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Nasir El-Rufai on Friday Introducing Young Voices – Mr. Ogunyemi Bukola @zebbook

Nasir El-Rufai on Friday Introducing Young Voices – Mr. Ogunyemi Bukola

Ogunyemi Bukola (@zeebbook on Twitter) is one of those brilliant, detribalised and passionate Nigerian youths that wish for nothing other than a level playing field in a country that works. He is a 25 year old graduate of Biochemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. He has passion for teaching and fondly calls himself ‘a social evangelist’. He is the Editor of omojuwa.com, one of Nigeria’s foremost blogs and a leading voice in the clamour for positive change in Nigeria. Bukola started his literary enterprise as a poet, but has since veered into other genres of literature, putting his abundant talent to use in raising the social consciousness of his generation. He rose into literary stardom on Nigeria’s blogosphere earlier in 2012 when he won the rave-making, tightly contested and widely acclaimed SuperBloggers competition in its second season with an excellent poem, having come second in the first season of the same competition with an equally brilliant piece of poetry.

Bukola is especially adept at writing satires, and one of such written in light of the Farouk-Otedola bribery scandal (The Lootitudes) remains one of the most widely read blogposts of 2012. His works have featured in blogs and newspapers beyond the shores of Nigeria, and to accentuate his emergent international status as a writer he recently became a columnist on the Voice of Liberty Africa (VOLA) Project on AfricanLiberty.org.

I first met his work on Twitter (The Lootitudes), a satire which uses biblical language to throw darts at our dishonest leaders in the wake of the revelations around fuel subsidy in May 2012 and remain hooked. It is my singular honour and privilege to introduce another young person Mr. Ogunyemi Bukola, following in the footsteps of Yemi Adamolekun, Auwal S. Anwar, Elnathan John, Japheth Omojuwa, and Zainab Usman – all youths that give me hope that a future Nigeria will be better than Jonathan’s present dysfunctional excuse. He writes about a Nigerian without oil, something that my sister Oby Ezekwesili recently prayed for.
– Nasir El-Rufai

A Nigeria without Us; A Nigeria without Oil – by Ogunyemi Bukola

A ball of fire in the sky, the sun was on its way home and so was I. While my body sat through the two hour trip, my mind traveled 45 years in time. On a distinctively dispiriting morning a few weeks after my 70th birthday, I sat switching from one news channel to the other, different voices echoing the same news; Nigeria’s oil reserve is exhausted. The goose laying the golden egg is dead. It’s been a long time coming, oil prices crashed two decades earlier, together with demand for Nigeria’s oil at the international market in the face of increasing supplies from other countries.

A rude awakening for the one-time giant of Africa; an economy almost entirely built on oil wealth came crashing. The queue for visas at the Ghanaian Embassy reminds one of what used to be the norm at the American embassy half a century ago. Roads, schools, hospitals and industries in total disrepair or comatose, Nigeria has nothing to show for the tens of trillions of dollars earned from oil exploration spanning over a century. And now the cookie jar is empty!

The twig snaps not except a cause there be; I had earlier in the day read a damning World Bank report which estimates the depletion of Nigeria’s oil reserve in 41 years! What the report did not say is that the emergence of alternative sources of energy and production in newly oil-rich countries such as Ghana and Uganda are likely to crash oil price and create less demand for Nigeria’s oil over the next couple of decades. Throw in the contributions of Nigeria’s $60 million a day oil theft industry, and you have on the canvass a disturbing picture of the future of Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy.

The handwriting is on the wall, in bold letters for all to see, except of course those benefitting from the rot prevalent in the nation’s polity whose conscience have been blinded by greed. One would have thought the alarm bells ringing would wake Nigeria’s sleeping ruling class to the reality of the impending doom, and instruct the President and his economic team to fashion the 2013 budget along the lines of prudency.
What do we get instead?

A cursory look at the 2013 budget proposal presented by President Goodluck Jonathan to the National Assembly reveals atrocious allocations of insanely humongous amounts of money for unjustifiable ventures and desperately unintelligent methods of padding up the overhead costs of ministries and agencies of government. The N2.6 billion budgeted for the President’s trips in 2013 makes a mockery of the promise made by the same government in January 2012 to cut down government expenses including foreign trips. Indeed the Jonathan administration is unenviably successful at making a comedy of itself in ways that would make you worry for Nigeria’s professional stand-up comedians whose means of livelihood are being put on the line.

The N23.6 billion voted for the ‘stipends and allowances’ of 30,000 Niger Delta ex-militants in the 2013 budget proposal translates, averagely, into about N65, 000 per month per ex-militant while the national minimum wage is a meagre N18, 000. The total recurrent expenditure projected for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (N46.6 billion) is almost equal to the Capital Allocation for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (N48.7 billion), and more than the budgets of Mines and Steel Development (N13.5 billion) and Science and Technology put together (N31.8 billion). This coming from a government that vowed to put a man in space by 2015 is laughable.

Indeed the Total Recurrent Expenditure of the Office of the Presidency and that of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation put together, about N69.6 billion, is more than the Capital Allocation for Education (N60.1 billion) and Health (N55.8 billion) and just about equals that of Power (N70 billion). Little wonder then that our schools have become production centres for certified illiterates and members of the ruling class take trips abroad every now and then for medical attention.

Nigeria’s National Assembly is recklessly expensive. It has moved from being an arm of government to being a glutonous mouth, wide-open, hungry and insatiable, eating up all resources on its way. The geometric increase in overheads of the National Assembly from the N23.3 billion figure of 2003 to N104.8 billion in 2008 and N150 billion in 2013 spells doom for the continuity of the entity called Nigeria.

The total annual emolument of a senator as recommended by Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) stands at N12.766 million, per annum which translates to about N1.063 million per month, with slightly less figures for House of Representative members. At this rate, the total annual emolument of all 469 members of the National Assembly amounts to N5.6 billion. The 2013 budget however makes a provision of N150 billion for the National Assembly, with members to earn in a month more than they are entitled to in a year based on the RMAFC recommendation referred to above. And what do Nigerians get in return? A slow process of lawmaking, shallow debates, irrelevant bills, extraneous resolutions and shameful bribery scandals.

An audit conducted by NEITI on Nigeria’s petroleum industry from 1999 – 2008 indicated that the Federal Government earned a total sum of over N40 trillion in revenue. So why do over 100 million Nigerians still wallow in poverty and misery and basic infrastructure lies undeveloped and some in abject disrepair? Neck-deep in huge, unsustainable debts, foreign and domestic, Nigeria shall soon cease to be the marriage between the poor husband from the North and the rich wife from the South many are prone to call it. All six of Nigeria’s impoverished geopolitical zones are married to a prodigal polygamous drunk who calls himself government, feeds on the labour of his wives and lives a lavish life he can’t afford, piling up debt for generations unborn!

Total debt of about N7 trillion, and 9,294 uncompleted Federal Government projects requiring about the same amount for completion suggests that Nigeria cannot afford to continue to satisfy the desires of kleptomaniacs in power. Each of Nigeria’s geopolitical zones must wake up from this oil-windfall induced, dangerous dependence on federal allocation which has killed creativity in revenue generation and develop their human resources and non-oil sectors in preparation for what lies ahead. It is time for states to stop spending recklessly on frivolities and focus on projects that have direct meaningful impacts on the people.

Nigerians should get angry in a way that would make the fuel subsidy protests of January 2012 look like child’s play. Nigerians must begin to say NO to this wanton wastefulness with strong will and loud voice if indeed we care about the future of our fatherland. Years of military dictatorship have instilled in us a sinful and contemptuous docility inimical to the progress of our nation. But we have been in that state of spineless slumber, tremulous silence and cowardly sobriety for too long. Now is the time for Nigerians to arise and reclaim this nation from men whose luck feasts on corruption.

As our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable, so are our responsibilities to see to the proper functioning of governments instituted among us, for the sake of the security of these rights, inextricable. We must understand that the right to alter or abolish any form government that becomes destructive of these ends is not given but claimed, by any means necessary, for the benefactors of a state of dismal depravity and dreary degeneracy would rather have the status quo maintained.

Governments at all levels should take the fight against corruption serious and take drastic, painful steps to reduce overhead costs and make more funds available for the execution of essential capital projects. We should borrow a leaf from Malawi’s Joyce Banda’s salary cut and proposed sale of presidential jet and Senegal’s decision to scrap its Senate and the post of vice President all in a bid to save costs.

Government should fix the perennial problem of power, mechanize agriculture and diversify the nation’s economy and promote non-oil export trade. Industrialization should beget entrepreneurship, and an efficient tax system maintained. Take a cue from East Asia by investing in our human capital without which no meaningful development can arise.

This is hoping for a peaceful and united Nigeria without us, and a prosperous Nigeria without oil, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall someday find its way to our shores.

Ogunyemi Bukola.

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22 comments

  1. I truly fear the day might come sooner rather than later when “the goose that lays the golden eggs be no more.”

    Nevertheless, I love the message of this article. A call to action by all involved and concerned, a charge to all to say NO to the gradual disintegration of our dear country.

    The writer does more than just write about gloom and impending doom, he gives reasonable sauggestions on how to start the process of change, drawing comparisms with other countries in Africa.

    This article is elucidatory and informative, the figures and facts arm one with the necessary arsenal to enlighten others in the mess we find ourselves in.

    Welldone Bukola! I hope we all rise to the occasion, doing whatever WE CAN in making sure we make it to the shores.

  2. Great work.

    Your climb is sure. It is.

  3. Good knowledge of facts, great imagination, brilliant piece, brilliant writer…I concur..

  4. This is so bad.

  5. Brilliant piece from a brilliant writer!

  6. Well researched article and also with recommendations on way forwards. Thanks

  7. So Zeebook is just 25&him go de claim old papa for twitter?…LOL it is all good,nice article..the problem is an average nigerian knows what he wants…But how will we achieve it?it is much more than writing an article…Gracias

  8. It’s so sad that our leaders are determined to lead us to destruction despite the fact that what the future holds is clearly written on the wall.

    Well written, Bukola.

  9. Shittu A. Saheed

    I pray these vultures called politicians would not push Nigerians to the wall.

  10. The article really refuelled our nerves. Now, it left for us to act deligently. Nice one.

  11. Echikwonye Oga Tony

    My dear its message that one reads nd 4get about he/her slef , I would like if other Nigerians out there preach and follows what ever that comes out of their mouth . Am not in support of any evil . Moment of moveing this nation forward is what I cry for , Nd I know soon a change must come God is going to installed the captian to pillot his vessel soon thank my ex minister.

  12. Very beautiful piece realy exposes those barbaric looting going on and lack of good direction on the part of our political leaders.Omase o ! Just imagine recurrent expenditures are more than capital expending in National budget what a waist of resource !! Nigeria resources is mainly to pay the political office holders.Oh Lord deliver my beloved country from this greedy and tortoise like leaders give us leader that have the fear of the Lord and respect for masses feeling

  13. HASSAN ABDULLAHI

    Great article,exactly the type of call for better change that i have been making on various social network sites,only that mine doesn’t get much publicity or interests more people locally & internationally as this,so i hope & pray that those who are opportune to have a glimpse of this as i did would wake up to the call for the better change by this concerned brother of ours for a better future nigeria,as our continue silence towards the mis-deed of this so-called leaders of ours,is never a solution to us!!

  14. Beautiful piece, well loaded indeed, hope our leaders read dis or else revolution is very sure to come and consume them

  15. very brilliant article!

  16. This is a well researched article, laying out all our short comings and proffering solutions. One way or d other, we Nigerians need to bring out d creativity withing us, and fashion a way out for ourselves. Over dependece on black gold won’t do us any good. The damaged it has done to this nation is much more than d good.

  17. The radical message contained in this write-up explores the risk of being obscured by the creative impulse of the writer vis-à-vis the aesthetics of this piece, however, many articles and write-ups have dot the pages of various Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs etcetera yet a good number of Nigerian youths show little or No interest about how they are being governed
    The sordid gloom the social evangelist forecasts can only results to a fallacy only if we as youths would fight for our future and generations yet unborn, and I hope and pray that we as youth will swiftly realize the urgency of these revolutions both mental and physical. God bless Nigeria

    Beautiful write-up, top marks to you zebbook, much respect.

  18. The radical message contained in this write-up explores the risk of being obscured by the creative impulse of the writer vis-à-vis the aesthetics of this piece, however, many articles and write-ups have dot the pages of various Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs etcetera yet a good number of Nigerian youths show little or No interest about how they are being governed
    The sordid gloom the social evangelist forecasts can only results to a fallacy only if we as youths would fight for our future and generations yet unborn, and I hope and pray that we as youth will swiftly realize the urgency of these revolutions both mental and physical. God bless Nigeria

    Beautiful write-up, top marks to you zebbook, much respect.

    Fela Ayodele
    @Iam_mcyodel.

  19. I have always known zeebook is a prolific writer since the days of Supperblogger….i pray our voices and cries are heard GOD BLESS NIGERIA

  20. Zebook I’m really proud of you.This intelligent write-up like many others is not for untelligent men in power with empty paper qualifications.The reason why we have nothing to show for the Niger-Delta oil wealth is because the fad at the high place of power is the latest madness of private jet competion.They need to arrange our poltical and economic life to channel our commonwealth into few peoples’ hands legally or illegally.

  21. pls ow can i submit article to mallam elrufai for this young voice

  22. My group is pleased on this web-site, really My group is an enormous freakout.Would you realize about virtually any pertaining websites want your own that individuals could find released additional tips?Fantastic.

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