Monday, March 18, 2013

Akpabio’s misplaced priority

Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio
The public promise by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State to present two Toyota Prado SUVs and sponsor 20 delegates to Dubai for the wedding of musician Tuface Idibia is not only a misplaced priority but also shows the depth of shallowlessness in the thinking of those in charge of political leadership in Nigeria. The reason for the largesse, according to the governor, is that his state was lucky to have produced a bride to Tuface.
Seeing a state governor abandoning his duties to attend such a function is by itself an act of irresponsibility. Committing state funds to such an event is another disservice to the people of Akwa Ibom State.
Sadly, the governor acknowledged at the ceremony that he was not aware that the road leading to the bride’s village was in a bad shape and that it would be fixed by the time Tuface and his wife would be bringing the “fruit” of their wedlock for dedication  in less than a year. As customary with Nigerian politicians, Akpabio would have fixed the road for the wedding event if he had known its deplorable state to advertise to the media and the VIPs coming for the event that his government is working.
With the way poverty walks tall in Akwa Ibom State, and almost every state of the nation, how does the governor feel that donating two SUVs at the cost of about $100,000 each and sending 29 delegates to Dubai for the wedding of Tuface will address the needs of his people? The people in positions of authority need to think. There are many young and talented citizens of Akwa Ibom who need a fraction of this money to succeed in life but they can never have access to the governor because of the walls surrounding him.
Just recently, an American socialite, Kim Khadashian, spent 45 minutes in Nigeria and earned $500,000 for talking for 45 seconds. Our President when he was the Bayelsa State governor was also reported to have released $1m from the poverty alleviation fund to pay Beyonce for attending a private show in Nigeria to sing national anthem in 2006. His wife was also recently reported to have raised half a billion naira for the thanksgiving celebration for the healing of an illness she once publicly denied.  Why are we like this?
Nigeria cannot progress if we continue to administer public funds like this. Our leaders should wake up and see how public funds are spent in saner climes. A former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich,  was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment because he attempted to “sell” the senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama in 2008. Rev. Jesse Jackson’s son is currently being prosecuted for spending his campaign funds on personal items as a member of the House. President Obama personally picked the bills for going to a dinner with the Republican senators recently. Why can’t our leaders learn lessons from these people? Of all the challenges the US president is facing with the Congress, no one has successfully accused him of stealing a dime. Who among Nigerian politicians can ever come this clean under a similar pressure?
Akpabio in the interest of common sense should either use his personal money to fund this profligacy or cancel it entirely. The fund earmarked for the Tuface wedding can be used to address a fraction of the many problems facing the people of Akwa Ibom more so that the recipient of the gesture is a wealthy young man who can as well donate to the community from where his beloved bride hails from. It is also time the people called their leaders to question. No one should be surprised if the common people who were fighting over food at the event clapped when Akpabio made this bizarre announcement. It shows the abysmal level that our leaders have cowed our reasoning. No nation ever survives with this brand of leadership and self-defeat admittance by the populace.

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