BILLIONS of Naira rolled in for the COVID war in 2020 without any announced appeal by the Federal Government. The emergency deserved emergency philanthropy. With the virus ebbing our billionaires have forgotten that we do not have hospitals or medical facilities that could answer to those names. Our other infrastructure remain embarrassing
Nobody should blame our billionaires. I am not. I will not. They hardly live here long enough to realise the way we are. Their medicals, foods, down to ice creams are from abroad. They have done well for themselves and must wonder most times why people are poor.
We also wonder how people are rich, so stupendously rich that there are not words to adequately address the expanses of their riches in the many ways that they manifest.
A trying moment for billionaires is when conversations steer towards poverty. Their perspectives are above the issues. When people talk of not having what to eat, billionaires think the of which of the world’s most expensive restaurants made the meal or if the price tags were at least in the range of $15,000, per person!
How does one explain to such people that some people do not earn up to N300 a day? Poverty has not been the billionaire’s fate for years. He has forgotten what it means to be poor, in case he once encountered poverty. The occasional media interviews where he mentions poverty are all part of being a billionaire.
Out of the N17.6 billion voted for flood relief and rehabilitation from the Dangote-led effort in 2012, N13.3 billion was allocated to the States and N4.3 billion to Federal Government agencies. Huge sums were allocated to Ministries of Works and Environment, National Emergency Management Agency, National Commission for Refugees, and Technical Committee on Flood Impact Assessment. Ministry of Works alone got N2.6 billion. There was hardly any evidence of how the money was spent or projects that lasted months after the floods.
The affected States shared N13.3 billion the Federal Government released to them. Just like the federal agencies, nobody knows what they did with the money.
Dangote in 2017 revealed that some of those who made pledges never redeemed them. He threatened to publish their names, hinting at the criminality involved in their act. According to Dangote, some corporate bodies enjoyed the tax reliefs and waivers that the government attached to the donations without giving a dime. Three years after, Dangote has not published the list of defaulters. He is unlikely to do anything of the sort.
Any account of the COVID fund would be a surprise. The money has be expended as intended.
We need our billionaires to run more initiatives – individually or jointly – that would ameliorate poverty across the land. Poverty is becoming a permanent national emergency. Among our billionaire class, a solution could be found that would ignite the various innate development handles for Nigeria.
Our billionaires need to work at lessening the suffering of Nigerians on more sustainable bases. Governments are unwilling to do it. On their part, our people no longer expect that our governments would ever care that our democracy has degenerated to government of the people, by some people, for some people without the people.
SO much faith has been placed in the powers of the Electoral Act 2022, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed after a thorough reading of the document, to cure Nigeria’s numerous election issues. Will the Act change behaviour of party, INEC, security officials involved in elections?
WITH all Ukraine was supposed to mean to United States, Britain, European Union, with all the noise, all the threat, all the sanctions, did they lift a finger to help Ukraine? Unfortunately, lives have been lost, some have been maimed, places bombed.
MUST something go wrong? The Super Falcons were celebrating their 13th qualification for the 13th WAFCON, meaning they have qualified for every edition of the competition from inception. No problems from Abidjan where they secured victory until at the Abuja airport. Airport COVID clearance claimed more than six hours, during which a player passed, airport officials would not burge. We must find ways to do things better.
HOW was the fuel scarcity resolved? Was anyone sanctioned, sacked?
Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues