In Nigeria, The Math Does Not Add Up —Prince Charles Dickson



The owner of the body does not say that he is in no pain, while we insist on commiserating with him for his sleeplessness and his restlessness. (One does not commiserate with a person who does not admit his/her misfortune).

In Nigeria, it is not just about the more you look the less you see, the fact is that you rarely see much or see nothing. The system, if indeed we have any, seems to defy all odds and logical reasoning. When you expect it to falter, fall and fail, it takes a curve and strangely comes on strong on the rebound. The only question is for how long do we have to rely on auto-piloting the ship of governance.

We are taught in primary school math that one plus one would equal two, however in these climes it could equal three, four, seven, and ten or even be zero. Every concerted effort at getting it right meets with unexplainable capitulation–It never adds up, when Ibrahim Lamorde the EFCC chair tells you that there is corruption in the Commission.

In January we were almost certain that some form of change was on the horizon, that it won’t be business as usual, but with each passing day we see our sensibilities continually abused by just a few. Little has changed, with three high profile ‘entertaining’ probes by the National Assembly–Subsidy, Pension and SEC, what we see exposed is a generally mute public, outrage without action.

Three months into the new year and still counting civil servants are being owed and still surviving simply because the maths do not add up, in the Northern parts the BH war keeps changing colours as more join the fray and the death toll rises and attacks raise more questions, fact is the math does not add up.

In a strange twist typical of Nigeria, while poverty ravishes the land the National Bureau For Statistics Figures show that some over 100 million are poor, yet luxury car markers Porsche is interested in the few rich and opens shop in Lagos for them, it does not add up, millionaires are created everyday out of the system, few by dint of hard work, others by sheer Nigerian mathematics, it just happens for them it never adds up, they are poor in the morning and for doing next to nothing are rich in the evening.

Just be at the right place at the right time, know the right person and he better be ready to act right there for you and you are made–Just a supply of PDP wrapper for its convention or the supply of the new police man-o-war uniform, get a contract for borehole in a community that has four non-functional boreholes…

An alarming size of the population have no access to quality education, some 1.5 million Nigerians write the JAMB exams for less than 500,000 admission spaces, strange figures. We cry that there is a dwindling fortune in public schools, yet fraudulent private schools litter everywhere and almost quarterly the FEC approves a maximum of three new universities, at the moment there are over one hundred and fifty of them. Still there are ‘unbaked graduates’ are everywhere and billions is spent in neighbouring Ghana to get better education. The math does not add up…

Related News

In the last five years, the rail system, a supposed integral part of a new transport network remains only in public speeches and documents such as SURE and unSURE. We only hear budgetary allocations in millions and billions and are inundated with talk of the Lagos-Port, Harcourt-Kano rail road and Abuja Mono rail projects, we see little or next to nothing. While this writer appreciates the fact that these are not three minute indomie noodle projects, sadly we do not see hope, it all does not add up…

After several months of committee work at really all but nothing, the Senate passed a budget of N4. 877 for the 2012 fiscal year. It was N4. 484 in 2011 and in 2010, N4.608 trillion, the weed did not know that the farmer had a machete. The evil doer does not consider the response of the person wronged. It all does not add up, three straight years and budgets of 4 trillion plus consecutively and still nothing to show for it, except for a pot-bellied rich political class. It does not add up, but its Nigeria, it never does and does not need to.

A local axiom says a cripple does not block the road with his legs. literally meaning that a person with a handicap should not challenge those who are not handicapped, but in Nigeria, a few thousands challenge plenty millions, because it never adds up, the maladministration, unfocused governance, fraud and waste continues, for example as symbolized by what Ojo Madueke comically described as “…Maturation of internal democracy”. The maturation saw the emergence of a much ‘matured’ Bamanga Tukur as Chairman of PDP.

One treats a disease; one does not treat death, my admonition every week dwells on the importance on us having to attend to problems before they become unmanageable. Indians home and abroad have taken over our healthcare system, in cases delivering quality and other cases facilitating suicide because of our failed medical health delivery status.

In recent times we have received without compliant the news of UK banning our doctors from select Universities and almost every three months an arm of medical and health workers are on industrial action in one part of the nation or the other. Yet millions are set aside for health and nothing to show as infant and maternal mortality rate is on the increase unabated.

Former Lagos state governor in a recent interview stated “…They are liars driving the economy and feeding the public with fake statistics. If you have a solid economic programme, you will be able to articulate that for the country and you will strengthen our hope and determination. We are creating an hydra-headed accounting fraud but let’s leave that. Where is the number coming from; if not from somebody’s magical thinking?” While I believe he is equally part of the problem, I’ll rather look at the message than the messenger and end by asking, do we need all these somersaults leading nowhere, certainly not, but do we want to go forward—only time will tell.

•Charles, Editor, wrote from Lagos

Load more