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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

#BlogFeature: Financial Crunch (1)

Hello everyone, let me introduce a new writer on my #BlogFeature posts to you guys. His name is Olajide Beke and he is a Political Analyst based in Lagos. This is his second post here and here was his first. His articles and views are his own opinion and they are always very interesting and enlightening.

Enjoy. :)


There are indications that many state Governors have begun to embark on changes to their flamboyant lifestyle to prune the cost of economic realities in the country.

These issue started late last year when the price of crude oil fell from $126 per barrel to $46 which caused a lot of financial crisis. And clearly, our government have been very unproductive and lacking the creativity to internally generate revenue, but rather all of them depended solely on oil revenue to finance all their expenses which has really drawn us back and caused us to be underdeveloped. I could remember in the late '60s and early '70s before crude oil was discovered, agriculture was the order of the day and all the tiers of government were doing absolutely fine which provided qualitative education and good infrastructure.

The governors, under the aegis of Nigeria governors' forum recently rode from a meeting to say they could no longer pay the N18,000 the minimum wage. They claimed the minimum wage was imposed on them when the oil sold for $126 as against the present price of $41 per barrel. Since the oil prices has caused several problems to the economy and made it difficult for all the state governments to carried out their duties, findings has shown that they had all cut down their flamboyant lifestyle to a modest way of life.

Below are some of the state we made inquiries about their kind of lifestyle in this economic distress time:

Findings in Osogbo, Osun state capital show that governor Rauf Aregbesola has cut down the number of vehicles in his convoy to eight from about fifteen which was the case before the cash crunch. The governor's convoy includes his sport utility vehicle, a backup SUV, escort vans, press crew bus and vehicles for other political appointees. With an average fuel capacity of 70 litres, at N87 per litre, it will now cost about N48,720 to fuel the eight vehicles in his convoy which was cut down from average of N91,350 that it previously cost to fuel his 15 vehicles convoy. A source close to the state government said that Aregbesola had also cut down on his foreign trips since the dwindling allocation from the federation account plunged the state into financial crisis since they lack initiatives to generate funds internally. It was also learnt that the helicopter owned by the state had been leased out, adding that it had yielded revenue to the state. The source said Aregbesola usually stays at the Osun house in Abuja when he has to sleep there overnight. When he in Lagos, he sleeps at his private house or in the residence of his party's national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In Akwa Ibom state, Mr Udom Emmanuel has pruned his convoy to around seven vehicles from 10 following the reduction in federal allocation to the state. It was not clear the kind of hotels Emmanuel stays in when he travels out of his state on state functions, and the cost of fueling vehicles in governor's convoy could not be ascertained as they are supplied by a fuel station located in the state house which fuel all the government vehicles. Findings show that Emmanuel's predecessor Senator Godswill Akpabio used to move with as many as 100 or sometimes 150 vehicles in his convoy as the state governor. It was learnt that those who accompanied the former governor were entitled to monetary rewards.

In Oyo state, governor Ajimobi is yet to constitute a cabinet for his second term in office because of the dwindling economic fortune of the state, while his public appearance has been reduced to important functions. He also reduced the ministries from 23 to 13 by merging some of them. The state is struggling with the payment of workers salaries and execution of capital projects, using public- private partnership. A reliable source from Ibadan, the state capital observed that Ajimobi's convoy has about six vehicles or less due to financial crisis and he has been staying at the Oyo state houses in Abuja and Lagos during his visits there.

In Kwara state, the governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Amhed rides in about a six-vehicles convoy. It was observed that four of the vehicles are for government functionaries and security operatives, one for for the press crew and an ambulance. A source close to the governor said Ahmed stays in hotels that offers security and comfort at a moderate cost when he is on trip out of Kwara state. We could not could not get the exalt amount he spends on fuel and vehicles maintenance. Like Abdulfatah predecessor, senator Saraki also moved in a much larger convoy of vehicles at time when the economy was healthier.

Findings show that governor Ifeabyi Okowa of Delta state, since his assumption of office in May 29, 2015 has maintained a lean convoy compared to his predecessor. A source close to the governor said he has been starving his aides of funds and pairing them in hotel rooms during trips out of delta state unlike before when each government official used to have a room to themselves. One of his aides who often travels with the governor said he only pays for our hotel accommodation and feeding; ''He does not give us anything extra. He is really stingy''.

To be continued.......

Article by: Olajide Beke

Twitter: @jidbek1

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