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RELIGIOUS PILGRIMS OR PLUNDERERS!? By ‘Seun Fakuade October 15, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, MORALITY.
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4 comments

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There are many rules to being apathetic in Nigeria. There are many issues that will draw the ire of sycophants and ethno-religious intolerants when you speak in Nigeria. I will state two of these:
– Do not speak about anything as regarding the government (the establishment), if you must; only say something positive about everything they do
– Do not talk about a religion in any way
Today, non-traditionally, these two will be the centre of my discourse. If you are religiously intolerant, or pro-establishment; this May be a good place to close this article.

You are probably wondering: how much is the fund allocated for religious pilgrimage by the Nigerian state in the 2013 budget? It is N1,800,000,000: precisely $1,090,909 (about $1.1m). I get it, why should we bother right? We must be worried because there is no loophole we should allow in justifying waste of public resources or allow to expropriate our public funds. Concerned citizens must not be wary about asking their leaders to come clean about every detail on how public funds are spent. Every kobo accounted for!

The Nigerian state has no business funding religious expeditions, it has no right categorizing nor has any justification secluding other religions from such ‘gift’. As a secular state, Nigeria has no right to restrict pilgrimage to Christianity and Islam alone. What about other religions? Today, many political thugs and criminals have become the beneficiaries of such government propaganda. In all the years Nigerian representatives have journeyed to the Holy lands! what has been Nigeria’s benefit: more poverty, crime, dropped educational standards, terrorism, more divisions!

Religious tourism to the holy grounds are no solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the Nigerian government. Every President in this nation has, by one way or the other, lent credence to this religious rite. At what cost to the Nigerian people? By all means, I do not trivialize the role of religion: it is the last bastion of hope, of survival, of belief, of expression; for countless millions. Certainly, The creator will, by no means, justify the plunder that goes on while professing to carry on his business.

CORRUPTION
Nigeria is shrouded in secrecy even though it makes claims at transparent spending. What steps have been made to explain in open terms how N1,800,000,000 was and will be expended on religious pilgrimages in 2013? None so far. Without restraints, without caution, Nigeria continually waste resources by Unjustifiably funding religious voyages. In the recent Mo Ibrahim good governance ranking, Nigeria polled 41 out of 52 (moibrahimfoundation.org/nigeria/).

Mo Ibrahim, whose foundation rewards African leaders on the indices of good governance and responsible leadership with $5m, only recently stated no winners for the fourth time in seven years. Why would any African leader want $5m from Mo Ibrahim when it steals (by all means possible) hundred times this amount? Malabu, like many other corruption cases in Nigeria, shows how African leadership justifies and loots from the people using conduits. How many people benefit from the lootocratic sleaze of this pilgrimage? What exact estacodes (foreign currency) comes to each person?

Imagine the estacodes that accrue to each entourage of the President, or each pilgrim benefiting from the largesse! The President, through his attack organs, consistently refutes claim about his entourage by the media. Asides this report by the Premium Times claiming 30,000 Nigerians making the trip to Isreal, (http://premiumtimesng.com/news/146610-president-jonathan-to-lead-30000-nigerian-christian-pilgrims-to-israel.html), no official releases follow this claim, no actual evidence validates the presidential claim to prudence and frugal leadership.

The President, with due respect, has lost the moral right to lead Nigeria in the fight against corruption. His political crooks and recent transformation agenda states otherwise, with claims “Fighting Corruption with the Rule Of Law”. The reality on ground is not only contrasting; it is in many ways dumbfounding, unethical, outrageous, ridiculous and saddening.

Sycophants, in their characteristic greed, would opine that the Jonathan administration does so much than it gets credit for. What credit do you award justifying/legalizing the loot of our system by any and every means possible? What message do we send our young people when we pardon national plunderers like Mr Alamieyesegha? What hope is there for posterity when it’s nation’s President justifies corruption and public treasure criminality? What hope does Nigeria have when our leaders never see anything wrong about this consistent loot of our public funds?

For nations whose enlightened citizens understand the import of frugal spending, open government, accountability and transparency; acts of national brigandage like this should attract the loudest ire, open criticism and retribution. Does it? Patriots must keep talking about the wrongs in the system so they do not get used to seeing it as the NORM, so they know the huge problem before their generation to solve, so they realize Nigeria is a long step from redemption if people (anyone) will keep justifying such national treasure brigandage under whatever auspices noticeable.

Religious pilgrimage funded by the government is no way to solve our woes. It is more legal ways to looting our national treasure, indeed to more plunder!

I am @seunfakze

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