Thursday 20 September 2007

Pugilistic debates in the Nigerian Congress

Filthy house of dirty ambitions

Speechless did not begin to explain my emotion when I heard of the cost of renovation on the Speaker of the House of Representatives’ official residence in Abuja, Nigeria.

At about $5 million one would have thought she was breaking new ground for a residential complex rather than making the residence more to her liking after the erstwhile occupants vacated the premises.

Really, one does wonder what exactly needs to be done to the residence that with the ensuing uproar and calmour three major contractors have pulled out of the renovation exercise.

OANDA quotes the exchange rates at 1 US Dollar = 126.826 Nigerian Naira or 1 Nigerian Naira (NGN) = 0.007885 US Dollar (USD), so the oft touted figure of NGN 529 million is really closer to $4 million; but I did not notice Gordon Brown of the UK having craved residing at 10 Downing Street for a decade write out a gravy train contract to cart all the chattels from the Buckingham Palace into the Prime Minister’s residence, just because he could.

Megalomania par excellence

Nigeria however offers an interesting view of the corruption of just acquired power and the megalomaniacal delusions of grandeur that consume the sensibilities of the few who forget their mandate of service for the wanton plunder of the nation’s resources for self aggrandisement.

All the three previous renovations to the residences of the Speaker and the Deputy since 1999 add up to NGN 21.7 million with the latest work being done in 2005, what could have been done to the houses to exact 24 times the total cost of all the previous renovation work leaves one quite bemused, but I am not aware of a blitzkrieg over Abuja in the recent past.

All sorts of things are awry with this project as the owners of the property the Federal Capital Development Authority which should have been involved in the renovations has never been consulted for these activities and even the contractors are not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Madam Speaker is the 4th in line of succession of Africa’s most populous democracy needs to exude her status and the rigours of office have required the installation of a NGN 98 million body massager, though it is not clear if this was for her or some other representative.

Thieves are not honourable at all

The mind boggles as the hoodlums who stole the elections in April 2007 have found time to install a 9-person panel to investigate how the Speaker is living up the life of Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba combined and leaving them out in the cold to make bricks of straw for their huts.

Having no mandate, it is no surprise that the people who have no respect for democracy, no mandate from the people of Nigeria but having grabbed power by blatant daylight robbery now settled to debate on this matter as Barbarians and Philistines would do, they rained blows on each other on the floor of the House as the Speaker got hurried out of the House.

The House then went into closed session where murder might just be routine as thieves cannot be expected to have honour amongst themselves – at no time has the real desire for democracy where the elected are aware of their responsibilities to the electorate been so pertinent as in Nigeria today.

This is a shame, we have more problems in Nigeria than to have reported in the international news that dishonourable and disgraceful idiots who now represent Nigerians are intelligently attending to the matters of the nation by using their fists – even boxers have rules of engagement.


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