Cost of governance excessively high, Makarfi insists
As Christians in the country celebrated Easter yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Nigeria was on the path to what he described as resurrection and progress.Osinbajo gave the assurance during a brief interview with State House correspondents after attending the Easter service at the Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja.
He stated that the resurrection of Jesus Christ implied that the country was moving away from the myriad of challenges besetting it to an elevated experience of hope, peace and abundance for the citizens.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is also a strong and powerful message to the nation. The message is that our nation is on the path of resurrection. It is on the path of progress, on the path of elevation.‘’We are moving out of all our challenges and we are going to a place of greater hope, peace, prosperity and abundance for all of us,” he said.
The Chaplain of the Aso Rock Chapel, Pastor Seyi Malomo, who delivered a sermon on “The Temporary Hour of Darkness,” stated that Nigeria was on the path to rise again.He submitted that the resurrection of Jesus Christ signified that darkness could only reign for a while.
‘’According to the message today, darkness only reigns for a while. No matter the evil, no matter the problem we are facing, just as Jesus only laid in the grave for three days, all these will be over.
‘’As Jesus rose from the dead, we are going to rise again, even all of you listening to me,” Malomo said.The chaplain enjoined all Nigerians to emulate the life of Jesus Christ who, he said, sacrificed his life for the salvation of mankind. ‘’We are all called to play our role in giving that sacrifice that will bring the liberation and greatness of our nation,” he said.
But the former chairman of the defunct caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, said before the nation could be on the path to resurrection and progress, the Federal Government should immediately prune down what he described as excessive cost of running government.According to him, it will be difficult for the country to survive economically in the long run if it should maintain the current cost of running the presidency, National Assembly, judiciary and other agencies of government while the welfare of Nigerians continues to nosedive.
Makarfi, who is a former governor of Kaduna State, explained that the recent controversy generated by the revelation of the cost of maintaining a senator in the National Assembly represented the tip of the iceberg with regard to how much the country spends to maintain the presidency, governors, judiciary and other parastatals of government.
“What it costs to maintain the executive, when you compare it to that of the legislature, you will discover that the maintenance of the legislators costs a meager sum. And that tells you that the cost of running government in Nigeria is exorbitant, unreasonably high. Whether you call it executive, legislature or judiciary in running government, it is excessively high.”
Makarfi, who spoke in an interview in Kaduna, said Nigerians should not look at only one arm of government but the entire cost of running government under the nation’s democracy. “The N13 million plus that was reported per head in running the Senate should be put in context. If you come to the governors, we want to know per person. There is only one governor, we need to know what it costs him to work because, in some states, you have to look at all the security votes, all the miscellaneous votes. They are under his sole control.
“We also have to look at the budget of the government house, the office of the secretary to the state government. In some states, you may find that this budget can be as high as N100 billion. In other states you can find 20 billion or 30 billion.”
On the solution to the high cost of governance, Makarfi said: “First, this is not an issue to politicise. Whether you are PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other party, if you are in government, you are contributing to that high cost. We should close the doors of the arms of government and agencies against this high cost.
“The voters themselves have a role to play. Voters should desist from making unnecessary demands from candidates or serving public officers. People should know the kind of demands to make on the politicians. When people go to politicians to sponsor them for pilgrimage in Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia and to buy them cars and so on, where do they expect the money to come from?
“Chieftaincy tittles and others are also at a cost. Religious and traditional rulers should know the kind of demand they place on public officers.”