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Governors spending N968b on entertainment a shame

At a time such as the one Nigerians are wading through now, governments as the representatives of the people are supposed to be at their…

At a time such as the one Nigerians are wading through now, governments as the representatives of the people are supposed to be at their best in the prudential management of resources. However, this does not appear to be so with the governments at the state level. The latest clear indication of this is the revelation that together, the 36 state governors in the country spent as much as N968 billion on entertainment in just three months. This comes down to N322.6 billion being spent by these sub-nationals within a month on non-essentials.

This amount, if well spent, can make a difference in the lives of ordinary Nigerians. For instance, it can be used to provide a certain number of boreholes so that people in rural communities can have access to cleaner water. It can be used to support primary and secondary education in their respective states. Specifically, it can be used to tackle the rising problem of out-of-school children, which presents a potent challenge for Nigeria’s future. No, nobody considered any of these possibilities when the funds were being frittered away in unconscionable revelry for a few amid pain and hunger for the majority.

To think that this took place when ordinary Nigerians face a myriad of problems, especially hunger, is almost imponderable. Hunger is one of the basic needs that most sane and organised societies have done everything possible to banish from among their people. Let us remind the state governors of what this time means to Nigerians. It is a time when a 50-kg bag of rice costs about N72,000; a paint bucket of beans sells for N8,000; a basket of tomatoes (the one everyone knows) sells for between N120,000 and N140,000.

It is a time when the inflation rate has risen to 33.69 per cent, the highest in 28 years. All these have taken away from the table for many Nigerian families. To cap it all, it is a time when the governors have collectively said they cannot afford to pay their workers a minimum monthly salary of N60,000.

Putting all these together, Daily Trust would want to ask: What are the governors in office for, if they cannot take care of the people at this level? We wonder why do our leaders not care a hoot about the welfare of their subjects in the true sense of the word? We wish to remind them that leading people means, quite fundamentally, caring about the quality of life that the led have.

The time has come for our leaders to take responsibility for all their actions, and for Nigerians to hold them accountable. Nigerians currently find it difficult to eat just one meal a day. Yet others are being treated as though they have more at stake in the various states. The irony in the whole drama is that some of these funds being frittered so mindlessly are borrowed and the burden of repayment falls on all.

The states owe as much as N9.86 trillion as of December 31, 2023, according to figures from the Debt Management Office. The amount frittered away by the governors represents approximately 10 per cent of the amount owed by the states and the Federal Capital Territory. That means the governors should do more  to reduce the states’ debt burden rather than engaging in squandering the little resources the states have.

In addition, in the same year, these states received N 6.57 trillion from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee. This is much more than they used to get just 12 months ago.  This is also in addition to the internally generated revenues that the states can raise within their areas. All these funds are available to state governments, yet our rural areas are virtually left without the touch of the government.

Daily Trust believes our governors should pay more attention to bringing down the cost of governance.  They must do away with any urge to indulge in frivolities with people’s money entrusted to them to ensure that the citizen has a decent living.

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