V-P’s lodge and PDP profligacy

Namadi Sambo as a PDP prince is an accomplished Nigerian who made his fortune first, as a successful architect, and later, as a contractor to northern state governors. Before he was forced into politics by his people, he could afford any luxury money could buy: houses, exotic cars and private aircrafts , long before ownership of private jets became a fad among PDP serving governors, their contractors and our soul winning prosperity prophets that fervently support them with prayers. But Namadi remained a very humble man. Even as an accomplished man prevailed upon by his Kaduna State people to serve as governor on the platform of PDP, he remained himself – a self effacing humble man.

Namadi has not changed much long after President Goodluck Jonathan, who has a weakness for those who swim in money picked him as his vice president following Yar’ Adua’s death. His executive functions as spelt out in the constitution includes ‘participation in all cabinet meetings and, by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the chairman of National Economic Council.’ Beyond this, the VP only enjoys delegated powers like deputy governors, commissioners and ministers/special advisers to the President. In fact he recites the same oath of office like them.

Sadly, Namadi has been under severe strain since accepting to trade his peace, freedom and limitless powers of a state governor to serve under President Jonathan. First, his family house in Tundun-Wada area of Zaria came under the attack of gunmen following the post election violence that greeted Jonathan’s celebrated landslide victory. In recent times, the house still undergoing renovation has come under attack once again by the rampaging Boko Haram insurgents who injured a police man and killed a poor shoemaker who had the misfortune of trying to earn a living by practicing his trade not far from the VP’s house.

Besides these attacks from hoodlums and Boko Haram insurgents, Namadi has come under severe attack of Nigerians. He has been blamed for the ongoing N7 billion VP mansion initiated in 2009 long before he was dragged from his comfort zone as a governor to become vice president. He has similarly been widely criticized for the additional N9b PDP contractors claimed is needed for a mansion reported to be nearing completion.

Namadi has also been called upon to carry the can for the N8.4 b PDP fortune seekers budgeted for his office in the 2012 budget. Out of this N1.7 billion (approximately $10.3m) was to be spent on trips, N1.3b (approximately $9.7m) on office stationeries, N2b on repair/maintenance of office/residential buildings. Others were, N382 million for vehicles; N53 million for office furniture; N1.7 billion for office building and residential quarters.

All the above budgetary provisions were supposed to be statement of intensions but since Doyin Okupe not too long ago told us that for PDP, such provisions amount to licence to spend, we can safely assume all the above provisions have been fully implemented. After all, PDP is only accountable to PDP.

If I were to advise the VP in view of the on-going Namadi bashing, for funds others claimed to have spent on his behalf, I would have counseled the VP’s resignation to spite PDP and save his own integrity. After all, PDP has demonstrated these past 13 years that it can run the presidency without a vice president.

It started with President Obasanjo. Following blame game over corruption by the president and his deputy, (PDP family quarrels are usually over the sharing of our resources among its members), Obasanjo did not only chase Atiku Abubakar out of office, but also out of his official residence which he transferred to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) under the guise of abiding with Abuja master plan. Atiku ended his term hiding in one of his private houses in Abuja.

Those who attributed the good fortune of the nation to the fact that Obasanjo did not come to grief during his term, didn’t need to wait for long. Yar’ Adua sadly soon came to grief. PDP proved once again that the post of a vice president was superfluous. A bereaved nation soon discovered that, Yar’ Adua’s wife, his son in-laws, Ibori and other wayfarers that constituted his kitchen cabinet took over the running of affairs of the nation. The ailing president was flown abroad without the knowledge of Vice President Jonathan. The nation’s budget was forged. Contracts were awarded. While the president was away in Saudi Arabia hospital, the vice president had no idea of how resources of the nation were being deployed.

But for the intervention of civil society groups led by Pastor Tunde Bakare, who with his caustic tongue, forced the law makers to come up with what was called the ‘doctrine of necessity’ Vice President Jonathan was effectively sidelined in spite of the constitutional provisions.

By resigning honorably, to spite PDP, Sambo will not only stop his name from being used to perpetuate further evil, such a patriotic act will also save the nation about N35b being the sum total of the amount PDP wants to spend on the mansion and two years budget allocations to the VP’s office. This interest free money will help the process of development

Unlike in the US where president Obama needed to borrow $100m towards training mathematics and science teacher over the next 10 years to prepare American youths for competition against Chinese youths, Jonathan can deploy N35b for revolutionizing the educational sector by producing well equipped teachers and Ph.D holders that will mould our youths for the challenges of the future.

From the FCT’s proposed N50b 2013 budget, President Jonathan can add the amount earmarked “for the designing and construction of the residences of the President of the Senate, David Mark; his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal; and his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha”. It is public knowledge that these top public officers already have personal mansions in Abuja. And since this is a legitimate endeavour under our constitution, they should be encouraged to use their personal houses or lose the rent to the state as it is the case in Britain.

In any case neither President Jonathan nor the minister for Federal Capital Territory has told Nigerians what became of the mansions built for the senate president and the speaker by the Obasanjo administration. If as in its character, PDP has sold the mansions to its members, shouldn’t the proceeds be deployed towards building the proposed new mansions instead putting fresh burden on taxpayers?

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