Whenever I think of the budgetary provision of N250 million to build a gatehouse for the vice president, I am moved by the inequities and inequalities of Nigeria.
There is no urgency or importance in building a new gatehouse for the vice president’s already over priced house, but if even we need to build such a house can we not build it with less than 10% of the cost?
At the black market rate (which is the most commonly used rate in Nigeria) N250 million is equivalent to $500,000. At the official rate, it is worth almost a million dollars. With that type of cash you can buy a mansion in Washington DC and a well developed property in London. Isn’t it a pity that all it can buy the Nigerian government is a gatehouse?
Now we want to borrow $30 billion from other nations and foreign financial institutions. But why should any other nations or foreign financial institutions lend us money when we have not shown prudence in managing the little that we have?
I can assure you that I did my research and not one of the ten richest nations in the world is spending the equivalent of 250 million for something as inconsequential to the well being of a nation as a vice president’s gatehouse.
Why should America, Britain or China lend Nigeria any money when the gate man of our Vice President is living in a house that only a millionaire in their own country can afford?
Should they lend us $30 billion so we can build more luxurious and befitting gatehouses for our other public officials?
Is this the change we promised Nigerians?
With a minimum wage of N18,000 the N250 million to be spent on the Vice President’s gatehouse can pay the salaries of 13,888 Nigerians!
How many staff are being owed salary by the federal government? How many staff are being owed salary by state governments? How many pensioners are dying while waiting to collect pension that never comes?
How many internally displaced persons are dying of hunger while we budget N250 million for a gatehouse? N250 million can feed one million people for a day and 200,000 people for a week.
Recently, I was driving on a federal road in the South-east and a portion of that road was so damaged that it was a death trap. I wonder how many people have been killed on that road. Certainly, from my estimation as an entrepreneur who has built several malls and other real estate projects across Nigeria, N250 million will be sufficient to repair that portion of the road, but no! We have to build a gatehouse for a VIP!
Nigeria has some of the worst maternal and infant maternity rates in the whole world. 10% of all the women who die in childbirth are Nigerian women according to the UN. Meanwhile Nigeria only has 2% of the world’s population.