NIGERIA BANKRUPTING ITS CHILDREN’S FUTURE


By Akin Ojumu

Let me paint the grim picture of Nigeria’s current political situation for you. Maybe then you'd understand the fierce urgency for a radical action to change the country’s unenviable trajectory.

The average Nigerian National Assembly member receives an annual salary package of about $600,000. That’s a total of $65.5 million for 109 Senators and $216 million for the 360 members of the House of Representatives members. In a year, Nigeria spends a combined total of $280 million in salaries alone for the entire NASS.

What does that amount of money translate into in terms of productivity as measured by the number of bills debated in both chambers? The answer is, not very much at all. 

In a year, both chambers of the National Assembly of Nigeria consider an average of 516 bills. What that means is that for every bill debated in NASS, it costs Nigeria $540,000. 

Contrast that level of productivity with that of the United States, the leading democratic nation in the world. 

The total annual salary of all US Legislators – i.e., 50 Senators and 435 House of Representative Members combined – is about $93 million. The US Congress deliberates on about 12,000 bills in a year. Meaning, it costs the United States about $7,750 per bill. 

That's right. In Nigeria, it costs $540,000 per bill debated in the NASS, while in the US the cost per bill debated in the US Congress is $7,700.

To put that in perspective, Nigeria has a population of 186 million, while the US has 325 million people. There are 774 local governments in Nigeria compared to 3007 in the US. Yet, it costs Nigeria three times the amount of money to run a presidential system of government than it costs the United States, a country with a population of almost twice that of Nigeria. If that doesn't bother you, I don't know what would.

Nigeria cannot afford this level of waste of its resources and the country cannot continue on this path of economic drain. It’s totally unsustainable and has got to stop. If there’s no course correction, Nigeria’s political system, as currently constituted and practiced, will bring the country to financial ruin. 

By embracing such an expensive and highfalutin political system, the present generation of Nigerians are on course to bankrupting the future of their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

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