Etcetera This Weekend – Wake Up President Buhari
Wake up, President Buhari. Get in the game; you have left the door open for more Federal Government bailout. The question is, why would the Federal Government get involved? And, beyond that, why should it? Can the Federal Government really help a state like Osun? Hell no!! The predicament of these states is due primarily to two causes. One is mismanagement, which has amounted to billions of their total shortfall. The second is the money that was borrowed through the years for unseen projects and other unnecessary obligations. Disappearing jobs, empty factories have all played a role, too.
There are so many reasons why bailing out cash-strapped states that mismanaged public finances with over N7bn should be prohibited henceforth. We are talking about public funds here and Nigerian taxpayers need to watch their wallets. If not, there will be a call for a federal bailout to finance the purchase of private jets for state governors. The National Assembly should act now to ensure taxpayers aren’t forced to pay for years of mismanagement by government officials. Failure of some of these states to properly manage their funds might be rooted in an unholy alliance between the governors and their godfathers.
The issue of ghost workers is another thing that should be looked into. It is a fact that some of the commissioners liaised with the permanent secretaries to milk the states by employing ghost workers.
Leaving aside the argument of the merits or demerits of federal relief for these financially troubled states, the way these governors squander public funds makes it morally troublesome and that’s to put it lightly.
It would have been understandable if this bailout was as a result of natural disasters like earthquakes or outbreaks of terrible diseases such as Ebola. Seeking federal bailout to pay workers’ salaries is preposterous, especially when the said states have been receiving regular monthly federal allocations. Osun State needs to lie in its own poorly made bed; the rest of the country cannot be expected to pay for the myopic misdeeds of a lazy government.
Consider an uninsured driver who negligently makes an illegal turn that causes an accident with another car. Witnesses call the police, reporting who is at fault; the police transmit this information to the traffic offence unit. When they arrive at the scene and ?nd that the car of the driver at fault is uninsured, will they tow his car to the workshop and have it repaired at the expense of the government? Let us also pause and consider whether this bailout shows respect for ordinary Nigerian citizens. The state governors having chosen to run their risks, they deserve their misfortune, so society need not save them from it.
There are so many good reasons why the Federal Government shouldn’t have offered a bailout to these states. That the government treasury is empty is certainly one salient factor. Another is the issue of moral hazard: if these states can turn to the Federal Government whenever their finances go down, other states will have much less reason to manage their money effectively and make tough but crucial budgetary decisions.