The 2014 World Cup has kicked off in Brazil. I am happy and proud that Nigeria is competing with other nations for this most coveted football trophy.
The Nigerian delegation arrived at the Guarulhos International Airport, Sao Paulo, Brazil, at about 5 p.m.local time Wednesday, 11th June. The team, led by the Senate President – David Mark includes the Governor of Cross River State – Liyel Imoke, Governor of Katsina State – Ibrahim Shema, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory – Bala Mohammed, Minister of Education – Nyesome Wike, Minister of Culture and Tourism – Edem Duke, Minister of Youth Development – Boni Haruna, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs – Viola Onwuleri, Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, Adamu Gumba and Chairman House Committee on Sports – Godfrey Ali Gaiya. This is besides an advance team which was led by the Minister of Sports – Tamuno Danagogo.
Nigeria’s delegation is perhaps the largest in Africa. Why did Nigeria need to send such a large delegation? These men and women are neither footballers nor part of the coaching crew or members of the Nigerian Supporters Club. I have tried to imagine what value their presence will add to the boys doing the actual playing. I simply can’t think up any except that these politicians are in Brazil to either distract the players, show off how Nigerian politicians are adept at wasting the nation’s scarce resources or engage in all manner of frolicking and immoral behaviors that will further cast aspersions on the collective sensibilities and image of Nigerians.
We are not yet sure how much the Nigerian Government is expending on the World Cup; but one can only but imagine taking into consideration how much of tax payers monies has been spent on this jumbo sized delegation. How can we be this wasteful in the face of poverty, hunger, lack and the myriad of challenges the average Nigerian encounters on a daily basis. These individuals should be focused on solving the nation’s problems, a burden their positions confer on them.
I have taken time to enquire how many of the nation’s participating in this World Cup in Brazil came with such a large contingent of politicians, public servants and their hangers-on. None perhaps, except for West African neighbours – Ghana. Alliance for Accountable Governance – a transparency organization in Ghana called their delegation of thirteen “profligate and unnecessary”; a delegation mostly composed of members of the country’s football federation and Sports Ministry, one I believe is much smaller in size compared to Nigeria’s.
Our Chibok girls are yet to return home. Boko Haram still operates with impunity and Nigerians are insecure and afraid. Corrupt politicians and officials are being encouraged and pampered. Students of Polytechnics are idle not knowing when the long drawn face-off between their lecturers and government will be called off. Indeed, nowhere one turns to in this richly endowed country is free of sorrow, tears, suffering and anguish.
Yet, the individuals who should be finding solutions to these problems are embarking on unnecessary trips. This is annoying, irresponsible and shameful. It is because of this knack for useless jamborees that I join forces with those advocating for part-time membership of the national assembly because more often than not one is wont to believe that idleness may be the reason our lawmakers never miss an opportunity to jet out of the country they have helped to make uncomfortable for us all.
Again, I think the time has come for a review of the remuneration and pecks received by these predators that hold our public offices. They obviously consume much more than they contribute to Nigeria.
By Toks Ero / @toksero