that media houses could release journalists to join the train. How could men meant to keep the gate and keep their eyes on the national till be so myopic as to allow participation in such a futile exercise? Organisations in the media, including the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria should immediately withdraw participation from the tour and issue statements denouncing it as wrongful deployment of resources.

Maku’s explanation that the governors were carried along in taking the decision is unhelpful. It is puerile and illogical. Again, Governor Oshiomhole’s explanation has answered him. If the group wanted to tour projects and applied to pay him a visit, it would have been accorded all respects due visitors. What is clearly unacceptable on the part of state governments is that they were required to pick the bill. But, whatever the source of the fund for such an unnecessary tour, it is regrettable that about 10 years after another information minister, Professor Jerry Gana, treated the public to such a show, we are back dancing on the same spot.

The world is watching us. The fate of the black race is tied to the progress and choices made by Nigeria. When public affairs are handled by insensitive officials, such hopes are misplaced and the government would have disappointed the Nigerian people, the African continent, the black race and the entire global community. The country can take consolation in the fact that men like Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, and, indeed, the Action Congress of Nigeria have roundly condemned the jamboree as a fraud.

Article Credit: The Nation News

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Tags:     Wasteful expenditure     Soyinka is right; Makuís tour is a scam