Recently, a controversial Nigerian senator- Dina Melaye- took to his Istagram page to display pictures of his luxury cars. To him, it is a lifestyle- purchasing the latest Lamborghini and Bentley. And of course why not; he is a Nigerian senator who earns an average of $1.7 million in annual salaries!
You read that correctly; the average Nigerian senator earns a whooping $1.7 million every year. That is more than twice the $400.000 earned by the United States’ President annually. It is outrageous, little wonder it was the focal point of discourse during a recently held stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Movement for Nigeria’s Total Transformation. The Chairman of the group (Areoye Oyebola) had used the forum to chastise the so called lawmakers for continually ignoring calls for the review and downsizing of “monumental salaries and allowances”
Over the years since Nigeria’s return to democracy, many observers of Nigeria’s national polity have faulted the huge salaries earned by the lawmakers in the country. Prefessor Itse Sagay recently levelled his criticisms on the lawmakers over the matter. Yet the practice continues, despite the fact that the average Nigerian citizen struggles on a daily basis to find what to eat. What kind of lawmakers are they who would rather enrich themselves [albeit with public funds], while the citizens for whom the laws are made for suffer and die in penury?
“It is strange, unthinkable and very disheartening” said Oyebola who also pointed that even the members of Nigeria’s lower chamber earn more in salaries than the British Prime Minister! Indeed, the average House of Representative member earns N10 million asides allowances. This should call for outage by the Nigerian public. Just compare Nigeria to Ghana where the lawmakers earn far less than their Nigerian counterparts and yet enact more effective laws aimed at engineering social change and development. The West African country recently kicked off its fully-funded free public secondary school education scheme. There is no such thing in Nigeria.
We should all be enraged by these. And most importantly, we should all support Oyebola’s clamour for a ninety percent cut in the earnings of Nigeria’s elected public officials. According to him-
“The National Assembly, the President, Ministers, State Governors, State Legislators, Chairmen of local governments and Councillors should have their pay and allowances reduced to ten percent of their present earnings. If effected, each senator’s present salary of N15 million a month will be reduced to N1.5 million or N18 million a year. A similar ninety percent reduction should be effected from the pay of members if the House of Representatives.”