Four years ago, one of the lawmakers, Hon. Baba Ibaku, was asked to react to allegations that legislators collect N10 million every quarter for constituency allowance and there is not much to show for it. He said, “Who told you that they assigned N10 million to us? I am not a first timer. I was in the assembly in the last legislative tenure. So, my people should be the ones that will ask me what I am doing with the money. By the way, what is N10 million? Go to my people and ask them about what I am telling you, I may be lying. If possible, let them show you what I have been doing with money. Do you know what this constituency allowance is meant for? Constituency allowance is meant for anything that you may not even know. Go and get a definition of constituency allowance then I will tell you what I have been doing with my people for the past six years and they are still happy with me. What is this money for? If your wife is sick and I carry her to the hospital, how do I quantify that? If I take people to hajj, how do I quantify that? For the past six years, how many people have I sponsored to Jerusalem? Will I use my father’s money to do that? If maybe I decide to buy a vehicle for somebody, is it bad. What is N10 million? If I want to spend money for my people, I can spend nothing less than N100, 000 in a day. N100, 000 in three days is N3 million. N3 million in three months is N9 million. So, what are you saying?”
About three (3) months ago, the senator representing Kaduna Central Shehu Sani revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as ‘running cost’. He explained there is no specification on what the fund is meant for.
I have a senator who ‘represents’ my constituency at the National Assembly, his house is 200m from mine, and I have never seen this ‘running cost’ spent on anything, and this is a man who has been there for over 8years! And this isn’t peculiar to this particular senator.
Little wonder why they’d rather kill themselves than lose an election, they spend money they do not have to run elections (rig elections), the events in Ekiti State few days ago readily come to mind. The manipulations, lies and deceit from both parties’ screams ‘desperation’. People were selling their votes for 4,000 naira. Is this how cheap, desperate and senseless we have become? 4000 naira in exchange for four (4) years? It is just alarming. Some argue it’s a product of illiteracy, that’s bullshit! You do not get COMMON SENSE from going to school, it is what we all are born with. And don’t even hit me with poverty line, how long does it take to spend 4,000? Nigeria has a serious leadership problem, but have we ‘the led’ all gone stupid? are we truly ready for change? Have we lost our senses? Do we not have dignity anymore? Have we all gone insane? What is wrong with everyone?
You win (successfully rig) an election, everyone in Nigeria including your relatives expect you to steal money, we now compare who stole more than who, “just don’t steal too much”.
Irrespective of what anyone may think, this guy Dino Melaye has no known track record of active participation in business to afford a Ferrari. Prior to 2015, Dino was never this jolly, his demeanor screams “new money”. Some roads in Dino’s constituency can be fixed for much less than the price of Ferrari.
The National Assembly we have had over the years has little to do with policy making and more to do with wealth acquisition. They are only required to present ‘receipts’ of how these allowances were spent, they are not accountable to anyone, no one checks their activities. And when it’s close to an election year, they go about distributing cups of rice (these new ones do not even distribute the full bag anymore, “dollar don make everything cost for market”), and the people vote them in once again.
Why do Nigerian Lawmakers spend constituency allowance the way they want?
Because they can.