Today’s piece is not as much an article as it is a series of tweets to kick start our online campaign for the National Assembly protest. This has been a long time coming but it is finally here. The National Assembly has to decide whether they are there to serve Nigerians or Nigerians are slaving to serve them. On resumption yesterday 17th September, they were true to type, fighting like touts, breaking things and tearing themselves. If that was because of their passion for Nigerians we’d understand, it was about their politics not our people. They earn full pay, more than all Nigerians in public service minus those like them, yet take 7 weeks’ holidays and several other breaks in-between. Constitutionally, they are supposed to be representing all Nigerians, in reality, they have mostly been representing themselves.
It is time for Nigerians to demand justice and accountability from the National Assembly. It is time, especially for our generation to call an end to this bullshit. Yes, lets call this seamy, nauseous bullshit what it is and not try to sweeten it by calling it any other name. It is time to state categorically, this must stop! Over the years Nigerians from every walk of life have spoken out loud against the humongous, gargantuan pay of the National Assembly, articles have been written and papers have been presented. Numbers have been quoted and discredited. Tweets and Facebook quotes on this issue will fill many libraries. Yet nothing has changed. It is time to force that change, it is time to step out on the streets of Abuja and with support protests across Nigeria, to call an end to this madness.
We cannot continue to do the same thing over and again and expect a different result. To make change happen, we must be ready to test all the tools legally available to us. The National Assembly’s budget rose from about N50 billion during the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo years to N150 billion today. They will give countless excuses for that astronomical rise, what they will not give is justification. At what cost is this rise to the mostly poor people of Nigeria? How can billionaires represent people whom for every ten of them you see, seven of them are poor? How can they collectively have N150 billion appropriated to them when all the schools in Nigeria under the Federal Government including Unity schools, Federal Universities and all Federal institutions and staff of the Ministry of education have just about N450 billion allocated to them? If they were representatives of the people, they’d by themselves move to drastically slash their pay. That is the right thing to do in the face of poverty that has hit the Nigerian people. We have work to do and this is where to start.
We will march to the National Assembly in Abuja and demand that this script of injustice be re-written to fit into the order of justice. We will raise our voices and scream for their often seemingly deaf ears to hear. We will be peaceful but our faces will not look it. We will not be spoiling for war but our bodies will not appear as for peace. All we are saying, something drastic has to be done about the pay of our legislators and we have put the numbers out in clear terms. Please follow the hashtag #OurNASS on Twitter and Facebook for other information on this matter. It is time to make our voices count. If this is truly a democracy, as they’ve been earning its democratic dividends at the expense of the people for over 14 years now, this is the time to test the veracity of this democracy. No party has been exempted from the thoughtlessness of the National Assembly, they are all in it to take it all. It is time for us Nigerians to take our collective destiny in our hands. If we do nothing, nothing will happen. If we rise up and collectively demand change, nothing may happen. The difference between “will” and “may” could be the difference between having more mothers die in pregnancy, it could be the difference between having more children out of school – the world’s highest already, it could the difference between retaining one of the world’s highest child mortality rate – , or changing the Nigerian script by just saving ourselves some extra billions of Naira from the pay of our supposed representatives.
It is time. In our quest for justice for ourselves and generations unborn, we will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail! Follow #OurNASS on Facebook and Twitter for more. It is time to make our own representation count if they can’t make theirs.
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