Have you ever realized that Nigerians generally have no real grasp of how much money our “leaders” are embezzling and laundering?
Have you ever thought of how much six hundred & twenty eight million naira, five hundred million naira, two billion naira and other similar massive amounts of money that politicians are frequently accused and proven to steal is worth?
Kindly follow my train of thought and bring out a calculator to punch the figures yourselves so that you’ll understand my point fully.
According to several widely known and reliable sources, the average Nigerian lives on less than a dollar per day. This means that the average Nigerian makes or survives on about 30 dollars(less than 5000 naira) every month. That means the average Nigerian earns 60 thousand naira per annum. It would take such a person more than 1,500 years to gross 100,000,000.00 naira.
For the sake of better clarity and understanding, permit me to adjust that value a bit. If you are reading this, chances are high you are one of the fortunate middle class Nigerians who have access to the internet and own a personal computer or at least have access to one.
That means the idea of earning less than 5000 naira monthly is quite unthinkable to you. In fact if you are a working class person, I daresay that you have probably spent 5000 naira yesterday or the last two days combined. As such, you probably earn anywhere within 70, 000 naira to 150,000 naira or more.
It doesn’t matter if you do not agree with those figures; I have just chosen them as dummy values to prove my point, just read on and you can tweak the values as much as you wish when you finish reading.
Now, picking a random value, let us say, 100,000 naira for ease of calculation. As someone born, bred and still living in Nigeria, I know, that anyone who earns 100,000 naira is doing fairly well for himself; after all, the minimum wage the federal government pays is 18,000 naira!
100,000 naira multiplied by 12 months in a year is 1.2 million naira. Dear reader, do you realize that it will take someone earning 100,000 naira monthly almost 90 years to gross (without deductions) 1 hundred million naira. Do you “overstand” what I’m saying yet? Okay, let try a higher figure just for the sake of better comprehension- a 500,000 naira salary.
A 5 hundred thousand naira salary is “as good as it gets” in Nigeria, yet even an individual earning so much earns just 6 million naira per annum. This means it will take such an individual about 17 years of toiling and hard work to gross 1 hundred million naira.
Let’s even get wild about it, say someone who earns 1 million naira monthly (Let’s be honest with ourselves, how many people earn so much? How many people do you personally know who earn so much?). That person will earn 12 million naira yearly and gross 1 hundred million naira after 9 long years.
I hope we haven’t forgotten that those figures are gross figures i.e. no deductions were made. This is apparently an impossible situation as every human being has to satisfy his/her basic and not-so-basic human needs and responsibilities of feeding, housing, clothing, transportation, providing quality education to his/her children, taking care of extended family members, giving to charity and religious institutions, entertainment and the plethora of activities that we engage in as humans.
An objective calculation will show that it is quite frankly, almost impossible to save more than 20% of annual income, especially for low income earners whose salary cannot even meet up with their expenses.
My point in summary is this, our leaders are “swallowing”, both through legal and illegal means amounts of money that will take the average and even well to do Nigerian 3 or 4 lifetimes to net.
I took a look at the proposed budget for 2013 and of course as typical with our “budgets”. Even the most meager things hit the hundred million naira mark. For example, the President wants to spend over 200 million naira on refreshments and meals while his Vice wants over 100 million naira- just for one year!
I’m also sure that we remember that the expenditure to maintain the garden in Aso rock was about 200 million naira.
These are amounts of money we have shown that it would take multiple lifetimes for the everyday Nigerian to gross, yet these amounts are been “swallowed” daily in the corners of power within minutes.
I hope that by recognizing this facts, we would understand why our leaders are so insulated from the suffering of the general populace (They are too comfortable, way too comfortable) and appreciate better how much we are been ripped off when next we hear a politician has “swallowed’ any amount running into hundreds of millions of naira.
Politicians gross hundreds of millions in one day, it will take you & me several lifetimes to do the same.
“One day, bush meat go catch the hunter……”