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Abiodun  Ladepo Reacts to Makinde’s Reduction of Budget from N285b to N182b

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One thing you have to give the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, and particularly the Makinde administration, is the savvy use of propaganda – twisting bad news to “good” news while the media outlets eat it all up.

Take for instance the announcement that the Governor Seyi Makinde  has reduced the 2019 budget, prepared by the Abiola Ajimobi administration from N285b to N182b (a shaving off of N103b) simply because the budget was “unrealistic”.

In that same tweet, Governor Makinde  stated that he increased the budget for education “upward” to 10% of the total budget.

Well, the questions I would ask him if I were still a practicing journalist in the state are:

1. Since a budget is a projection of income (revenues) that can be spent, what makes the governor think the state cannot, realistically, earn N285b?

2. Could the downward review be because the governor has offered so many “freebies” that have eaten into its Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs)?

3. By how much have ANY steps taken by his administration increased the state’s IGR?

4. How much loan has he taken so far and how much does he plan to take in the 2019 fiscal year?

5. How much has he paid back out of the debts owed (cumulatively) by multiple past administrations, and how does he plan to pay back the rest and bring the state to a debt-free status by 2023,

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6. When he said he increased the education budget to 10%, what was the percentage budgeted by Ajimobi…9%, 8%?

7. And what are the naira amounts of the education budget? I ask this because 9% of Ajimobi’s N285b (assuming it was 9%), is significantly higher than 10% of Makinde’s N182b.

So, e ma p’aja l’obo fun wa mo.

It is not enough to just tell the people that the budget had to be reduced because it was not “realistic”. The media must make him explain why it’s not “realistic”.

Governance is not child’s play o. It is a lot of work.

And it is not charity…lol.

We can’t just depend on federal allocations, World Bank grants and loans for execution of capital and recurrent expenditures. Such laziness led to past financial crises when we couldn’t pay salaries and pensions on time because federal allocations dried up as oil sales plummeted .

We must generate our own funds through various kinds of investments and an expanded but fair taxation base.

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Opinion

Why the colour of #RevolutionNow was not Arab Spring-red | By Festus Adedayo

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They all happened almost simultaneously, as if in a choreography. On February 9, 2011, a huge crowd of protesters had gathered at the Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Unruly, eyes dilating like pellets of ice immersed in mug-full Campari liquor, it was obvious that this was a crowd determined to change the status quo.

 

They shouted anti-government slogans, calling for an end to oppression, economic adversities and collapse of the Arabian spirit in the Arab world.

A couple of weeks before then, specifically on January 14, 2001, at the Habib Bourguiba Boulevard in Tunis, Tunisia, it was the same huge crowd, mobilized to end the decadent order. Similarly on February 3, 2011, a mammoth crowd of dissidents gathered at the Sana’a in Yemen, calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullahi Saleh. A couple of months after, specifically on a cold morning of April 29, 2011, hundreds of thousands of people at Baniyas, Syria, gathered to upturn the ruling order.

The overall goal of the protesters was similar: Bring down oppressive regimes that manifested in low standard of living in the Arab world. Dubbed Arab Spring, an allusion to the 1848 Revolution and the Prague Spring of 1968 by Political Scientist, Marc Lynch in an article he did for the American Foreign Policy magazine on January 6, 2011, the upheavals were a series of anti-government protests sparked off in early 2010s in Tunisia that eventually culminated in uprisings and armed rebellion that became widespread across the Arab World.

In a twinkle of an eye, they spread to five other Arab countries, namely Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, leading to the deposition of the second President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; Egyptian Hosni Mubarak; Muammar Gaddafi and Yemeni first President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. In places where such upturns were not achieved, major social dislocations, riots, civil wars and insurgencies followed. In all of this social violence, the demonstrators’ catchphrase was, translated from Arab, “the people want to bring down the regime.”

So, did the #RevolutionNow conveners actually want to bring down the Muhammadu Buhari government last week and if yes, were they representative of the people of Nigeria? I asked this question because, if the Arab Spring upheavals were what they sought to clone, we must place it side by side the gloat of the Buhari presidency which likened their own version to a child’s tantrum and a poor imitation of the original. Femi Adesina, Buhari’s spokesman, articulated the Buhari government’s disdain for and scant belief in the possibility of a rehash of an Arab Spring-like revolution in Nigeria.

 

My reading of this mockery of the protests was that Buhari, like the ruling class elite now and before him, was persuaded that the internal contradictions in Nigeria can never allow for a people’s revolt against governmental oppressors.

“A revolution is always a mass thing, not a sprinkle of young boys and girls you saw yesterday in different parts of the country. I think it was just a funny thing to call it a revolution protest. In a country of 200 million people and if you see a sprinkle of people saying they are doing a revolution, it was a child’s play. Revolution is something that turns the normal order. What happened yesterday, would you call it a revolution? It was just an irritation, just an irritation and some people want to cause irritation in the country and what I will say is when things boil over, they boil over because you continue to heat them,” the Buhari publicist said.

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I am persuaded that the social condition of the 200 million people Adesina literally venerated for staying aloof to the #RevolutionNow is far worse than those of the Arab countries’. Like them, a tiny clique too has held the jugular of power for decades, continuously riding roughshod over their suffering people and believing that a violent upturn was a mirage. This ruling elite’s lethargy, in Nigeria, has resulted in apathy to the worsening fates of society and breeding a teeming agonizing majority.

However, my reading of the presidency’s dismissive appraisal of the #RevolutionNow protests shows that that mockery is situated on a wonky pedestal. Buhari’s basis for dismissing the protest includes its scant attendance, absence of belligerence of the protesters and the fact that things have not yet “boiled over.” Of a truth, on the outward, Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow, which provoked that disdainful appraisal of the Nigerian presidency, may look too sparse to qualify for a people’s revolt. However, proclaiming it a failure may be a fatal mis-reading of the temperature of revolts.

Though Buhari must have been buoyed into lethargy by the many contradictions of the Nigerian state that might not have allowed Nigerians to troop out in their millions to convince government that Buhari is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, things are actually fast boiling over from within. It is apparent that government has failed to see the success of the protest as a symbolism for perforation of the veneer of governmental resistance. Since it could not see this implication, government then dangerously lapsed into a couple of false assumptions which show it as incapable to properly read what people don’t say.

In his weekly Facebook epistle, Adesina was further lionized to make further fatal fallacious blunders. Citing the viral call of a 4-year old boy who urged his mum to calm down, entitled Why We Need to Calm Down, the president’s spokesman made same ruling elite mistake of equating infrastructural projects with development and imagining that the people are happy. He regaled Nigerians with construction projects which he said were unprecedented in Nigeria’s history. Does he know that development is mental and not merely physical structures?

While Nigeria may indeed have witnessed a flurry of Chinese loan-funded, ostensibly corruption-ridden infrastructural projects, Nigerians’ joy level has sunk considerably under Buhari. Development is in the peace that has eluded Nigerians in the last five years, in the widespread belief that Nigeria is rudderless under Buhari and the fear that Boko Haram, ISWAP, ISIS and bandits are presiding over the Nigerian affairs, rather than the elected political elite.

By definition, a revolution is a fundamental, sudden change in political power and political organization. It is propelled when a people revolt against an oppressive government run by generally perceived incompetent people. In human history, there have been an array of revolutions which significantly changed the status quo. While notable revolutions are the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1783, the French Revolution of 1789 to 1799 and the Russian Revolution of 1917, Africa has had its own experiences, ranging from the Angolan Revolution of 1961 – 1974, the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 and the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964. The most recent in this league in Africa is the Arab Spring.

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So, what gave #RevolutionNow conveners the impression that Nigeria is ready for a revolt?
Successful revolutions have been known to succumb to some indices. James DeFronzo’s Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements, which can be regarded as a handbook for revolution, provided some insights. Mass frustration resulting in local uprisings, dissident elites, powerful unifying motivations, a severe crisis paralyzing state administrative and coercive power and a permissive or tolerant world context are some of the indices DeFronzo suggested cannot but be present if a revolt against an existing order must sail through.

A critical look at the Nigerian situation reveals the following: Whereas there is mass frustration in the country, this has seldom resulted in local uprisings, except the June 12 riots. In the same vein, the Nigerian elites, being part and parcel of the maggots that lace the Nigerian decadence, are literally having a saturnalia inside the Nigerian sewage and are far from being dissident against the status quo. Again, whereas there are motivations for revolt in virtually all parts of Nigeria, the complexities in diversities of tribe, religion and culture have compelled divisive motivations.

 

The Nigerian ruling elites are coercive, reckless and feckless in their rule but the contradictory indices earlier provided have restrained massive and widespread paralysis of governments. Allied to these is the fact that while there is indeed a sidon look of the international system against the slide in the affairs of Nigeria, this has lionized the ruling elite into further tightening the screw of their misrule.

Only a surface analysis would conclude that Nigeria is not ripe for a revolution. A combination of an incompetent ruling class and a gale of hopelessness is oscillating in the Nigerian sky. A conservative estimate will show that, at least 90 per cent Nigerians, from all the geopolitical zones, are miserable, hopeless and perceiving life as worthless. At every point, those purportedly elected to provide succor daily advertise confounding helplessness.

Look at the Bauchi State governor who recently appointed a Special Assistant on Unmarried Women Affairs; or the systemic chaos that is the order of the day in Nigeria. Check out the symbolism of Edo State where the unrivalled lawlessness of Adams Oshiomhole is jamming the arrogance of power of Godwin Obaseki. And of course, the massive theft of Nigeria’s inheritance and full-blown wretchedness of Nigerians, both of which are tribal-blind and religion-jaundiced.

What are those contradictions that made the #RevolutionNow look like a failure and which have made Adesina and his ilk gloat at the possibility of an overturn of the system? One is the structural default that Nigeria sits upon. No successful revolt can happen, in the words of DeFronzo, without unifying motivations. Though there is mass frustration, the motivations for revolt are not unifying. This necessitated what happened recently in Katsina, Buhari’s home state. Tired of their massive killing by bandits with a corresponding incapability of their son, Buhari and his sidekick governor, Aminu Masari, Katsina people blocked the roads and asked for their twin resignation.

Also, persuaded that the unprecedented heists in government and Buhari’s cancerous cronyism are offshoots of a systemic imbalance, Southern Nigeria has consistently called for restructuring. In the ears of a feudal North used to kowtowing, however, that singsong is absolute bunkum. Again, while bandits who come from a seeming culture that justifies slaughtering have butchered more Southern Kaduna people than the number of rams they probably slaughtered in their lifetime, the rest of Nigeria’s consternation at this bloodletting sounds strange to the sons of perdition whose DNA is violence and bloodshed.  So where can there be one voice against systemic disorder as to propel people to massively gather to upturn a decadent status-quo like Buhari’s?

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The above are ills resulting from the calamitous dalliance of Flora Shaw and her British soldier liaison, Lord Lugard. Unfazed by the fact that Nigeria is not a nation but a concentration of nations, with different persuasions, worldviews, cultures, social foundations, human excitements and expectations,   this duo soldered the nations into a fractious whole, with dangers for their forcefully welded existence. This resulted in last week’s “sprinkle of young boys and girls,” a la the presidency’s gloat, as against a mass uprising, even though the indices of revolution, the hopelessness, the frustrations, are present everywhere. The truth is, there is no difference between the widespread despondency in Katsina-Ala, the frustration in Nkalagu or the massive disdain with Nigerian ruling class in Igboho but motivations for dissent are not the same.

Femi Adesina and the ruling class as a whole may however not have too long to gloat. To gloat at the impracticability of a revolution is a fallacious appeal to authority. It can also pass as a fallacy of the straw man. This is because it is not unlikely that the Nigerian ruling class might have been holding on to weak, phony and ridiculous beliefs that have no basis in science. The collapse of current world order, especially in this world of Coronavirus, may have underscored this.

It is in the enlightened self interest of the Nigerian ruling class to flatten the curves of inequalities and gross lack and want, otherwise, its thinking that Nigerians are incapable of rising against it will collapse.

This was the thinking of the runners of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The lyrics of Orwellian Beasts of England say this much and are a pointer to the fact that, if the oppression and frustration in Nigeria continue unabated, it may be a push for a surge of the adrenaline of the Nigerian oppressed.

Orwell had enjoined the suffering oppressed, the “Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland” the corollary inside the Nigerian Animal Farm cage, the, “Beasts of every land and clime” not to be downcast as “Soon or late the day is coming,//Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown//And the fruitful fields of England//Shall be trod by beasts alone.” Rejoicing in a future of conquest of the system, Orwell also enjoined that, “Rings shall vanish from our noses//And the harness from our back//Bit and spur shall rust forever//Cruel whips no more shall crack.”

Are the Nigerian ruling elite who believe that the decadent order would continue ad infinitum listening?

 

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Opinion

The State of Man Kind | By Tunde Busari

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The Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, in a little over a year in office, has shown determination cum genuine intention to confront the pervasive insecurity in his Pace setter state.

Aside that he had played host to a couple of meetings on South-west security matter, his approval two days ago of N59.7 million take-off grant for the State Security Network Agency, code-named Operation Amotekun, is further demonstration of his zero-tolerance to black sheep in his territory.

Reports, coming after the state executive council meeting, have it that the fund would procure uniforms, combat boots, lanyard, baseball hats, security belts and worsted socks required to go after the gangs of subversive elements whose mission on earth is to unleash sorrow and spread more of it.

Till this Friday morning, Governor Makinde has not proved to me that he is not mentally fit for his office. His kind approach to governance is an asset which though could be turned to his albatross if he is not vigilant. Yes, N59.7 million is a big, awesome sum in arithmetical term. Talking of reality, however, especially in age when exchange rate is fluid, the amount is not near what will achieve the kind of security he desires.

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And my assumption, built on his pedigree as a big player in corporate world, is that he is exposed enough to appreciate the role played by security in development and the role absence of it also plays in failure of government. No transformative governance can be witnessed when law and order are in the hands of banditry.

That is why a section of the public who invested their confidence and hope in President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015 are fast retracing their steps and critically reviewing their faith in the government. This group had reasoned that Boko Haram insurgency, which reduced former President Goodluck Jonathan to toothless Commander-In-Chief, would be promptly suppressed by Buhari, a military general with track record in warfare.

Disappointingly, the wishes of this group were not horses, Boko Haram seems to be enjoying a renewed gut to even open fire on convoy of a state governor to send a strong message to Abuja that they remain indomitable despite huge amount of fund so far sunk into military operations.

While the Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum refused to link the attack on him at Baga town on July 29 to Boko Haram militants, the incident, however, is evidence of anarchic state of that part of the country.

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I want to believe that Governor Makinde’s appointment of two retired soldiers-General Kunle Togun and Colonel Bisiriyu Olayinka as chairman and commandant, respectively of the Amotekun corps is not one of those appointments to seek or lubricate political patronage or satisfy zoning formula.

I want to believe he has gone through the profile of the duo and seen how they rose to elite position before their retirement. I want to believe he will therefore listen to their advice. If he listens to their advice, he will understand the need to not make the N59.7 million a one-off thing because sustenance of security apparel is very, very expensive.

If (God forbid) Amotekun becomes another security agency which would inevitably go and prostrate before those it should put under surveillance for fund for fuel and maintenance of operational vehicles among other starvation, then reign of anarchy will take over and topple the government of Makinde in 2023 elections. Good morning.

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Opinion

Appeal to  University of Ilorin Management | By Isreal Olayinka

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Parents of over 400 new 2019/2020 Jambites who were given admission into the University were asked to leave due to their lateness to pay school fees. This are student who passed IJMB,  passed post IJMB, paid acceptance fees, done their departmental registration, they have been receiving lectures and along the line they were told not to pay into the school portal because the portal was hijacked and some were told by their L A to finish departmental registration before paying schooi fees into the University portal.

 

But unfortunately, the University portal was closed and the management refused to open it even for late payment that attracts additional fee. The affected Jambites, student union, parents even some top lecturers appealed on behalf of the students but alas the management refused to open the University portal.

 

Then come the matric, over 400 Jambites were told to go back home, when IJMB 2020/2021 have closed. That means the affected students will be home for 2years before they can sit for another IJMB.

We, the parents of the affected JAMBITES hereby appeal to all Nigerians to please do what they can to help appeal to the management of the University to at least defer their admission for the year 2020/21 academic session, since they have the admission letters, and have paid and the University have recieved their acceptance fees.
Thank you.

By Pastor Isreal Olayinka

 

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