Africa's richest mogul, Aliko Dangote, the Patriarch of Saraki Dynasty, Bukola Saraki, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, and Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi have called for the sale of our national assets notably – Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in order to dig our way out of recession.
Saraki believes the sale would shore up capital and “calm investors, discourage currency speculation, and stabilize economy.” Dangote contends that selling the assets would raise short-term capital. Emefiele says the sale would generate N40 billion.
The NLNG and African Finance Corporation as a joint venture paid $1.6bn dividend to the Buhari administration soon after it took off. The money served as the bail out kit for 27 states to pay workers' salaries last year. The NLNG also paid $12.9bn in eight years to NNPC as returns on investment.
It's on record that the selling of national assets have never benefited poor Nigerians. Rather it has increased the yawning gap between the rich and the poor. The wealthy Nigerians are the usual beneficiaries of such schemes. For example...
The sale of Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHNC) was sold amid fanfare of promises that it would put an end to endless black outs, that electricity would be cheaper for Nigerians, and it would provide millions of jobs. What we got was the opposite.But why do we have to sell profitable assets when the National Assembly (NASS) the profiteers from miseries of poor Nigerians should be put on the auction bloc? The NASS is a liability on the country and its people. It's a bankrupt institution that must either be sold or franchised. It does not worth a penny of the annual budget because there is no return on the investment to our people. Here is the product description to prospective buyers.
The National Assembly is systematically, professionally, and irredeemably corrupt. The NASS is a sophisticated kleptocracy. Nigerians with a gentle humor nicknamed the legislators, legislathieves. They get rich off government service. They legislate on how to purchase access to officeholders. They represent the worst of Alexis de Tocqueville's amazing prophecy of “the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced.”
The elected representatives at NASS don't represent the people. They represent a government of factions, by the factions, and for the factions. They represent corruption and tyranny. Nigerians are no strangers to political corruption.
Nigerian politics at both the state and national levels are rife with bribery, corruption, and scandal. But the bulk of corruption of the legislative arm of government at NASS is a spectacular encore in our politics.
The legislative priorities of NASS operate in reverse. It has transformed the Constitution into complimentary instrument for preserving, protecting, and defending political corruption. It has professionalized the pathways to corruption. The NASS is corrupt to the core. It's nothing more than a legally sanctioned hollow chamber of thieves.
The role of the legislators have become fragmented, ambiguous with conflicting goals, lack of objective metrics of performance, transitory leadership, unmerited outrageous pay scales, inability to punish even egregious misbehavior, and turning Nigerians into captive citizens.
The NASS members are possessed by powerful lure of non-pecuniary incentives particularly the opportunity to wield power coupled with prevalence of corruption and its relentless efforts to steer our resources toward private purposes and pockets. It's reputed for discouragement of common sense and personal initiative with destructive consequences to our nation and people.
Since Nigeria returned to democracy 17 years ago after military rule, the NASS hasn't done anything for the Nigerian people. All they do is fighting for positions on “juicy committees,” loot the treasury, engage in fist fights on the floor of the House and Senate, buy all public land in Abuja, own fleet of jets and cars, kill poor people for rituals, ooze out bagful of cow dungs and other carcinogenic garbage during debates.
The latest revelation from the suspended Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jubrin on how he and other thieves shared our money makes for a compelling reason why the NASS must be auctioned at basement bargain price.
Jubrin in his own words: “I got N650 million as my running cost as the Chairman of Appropriations Committee. Speaker Yakubu Dogara got N1.5 billion. His deputy Yusuf Lasun got N800 million. House Majority Leader Fermi Gbajabiamila got N1.2 billion. Deputy Majority Leader got Buba Jibrin got N1.2 billion. House Whip Alhasan Ado Doguwa got N1.2 billion. Deputy House Whip got N700 million. House Minority Leader Leo Ogor got N1.2 billion. Deputy Minority Leader Onyema got N800 million. Minority Whip got N700 million. Deputy Minority Whip got N700 million. I have documents to back up all these,” says Jubrin.
NASS is the world's biggest criminal syndicate. It eats up billions of Naira of our economy through bogus salaries, allowances, and corruption binge. Then we wonder why the country is in deep recession. It is an instrument of conspiracy known for its fetish secrecy against our people.
The legislators are intelligently disabled. They are callous, indifferent, unresponsive to the sufferings of our people. The best things they have given us are disaster, sadness, and poverty.
NASS is a bad investment which does not yield any dividend for our representative democracy, and a perpetual drain on our economy. The collective statistics of corruption of the two Houses of Corruption – Senate and House of Reps – read like a numerical translation of one thousand demons in D.O. Fagunwa's Yoruba novel Igbo Irunmale, translated into English by Wole Soyinka as The Forest of A Thousand Demons.
The chilling lethality account of wasted resources by the two houses are more than enough to cripple the economy of a country. NASS must be sold. Selling NASS will be a revolutionary idea. All revolutions involve upheaval, and this one will build rather than destroy.
Buyers, especially foreign investors, are encouraged to come forward and bid for the Dogora and Mesujamba Houses of Fools. The sale will go to the lowest bidder.
- Bayo Oluwasanmi