@elrufai on Friday: Young Voices – Introducing Chinedu Ekeke

Published:27 Dec, 2012

Young Voices – Introducing Chinedu Ekeke

Apart from being young – with their ages ranging from 20 to early 30s, all our young voices have a few qualities in common. They are all honest, passionate, patriotic, detribalized, intelligent, thoughtful and angry about the Nigerian condition. Our last young voice for the year – Mr. Chinedu Ekeke has these qualities and more, and for many requires no introduction. His blogging site www.ekekeee.com is one of the top three platforms offering Nigerian youths an outlet to articulate, debate and express their diverse views. When presidential mouthpiece Reuben Abati wrote about ‘collective children of anger’, he was probably referring to Chinedu and these youths whose conscience cannot be purchased with the gift of contracts, money or positions in a hapless federal government whose decisions and actions are daily compromising their future!

Chinedu trained as an accountant and works as one, but following the footsteps of accounting graduates Adamu Adamu and Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, applies his writing talent to draw attention to what need doing to make our nation better. His articles have been published by Sahara Reporters and many old and new media platforms. His more recent and extremely popular pieces include ‘The Audacity of a Rogue Regime’ and ‘Echoes from the Niger Delta’. Today, he writes about the opportunity cost of corruption.

It is my singular honour and privilege to present Chinedu Ekeke to you, with our best wishes and prayers that the insecurity, fraud and corruption we have been subjected to in 2012, will end with this horribly Jonathanian year! Amen.
– Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

The Opportunity Cost Of Corruption – By Chinedu Ekeke

First, corruption and national development are mutually exclusive. But I’ll get back to that.

The first sense necessary for leadership in any clime is the sense for common good. With such mindset, the dictates of common sense no longer assume the rigours of rocket science. The simplicity of having enough funds for investment in massive infrastructure no longer becomes an issue to be explained away.
Twisting of facts becomes unnecessary. Seeking the validation of courtiers becomes unimportant to leadership. The secret is when leadership is burdened by the desire to work for the common good.

Without the love for country – and not loving Nigeria has been the single qualification for attaining leadership here – no suggestion, no matter how patriotic, will be taken by those who call the shots in the seats of power. That is why this article will not be taken seriously by those who need it most: the president and his team. They don’t run a government of common sense. They run a regime of miracles.
They squander billions in subsidy fraud, dubious budget for cutleries and banquet halls, and then ‘trust’ God with our national development. For leaders who love their country, an understanding of opportunity cost, a basic concept in Economics, helps in economic decision making.

The opportunity cost of anything is the highest valued alternative that must be forgone when a choice is made. It is the cost of any choice made, or activity involved in, measured by valuing the next best alternative not chosen or taken.

In my days in secondary school, faced with the trouble of having to reel out in full length the definition outlined by my Economics teacher, and to save myself the trouble of having to cram it for the purpose of passing exams, I resorted to just making do with the other phrase that sums it up; “Alternative forgone”.

Yes, opportunity cost is alternative forgone. It is actually a cost, like a loss. The ‘loss’ here means the loss of benefits derivable from the alternative not taken.

When we make the choice to erect corruption as a national monument, we have chosen to lose the benefits derivable from the national assets we would have built with the funds stolen.

When I did an essay on the ‘Time Value Of Corruption’, I highlighted what we are losing today, in monetary terms, by having allowed people steal our billions 20 years ago without making them pay back, and possibly go to jail. I went ahead to do a projection on the future value of the current billions and trillions that the Jonathan regime’s friends are stealing with reckless abandon. In analyzing the opportunity cost of corruption, I may not get absolutely quantitative to be able to pass my message, but I will be as expressive as I can to make my point clearly known.

As I said in my opening line, corruption and national development are mutually exclusive.

Recently, a Sunday Punch report revealed that over N5 trillion belonging to Nigerians has been stolen under the watch of president Goodluck Jonathan since he ascended the presidency. I wouldn’t have been as worried as I am if there has been any effort to bring the culprits of the earth-shattering criminality to book. The government is carrying on as if all is well, while Nigerians, who have become victims of over three decades of state-promoted roguery, languish under grinding poverty and unemployment, unable to afford even the most basic needs of life in a country so blessed by God.

As the president makes – and shows much comfort in – the choice of allowing his cabinet members, friends, and ‘privileged’ fraudulent business men fritter away our petro-naira unquestioned, it is critical we call his attention to the opportunity cost of that choice. We are forgoing many infrastructural developmental alternatives.

Let’s look at housing. The federal government hasn’t shown that it understands the need for housing for our huge population, that’s why slums abound in the cities with the slumlords boldly ripping helpless citizens off. With N5 trillion, and through direct labour involvement, we can build exactly 2.5million units of 2-bedroom flats at N2 million per flat. The houses do not need sophisticated designs or exquisite materials: just simple designs with simple but durable building materials. My interaction with builders has assured me that N2 million can build a 2-bedroom apartment through direct labour. Do note that we will not need to buy land because the land belongs to the government. Government will simply make land available. We will not also need to include the cost of contractors, because we will be using direct labour.
The staff of Federal Housing Authority can, in conjunction with the staff of ministry of environment, supervise the project. The houses will be spread across major cities in the six geo-political zones with huge populations. This will help provide accommodation for people, lessen the pressure on the badly built and poorly maintained houses, and help clean our cities of slums.

So the opportunity cost of N5 trillion stolen under President Jonathan’s watch is 2.5million units of low cost housing for the urban poor and middle class.

But that is if we choose to invest the money in housing. We could choose to concentrate on electricity.
With N5 trillion, we can build more power stations to increase significantly our electricity generation. If we had done that within the period we watched the privileged ones steal the money, by today we will not be gloating over 4500 megawatts of electricity that cannot serve even counties in the United States, let alone states. We will be talking about 15,000 megawatts or more, generated and distributed nationwide to revive moribund businesses and productive activities.

The opportunity cost of our stolen N5 trillion under President Jonathan is constant electric supply.
We may also choose not to face any of the mentioned opportunity costs in absolute terms. We may combine them in a certain proportion, building a portion of this and a portion of that with the N5 trillion.
Even at that, the impact of each would have been so visible that it will be impossible for even the president’s enemies to deny him the deserved credit.

If we chose to build just 1 million housing units with N2 trillion and used the remaining N3 trillion for power stations, then the opportunity cost of the N5 trillion stolen under President Jonathan would have given us 1million units of 2-bedroom flats and say, about 15000megawatts of electricity.

We could, instead, choose to focus on health care. Instead of bearing the shame of having privileged Nigerians jet out in droves, every day, to India and the West to treat minor and major ailments, we could build world-class hospitals with state of the art equipment for the treatment of all kinds of ailment. In such cases we will not need to take emergency health cases off the shores of our country.

The opportunity cost of the N5 trillion stolen under the watch, and official inaction, of President Jonathan is the needless deaths of millions of Nigerians who cannot afford the cost of foreign medical treatments, the loss of money we incur from those who can afford it, and the loss of jobs we would have created for our people if we had built quality hospitals that can treat ailments qualitatively.

But it is not just about the stolen funds. There’s also the opportunity cost of profligacy and waste in government. For instance, in one very shameful demonstration of insensitivity, the president and his mediocre ministers approved the construction of a new banquet hall in Aso Villa. This is in spite of an existing banquet hall for the presidency. No serious president with about 112 million people in his country living in squalor will dare tolerate a mere mention of a new banquet hall from either a minister or an aide.
Every serious leader runs his country like a family. Responsible families do not stretch their expenses beyond their means. Our rulers are both irresponsible and mischievous, that’s why an issue as an unneeded banquet hall will even become a subject of discourse.

But the opportunity cost of that presidential banquet hall is well funded tertiary institutions that can compete with the very best in, at least, Africa, or well paved roads in some distant lands forgotten by the federal government.

There are even more.

The opportunity cost of spending N16billion to build a house for the VP is the pipe-borne water that should run through our houses.

The opportunity cost of paying N6.5billion – unaccounted for – to state governors as security votes is well-funded and reformed police with adequate personnel to protect our lives and property.
The opportunity cost of letting David Mark pay himself N600million per annum – an amount that will pay for ten years the United States presidents’ salary – is millions of jobs that we would have created for our teeming youths.

Equally, the opportunity cost of paying a Nigerian legislator more than the British Prime Minister is the millions of good jobs we would have created with the inexplicably huge amounts.
Because money is stolen in Nigeria – legally and illegally – with impunity, we have lost the opportunity to develop our country, and compete with the rest of the world.
Corruption and national development are mutually exclusive, that’s why you should ignore the government official who comes on national TV to promise you development. The money for our development is the same money they have stolen.

We will only commence our journey into national rebirth the moment we take the stealing of government funds seriously. We can’t watch people empty our treasury and then still pretend we will build infrastructure. It is the money for infrastructure that has been stolen.
Corruption and infrastructural development are mutually exclusive.
Chinedu Ekeke can be reached on Twitter as @ekekeee.

  • toonday

    Such is life, where a sheep is surrounded by a pack of wolves
    My lecturer once said “GEJ is an amiable person and of good personality but he lacks commanding personality to survive †??????? pack that devour him and now what?
    He s buried deep in its quagmire.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Indian Military Antonov Plane Goes Missing

An Indian military plane with 29 people on board has gone missing over the Bay of Bengal which is the largest bay in the world and is found at the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean.  According to the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Antonov-32 transporter aircraft took off from Chennai (Madras) at 08:30 local time (03:00 GMT), bound for Port Blair in the eastern archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar. It was scheduled to...

PDP Must Avoid Going From Frying Pan To Fire – Bode George

A chieftain of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, said in Lagos on Thursday that appointing a credible person as national chairman of the party would determine the performance of the party in the 2019 presidential elections. George, who was a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, said that it was imperative for the national leadership of the party to appoint a credible person as its national chairman. He argued that appointing someone, who had no understanding...

You Shouldn’t Be Engaged For Any Longer Than 6 months, Wendy William Says

Wendy Williams doesn't think that Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney would never make it down the aisle because of their long engagement. The chat show host says reports that Gaga's went into acting had caused deep rifts with fiance Taylor that led to the split. She even went on to win a Golden Globe for her debut role and is set to return for its new season. Speaking on Thursday about the recent Radar report, Wendy said: “I...

New Music: 2Baba X M.I Abaga – “Babylon”

The moment we’ve been waiting for is here as; 2Baba and M.I Abaga unleash celestial chills with the new single dubbed Babylon. The duet, speaks on the current situation of life, the journey, the steps to follow; and also the most pondered about issue i.e; “Politics.” Like always, 2Baba aka 2face Idibia and M.I Abaga,...

Bayern Have Lost An ‘Important Player’ In Gotze – Alaba

The Austrian international insists his close friend, who recently rejoined Borussia Dortmund from the Bavarians, was “unlucky” to see his career stagnate due to injury trouble David Alaba insists Bayern Munich have lost an “important player” following Mario Gotze's decision to leave the Bundesliga champions to rejoin Borussia Dortmund. Gotze, 24, angered Dortmund fans when he left them in 2013 to join their German rivals Bayern but completed a move...

‘Do Not Support Any Moves To Impeach Pres. Buhari’- Bauchi Youths Warn Their Senators

Members of APC Vanguard, a Pro-Buhari group in Bauchi state have sent a warning to the three senators representing the state in the senate not to support any move geared towards impeaching President Buhari. The youths issued the warning in a letter signed by their chairman, Nura Zungur and delivered to the Bauchi state governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar at Government House this morning. The group in their letter warned that any of their senators who partakes in...

Bricklayer Jailed For Stealing Two Packets Of Maggi

A Lugbe Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, on Thursday sentenced a 30-year-old bricklayer Jeopardy John, to three months imprisonment for stealing two packets of Maggi cubes. John, had pleaded guilty to a three-count of criminal trespass, housebreaking and theft. “I am sorry for the act I committed and I am pleading with the court not to send me to jail. “It was hunger that made me to steal. For some time now I don’t...

Court Orders EFCC To Pay N5 Million Damages To Fayose’s Aide

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has granted bail to Abiodun Agbele, an aide to the Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose. Mr. Agbele was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on July 1 on allegations of fraud. The EFCC said Mr. Agbele received huge public funds from a former defence minister, Musiliu Obanikoro, and delivered same to Mr. Fayose. The judge, Olukayode Fadeniyi, declared that the failure of the EFCC to...

Japan Warns Over Pokemon Go Pitfalls Ahead Of Launch

Japan isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the safety of impatient fans awaiting the release of Pokemon Go in the country where the cutesy monsters were born. Tokyo has issued a nine-point safety guide warning of dangers gamers could face, including heat stroke, online scams and dubious strangers. Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) has also advised fans to download a weather app so Pokemon hunts don’t land...

Boko Haram Degraded, Victims Returning Home– Interior Minister

The Federal Government has stated that Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East has been degraded and routed out from their major enclaves while victims of their atrocities are returning home. The Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau made the disclosure at the Regional Seminar on Media Engagement in Crisis Management organised by the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. The Minister said: “The war in the North-East with the Boko Haram has been...

Video: Idris Elba – Panda Re-fix

Jimmy Fallon debuted a spanking new game with a little help from Idris Elba on last night’s episode of The Tonight Show. Dubbed Box of Microphones, this latest musical goof around involved. you guessed it — a box of microphones, with each mic having a different voice-altering effect. After each picking, a mic at random, Idris delivered a chipmunk cover of Desiigner’s “Panda”. while Jimmy...

Plateau Crisis: Soldiers Open Fire, One Killed

Soldiers serving with the Special Task Force on Jos crisis on Thursday opened fire on rampaging youth who blocked a road in Bokkos Local Government Area, in protest of the killing of a monarch and a night attack there Wednesday. At least one person was killed and five others injured, witnesses said. A witness, Mangai Haruna, said the youth refused to allow soldiers into the area, pressing them instead to produce the killers of their...

Sex Scandal: Reps Accuse US Ambassador Of Racial Bias

One of the three members of the House of Representatives accused of alleged sexual misconduct by the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, yesterday accused the envoy of racial bias stating that the allegations are premeditated. Hon. Mark Gbillah who made the declaration yesterday while making his presentation at the investigative hearing on the allegations, insisted that he was wrongly accused and would do everything legally possible to clear his name. He...

Christians Betrayed, Insulted Me As CAN President- Oritsejafor

Past presi­dent of the Christian As­sociation of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yes­terday, opened up on how he weathered the storm as leader of the apex Christian body in the country. He said Christians plot­ted against him and equally insulted him even when he put his life on the line for them. Oritsejafor said he took over the mantle of lead­ership at the most trying times in the country. “We came in a period...

Total Is New Sponsor Of CAF Competitions

Multi-national oil company, Total is the new title sponsor of the Africa’s foremost football event, the Africa Cup of Nations, according the Confederation of African football (CAF) has said. Total replaces telephone company Orange as the AFCON sponsors. The sponsorship agreement lasts eight years, africanFootball.com reports. The sponsorship also covers the women’s Nations Cup, U-17, U-20 and U-23 championships, the African Nations Championship (CHAN), CAF Champions League, Confederation Cup and Super Cup.

Osinbajo, Governors Meet Over Economy

The National Economic Council (NEC) met at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.  The meeting is being presided over by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.  Governors in attendance include those of Ogun, Kano, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Abia, Katsina, Kogi, among others.  The meeting is expected to review the state of the economy. Credit: DailyTrust

Leave Oil Fields, Terminals Now, Niger Delta Avengers Warns Oil Workers

Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has warned oil workers and foreigners to vacate oil fields and terminals as it is ready to fight dirty. The militant group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, specifically warned Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) workers as well as foreigners to leave oil fields and terminals because “it will be going to be very...

Saraki Denies Defecting To PDP, Restates Commitment To APC

For the second time in less than a week, the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, has restated his commitment and loyalty to his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Media reports were rife that Saraki had defected to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after he attended the party’s senate caucus meeting on Wednesday. But Saraki’s media aide, Bamikole Omishore, in a statement said the reports were “entirely untrue as the Senate President stands committed...

?FG To Introduce Maritime Law As Course In Nigerian Varsities

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Universities Commission(NUC) yesterday agreed to collaborate on the introduction of Maritime Law as a course of study in Nigerian universities. The agreement was reached in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Prof. Julius Okojie, the Executive Secretary, NUC by Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council. According to Bello, the dearth of legal practitioners and judges who are knowledgeable in Maritime law continues to hinder the adjudication...

Aisha Buhari Sues Gov. Fayose, Aides

President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, on Wednesday sued Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State for claiming she was involved in the Halliburton scandal. Mr. Fayose had in June said Mrs. Buhari was the “Aisha Buhari” named in a U.S. court document, alleged to have been involved in bribery case involving a convicted former U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson. The governor, in what appeared to be an error, referred to the Jefferson bribery as the Halliburton scandal,...

Naira Sinks To 375/Dollar, Economists Seek Policy Change

Economists on Wednesday advised the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to review their policies and introduce measures that would turn around the dwindling fortunes of the nation’s economy. They spoke against the backdrop of the persistent fall of the naira against the dollar, with the local currency exchanging for 375 against the greenback at the parallel market on Wednesday; the imminent economic recession; and the spike in inflation to 16.5 per cent in...