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And the award for profligate spending goes to…

These days, insolence for constituted authorities is reaching unprecedented height in Nigeria. In the past week, enemies have leaked classified documents indicating that Nigerian governors…

These days, insolence for constituted authorities is reaching unprecedented height in Nigeria. In the past week, enemies have leaked classified documents indicating that Nigerian governors have spent N1.9 trillion on allowances, foreign trips, stationery, aircraft maintenance and other sundry expenses in the first three months of this year. Such information ought to have been classified, known only to the gods and their anointed.

In these discourteous times, government secrets are splashed on the front pages of newspapers and as headlines on private radio and television.

Government-owned megaphones do not indulge in news capable of raising the level of national heartache. Mr President confessed to not subscribing to the kind of bad news likely to raise national blood pressure. He is doing the magic that keeps raising the value of garri and tomatoes sans adding economic yeast.

Nigerians think that democracy gives them the right to snoop around the corridors of power. They want to cause disaffection and ill-will between governors and the governed. We bless Jah that people don’t really care what their governors spend on frivolities.

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It is gratifying to note that when governors spend, they do not need the permission of the guys in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) secretariat or their counterparts in the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Imagine the insolence of workers asking for a minimum wage to cure the maximum troubles that plague our beleaguered country. How is a $41 monthly pay (£32) likely to impact the life of any worker whose governor gallivants all over the world looking for a place to hide their loot. Oh, sorry, I meant looking for investors.

With the latest uncontroverted revelations of BugIt, a non-governmental organisation meant to increase the decibels of our heartbeats, we should be asking the Guinness Book of Records to institute an award for profligacy for our spendthrift governors. Such an award should ginger the governors on the bottom rung of the spending ladder to find trips, host more guests, sit more and earn allowances to beat Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence to its premier position.

Anyone who has witnessed the unbeaten record of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in infrastructural transformation and the demolition of unwanted structures in Lagos would agree that he deserves his gold medal for spending N189.62 billion on recurrent expenditure in the first three months this year. No other state hosts the president’s 73-motorcade convoy as often as Lagos.

We must commend Governor Sanwo-Olu for playing host to Africa’s most powerful leader without incident at a time the social media tries to convince us that market men and women are complaining in spite of the influence of the Iyaloja-General of Africa. Governors are spending internally generated revenue and their federal allocation on themselves.

For Governor Oberevwori Sheriff, the sheriff of the oil-rich Delta State, spending of N68.68 billion between January and March this year is frugal. The more oil flows in your creeks, the more rights you have earned to play the prodigal with your state resources. After all, governors are in the race to be the greatest spenders, and Governor Sheriff has earned a well-fought silver medal that should be sustained till the end of the year.

The bronze medal for profligate spending goes to our own Eleyi of Ogun State, Governor Dapo Abiodun, who frittered N47.12 billion on trips, entertainment and sundry expenditure to win it. If the Gateway State had slacked a little, it would have been overtaken by Akwa Ibom, whose governor, Ume Ufot, picked the fourth position. By spending only N46.85 billion in three months, he lost ranking to Ogun and must work harder to ensure that President Godswill Akpabio comes home more and brings ranking senators along for big spending. That should push him up the rankings.

As a one-time governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it is slightly disappointing that Governor Chukwuma Soludo trails behind in this race. Spending a paltry N42.09 billion on recurrent expenditure should make him work harder for a medal that is better than charcoal.

Anambra should not be on the same pedestal with Oyo State, whose governor, Seyi Makinde’s N40.12 billion beats Soludo pants down.

Northern governors are very disappointing in this race. They may not pay the national minimum wage, but they often sponsor mass weddings and play big on the pilgrimage race, as well as feeding the poor during fasting seasons. They earn their gold medals for citizens in Jannah.

None of the northern governors came close to the N40 billion mark in the first three months of this year. The highest northern spender is my home governor, Usman Ododo. He spent N37.4 billion on these frivolities within January and March. Shielding his predecessor, Yahaya Bello from federal authorities brings hope that when the year ends, he would be in reckoning as a bigger spender.

Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State was a ranking senator, ex-minister and running his second term as governor whose first direct investment was the celebrated addition of a ravishing Lebanese lady to his harem. But apparently, when it comes to recurrent expenditure, he spent only enough to earn a silver medal.

For all his earned credentials, Muhammed is regarded as a frugal governor, who spent only N35.75 billion on recurrent expenditure in the first three months of 2024. Let us hope he is feeding his foreign investment properly. There must be abundant Kibbeh, shawarma and falafel on the table at meetings to push him up the medal’s table. He must avoid a situation where his last wife sends back news that Bauchi people starve their wives.

Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State deserves commendation. This man has shown that treachery is not bad if it is carried out in the interest of the people. People swear on the skin of crocodiles that he is a stooge of his predecessor, Nasir el-Rufai. He dropped that title when he supported the state assembly to probe his former boss.

With just N34.69 billion on recurrent expenditure between January and March this year, Governor Sani earns northern governors’ silver medal in spending. That’s not bad when you realise that Kaduna lost its glory as the hub of northern industrialisation to Kano.

It is here that we must garland Governor Kabir Yusuf for not hitting the national mean with N34.41 billion in expenses in the first three months of the year. With all the shenanigans playing out over the uncontroverted emirship stool in Kano, Abba Gida-Gida should be doing better than earning the bronze medal in spending by the end of the year.

From all indications, no state spent less than N30 billion on allowances, trips and incidentals in the first three months of the year. The year has just broken half, so there is room for improvement, both in spending and borrowing. Sanwo-Olu should keep his gold; he has earned it and has nothing to lose keeping it in a glass cupboard in Alausa.


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