Wonders they say shall never cease. Nigerian politics ever full of vagaries and drama lived up to expectations as usual last week. Two governors, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State were the major dramatis personae who entertained Nigerians so wonderfully well that not only would the drama be the talk of the town for years to come, generations unborn would definitely make reference to it as one of the interesting chapters in our journey towards political maturity in our democracy.
Governor Ben Ayade made history as the first Governor in Nigeria to present a N1trillion naira budget(2018 budget) to a State House of Assembly. Before now, the 2017 budget of the state was a whopping N300 billion Naira. Simply defined, a budget is a statement outlining proposed income and expenditure of a country, institution or organization within a time frame. A budget ought to be realistic and based on realistic expectations in order to ensure that it is implemented 100% and satisfies the yearnings and aspirations of the citizenry. Pray, how does Governor Ayade intend to fund the 2018 N1trillion naira budget considering that Cross River State is only an oil producing state on paper having lost most of their oil wells to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State? That is why i find governor Ayade’s N1 trillion naira budget not only unrealistic but also a comic relief from the stress of every day life in Nigeria. Governor Ayade should tell Nigerians the percentage of this year’s N300 billion naira budget that was successfully implemented. The governor’s lame defense that much of the money to fund the budget would be realized from foreign investments which will be attracted to the state in the course of the budget implementation does not hold water. This is tantamount to building something on nothing. A man who has never owned a car in his entire life would be considered insane if he suddenly begins to strategize on how to own a private jet.
Stranger than fiction was Governor Okorocha’s appointment of his sister as the Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment. While most people have overlooked the lesser “sin” which governor Okorocha committed by appointing his sister as a Commissioner which is a gross violation of Nigeria’s anti-nepotism laws, the greater “sin” which is the appointment of his sister into a phantom office with no clear cut defined aims, objectives and duties, is what Nigerians seem not to be able to overlook. Even illiterate Nigerians know that happiness and purpose fulfillment are individual pursuits and achievements which cannot be determined by or given to the people by any government in the world. That is why even in prosperous countries of the world, you still find high suicide rates due to lack of happiness and purpose fulfillment while in most third world countries, you will find genuinely happy people content with their meager resources. So what Okorocha has done effectively is to send his sister in search of a godour-in search of nothing. The defense given by the new Commissioner that you also have Ministers with such appellations in some Arab countries can be easily rebutted from two angles. One, such appointments are only done in fascist or totalitarian regimes where the government controls every aspect of the citizens lives. The Arab countries that were cited as examples are absolute monarchies. Two, the Arab states in question are not only richer than Nigeria but also have very small populations so they can easily afford to splurge money on inanities, luxuries and extravagance in a bid to achieve happiness and purpose fulfillment for their citizens. It is nothing but a classic case of having more money than sense of how to spend it.
If Governor Okorocha is truly desirous of increasing the level of happiness and purpose fulfillment in Imo State, let him pay the complete salaries, allowances and arrears of civil ser