Ifeoma Patty Ugwu, Opinion Writer
Have you been burdened or exasperated by reading WhatsApp messages or videos that show fellow Nigerians selling their votes for a few thousand naira, or those chasing after garbage trucks for scraps? You probably have also read the post by Victor Okechukwu Anyegbuna (VOA) describing current state laws that have generous compensation packages for governors, ex-governors, their deputies as well as senators, ministers and other elected officers. Where former governors serving as senators receive up to 100% Governor’s salaries as pension while receiving full compensation for their new position.
According to VOA’s post a Nigerian Senator’s one day pay is more than
- a year’s income for a medical doctor;
- a year’s salary for 42 Army Generals;
- a year’s salary for 48 Professors;
- a year’s salary for 70 Commissioners of Police
- twice the pay of the US President
- nine times the salary of US congressperson.
The injustice of it all could make one want to throw up hands and say forget it, its never going to change. Or believe the message that says that Nigeria is full of those who have good ideas but no power and those who have power, but no good ideas. We must reject such thoughts.
For the love of Nigeria, people with power/money could hire people with good ideas and skills to convert the ideas into actionable policies to improve the lots of all Nigerians. Nigerians can do this!
The time has come for all those who love Nigeria, those who see her promise to stand up and do something.
How? For starters any Nigerian government official currently collecting a full salary in any office cannot simultaneously collect a pension.
- Current governors must commit to paying civil servants, teachers and all state workers their full pay on a monthly basis.
- All workers in turn must work their full day with something to show for it.
- Teachers must commit to teach in a way that helps students learn.
- Students must invest time on task to study and learn.
- Legislatures must work together to introduce bills to address the glaring inequities in compensation and tax laws.
- The President must ensure that there is reliable electricity, clean water, and safe roads for all.
- The President in collaboration with each governor must commit to building first class and specialty hospitals to meet the needs of Nigerians.
What about those not in public offices?
- Individuals should commit to becoming “game changers” who take responsibility to improve their neighborhoods for everyone.
- Business owners should commit to pay fair wages timely.
- Individuals should refuse to be bought or scared into perpetuating injustice.
Whatever you do, do it for the greater good, for in the end, each of us will account for what we did or failed to do, to better mankind, specifically those in our motherland, Nigeria.