Monday, July 27, 2015

Nigerian Lawmakers and their Jumbo-Sized Allowances

Nigerian lawmakers are known to gorge off the fat of the land, so it came as a surprise that Nigerians were bewildered and disgusted by the 9 billion naira ($45,000,000) in allowances conferred by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on the recently inaugurated 8th National Assembly lawmakers.

Following public backlash, lawmakers absolved themselves, claiming they had no involvement in setting their salaries and allowances as that responsibility lay solely with the RMAFC.

But that statement in itself is a weak excuse.

If lawmakers believe they are being paid exorbitantly, nothing stops them from passing laws to cap their remunerations. But then again, no sane person votes against their economic interest, and such a feat would require several Mother Teresas, who are obviously absent in the National Assembly.

While Nigerians are right to scream blue murder at the ridiculousness of the allowances, the pertinent question should be whether lawmakers, who are servants of the public, deserve the outrageous salary they earn.

Lest we forget, the last National Assembly spent the last four years passing only ten per cent of 1063 bills, and it’s been said some lawmakers, during their tenure, never sponsored any bills. So it begs the question: What are we paying lawmakers for? And why wasn’t their salary and allowances drastically slashed to mirror Nigeria’s current financial plight?

The simple, straight-forward answer? A typical lawmaker doesn’t care about laws or their constituency. All they truly care about are their pockets and ensuring they remain stuffed.

So anyone thinking the 8th National Assembly will be any different is delusional. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

All Death Is a Release

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Death is a shadow that follows us wherever we go, a cloud hanging over us that will someday birth what it must. It is the unpleasant thought that intrudes upon us like an unwelcome visitor, which remains consigned to the deepest recesses of the mind, only to have it re-emerge at a loss or a grave illness.

Regardless, constant reminders of the frailty and nothingness of life lurk at every corner, so much so that we have become unwittingly inured or rather conditioned to it. Grasses wilt, leaves yellow and fall, flowers fade and are swept away by the wind’s efficient hands. This phenomenon, we call, the circle of life, God’s fait accompli, nature’s metamorphosis.

And yet, we all fear what must be because the future in death remains an undefinable vagueness. This fear is the palpable uncertainty in the silent tears of the living and the unspoken words of the dying. In death’s seemingly cruel game, the lucky winners, it seems, are the dead.

However, the common notion of death as the snatcher of the last breath, or the ruthless angel waiting to catch us unawares, is flawed for its incompleteness.  

Death, sometimes, is the kind hand that lifts the heavy cross from sore shoulders, tired from the long endurance trek. Sometimes, it is the coup de grace presenting the first slither of sunshine after years of whirlwinds and sadness. Sometimes it is that which shields us from imminent agony and pain.

But the living, often blinded by their limited beliefs, automatically presume that anyone walking through death’s door is gone forever, especially those who escaped young. Our feelings are based on the assumption that life is where the party is, and death is a fate worse than life.

If we claim to believe in God or even in the continuity of life, then we must accede to the fact that death only robs us of the physical, and that what we believe to be a termination is merely a release from life’s entrapment, for the spirit never dies. It lives on in the memory of the living and in the legacy of dead.

And even when those memories fade or cease to exist, the spirit, like the wind, will go on and on.