Nigeria is without a doubt a land where criminal absurdities and obscenities have taken the form of normalcy, with various irascible developments that would easily instigate a public revolt in more developed countries, being thrown in our faces by the media virtually on a daily basis. Our petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke has recently been under the public spotlight for her indulgent and inanely extravagant lifestyle in a country where the majority are rabidly scouring for where to find their next meal.
It was reported that about N10 billion has been expended by this ostentatious minister on the hiring of private jets to enable her junket around the world at the expense of Nigerian tax payers in the last two years alone. Why on earth does she need a private aircraft to travel within and outside Nigeria in the name of discharging her duties? This is the question we’re hoping the House of Reps scheduled inquisition into the matter will help Nigerians to answer.It is only wholesale insensitivity to the plight of the poverty-ridden majority in Nigeria that could see a government official expending 750,000(Euros) on a three day trip between Abuja and London.
What height of callousness on full display? What business issue could have been so urgent to warrant such flagrant wastefulness? What happened to a business class seat, better or worse still a first class seat on a commercial liner? Or maybe that is too undignified for an almighty petroleum minister, more so a beautiful goddess as Diezani, who prior to being appointed minister in 2007 was an Executive Director with oil giants, Shell Petroleum, the first woman to rise to such a height in Shell Nigeria. Let’s not also forget that she is married to a one time Chief of Naval Staff and two time military governor, Admiral Alison Madueke, who is not new to the corridors of power in Nigeria.
It is little wonder that no matter the weight or grievousness of any allegation levelled against her, she has always emerged from the storm unscathed and unruffled, continuing to strut her stuff with majestic charm.But the question is if she had been used to such opulence before coming to office, why doesn’t she use her personal funds to maintain her jet setting propensity? Even British PM David Cameron recently went on holiday to Spain with his family, flying cheaply on budget airline, Ryanair. Many a Nigerian public office holder would most likely consider such a move as unbefitting of their high office. But if that were the case, then why don’t they just utilize their personal funds for such ungodly expenditure.
The saddest part of such developments as this is that sooner rather than later, the matter gets swept completely under the carpet, and nothing is ever heard of it again forever. It is this laxity in our system that encourages these people to act with incredulous impunity, because they know that nobody will ever hold them to account. The question then is when will our public office holders ever be accountable to us as citizens and stakeholders in the Nigerian state? How can we ensure that those who get there are the true representation of our wishes and aspirations? The answer lies in our active participation in the electioneering process, with a gradual overhaul of the entire political system unfolding with time.