Jumbo Pay Reduction: Nigerians, Are You Ready To Do Without Your Share Of “National Cake”?

Share it:

Editor’s note: In response to the recent decrease in the world oil prices and continuos public debates concerning the oversized salaries and  of the high-ranking government officials, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to scrutinise the matter and make the necessary amendments in the budget allocation scheme. Elias Mbam, the chairman of the commission, in his turn that by the end of September the maximum monthly salary of a public office holder would account for less than N1 million.

Though a slight decrease in the legislators’ allowances is welcomed now, Hussain Obaro, , doubts Nigerians sincerely want it, as they are actually indirect beneficiaries from the allocated funds.

Got elected – share with people

Almost a year ago, a few days to the end of Ramadan, I visited the residence of a senator, who had come home to commission some of his constituency projects. I came to invite him to honour us with his presence at an outreach seminar to educate the general public on the immense health benefits of brushing teeth before going to bed. Upon getting there, I was asked by one of the senator’s assistants to pick a number (mine was supposed to be 427) so that they could call on me when it was my turn. I smiled and asked whether they knew the reason why I was there to see the lawmaker. However, the assistants weren’t ready to listen to me until I showed them my identity card and a few things. Only then I was finally allowed to come in and see the distinguished senator.

To my knowledge, those 426 people I met that day were there either to collect their Ramadan/Sallah gifts, or to discuss their financial problems and pick a share of the national cake. That was why the senator’s assistants thought I had also come for the same reasons, and insisted that I should follow the procedure by picking the next available number. This is the reality of getting elected into a political office in Nigeria: people always expect you to come home and share money. I was told that until the senator left for Abuja, the people would continue flooding his residence daily.

Official “rip-off”

A couple of weeks ago there was an exaggerated media hype concerning the report on the jumbo allowances paid to the senators and members of the House of Representatives. The report was made public by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, which is in charge of fixing remunerations to the public office holders. The Nigerian legislature came under intense criticism and the “big hammer” of Nigerians, who were of the opinion that the need to cut the outrageous take-home pay and huge budgetary allocations at the moment the country is passing through hard times became inevitable.

According to the online media, some of the allowances the Nigerian legislators are entitled to include: personal assistant allowance (25% of basic salary), recess allowance (10% of basic salary), motor vehicle loan (250% of basic salary) and others like furniture allowance, newspaper allowance, etc. It is really no longer news that most of these allowances have been there since our return to democracy in 1999. What is, however, new are the general condemnation and criticism coming from Nigerians as if they were not aware that the senators and members of the House of Representatives of the 5th, 6th and 7th Assemblies also received these enormous allowances and budgetary allocation.

Splitting up the “national cake”

Though it is morally and economically reasonable for the jumbo salaries and allowances, which some describe as the highest in the whole world, to be slashed, it could not be denied that some of us are the indirect beneficiaries of these huge monies. The primary objective and responsibility of a lawmaker is to legislate for the overall good of the country and to attract the federal presence to his constituency whenever such opportunity arises, but not to bring the “national cake” to their people. Whenever a senator or a member of the House of Representatives goes home, the general belief among Nigerians is that they have brought their share of the “national cake”. The people would then begin to assemble around a legislator’s house to discuss their financial needs, which they expect the latter to tend to.

Experience is crucial in the hallowed chamber. It is gained through continuity and renewal of the terms of office, which is the reason why the constitution allows the lawmakers to seek re-election for as many times as they desire. However, senators and members of the House of Representatives usually fail to retain their seats just because their people refuse to vote them in due to the fact the legislators do not always share money when they are home. Like Oliver Twist, our legislators will continue to ask for money so as to have more than enough to give their people, since this is the only way they can be re-elected. We need to stop placing our financial burden on the legislators’ shoulders before asking them to cut down on their salaries. Our attitude is the reason why all political office holders usually go to the length of lay their hands on the national treasury just to have more money to share. So, before demanding a slash in the salaries, allowances and budgetary allocation to the lawmakers, ask yourself: are you ready to stop claiming Ramadan, Sallah, Easter and Christmas gifts from them?    

Patience Jonathan Forgot She Is No Longer The First Lady

Hussain Obaro for Naij.com

Hussain Obaro is a writer, motivational speaker and public affairs commentator from Ilorin, Kwara state.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Naij.com. 

Your own frank, edgy stories are welcome at . More details in for guest contributors. We are also available on  and .

The post Jumbo Pay Reduction: Nigerians, Are You Ready To Do Without Your Share Of “National Cake”? appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

Share it:


Post A Comment:


We’re eager to see your comment. However, Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy and all the links are nofollow. Using keywords in the name field area is forbidden.
Comment Using Either Disqus or Default Comment Mode.