Buhari Conniving With National Assembly To Deceive Nigerians?

Nigeria’s President, Major General Muhammadu  Buhari (rtd.), has said it is wrong for Nigerians to perceive the National Assembly as being “highly overpaid” for doing little but yet has never fully declared their remunerations.

Many Nigerians believe the full package of the National Assembly members has always been shrouded in secrecy with only a part of it partially disclosed.
Remuneration of their counterparts globally is public knowledge. For the President to declare they are wrongly perceived without publicly stating what they earn (in full with with allowances and privileges) so the earnings may be compared to their performances, something is fishy.
The popular opinion is that the President is romancing the National Assembly for selfish gains.

Hon Bamidele Faparusi; Ekiti State Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities  recently gave an insight into the remunerations of the  State House of Assembly and National Assembly members: “… How much is the salary that you want to reduce by 50%? If a Commissioner is taking N320,000, how do you reduce it by half ? My General Manager in my private office is earning more than me presently, even as a commissioner. I’m doing almost 24 hours work and still have political responsibilities, people are coming to seek assistance here and there. You have followers, you are a politician, people expect so much from you, so if you say you are halving it, it is better you say it is a voluntary work, then you come to work when you choose to come and attend to people at your leisure. I don’t see the remuneration as exorbitant as people portrayed it.
When you look at the National Assembly, the salary of Reps member is N700,000, while that of Senator is N900,000, which is not too much. The overhead of the National Assembly is what they need to look at and not their salaries, the overhead is too much. Even that of governance is too high, people should focus on it, not remuneration of people in governance, their remuneration is okay, compared to what people in private sector is taking”.

Honourable Faparusi made this disclosure while respond to the call by Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) that top civil servants should cut their salaries in half to tackle the challenges the state governments were facing in education, health and other critical sectors.

President Buhari argued further that the lack of trust in the lawmakers had made their critics not to see the enormous work they were doing for the country.

Buhari said this in Abuja on Wednesday when the House of Representatives launched The Green Chamber Magazine, a publication by the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs.

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At the event were the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who represented the President; Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, representing President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Governor of Katsina State and former Speaker of the House, Bello Masari; Governor of Imo State and former member of the Senate, Hope Uzodinma, among others.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, led principal officers and members to the event.

Buhari, speaking through Mohammed, said the parliamentarians did not share money without working.

He said, “Hitherto, the public perception of the National Assembly is that of a bicameral legislature where overly comfortable and highly-overpaid members merely stuff wads of currency notes into their pockets for little work done. This wrong perception has resulted partly from the lack of understanding of the enormous work of lawmakers, especially outside the glare of television cameras.

“But with a magazine that will be the authoritative source of anything that goes on in the House – motions being moved, bills being passed, national issues being discussed and constituency projects – the public will be better informed on the activities of the House, and this will in turn reflect in an improved public perception.

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“In addition, it will help the House to tell its own story, rather than relying on others to take charge of their narrative. It is said that no one can tell your story better than you.”

A former Director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission and Director of the Kenya School of Laws, Prof. Plo Lumumba, who was a keynote speaker at the event, asked if the lawmakers were following the footsteps of Nigeria’s founding fathers who, he said, had a clear vision for the country.

He said, “I read your great founding leaders. I read the works of Nnamdi Azikiwe and I listened to him in those early days. He was as eloquent as he was passionate in telling Nigerians and Africans – because he was called the Zik of Africa – that leadership is about service. This magazine is an occasion for you to demonstrate to Africa that you are servant-leaders.

“I did not only read about Nnamdi Azikiwe, I also read

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about Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in his younger days – eloquent and passionate about Nigeria. You may not have agreed with all that he said and did, but you cannot deny the fact, the clarity of vision and the need for marshalling the people as the only antidote to the problems that have afflicted Nigeria, and by extension Africa.

“Now that you have been given the honour and privilege of serving Nigeria, now that Nigerians and Africans refer to you as honourable members, the question is: are you honourable members or horrible members? The question as to whether you are honourable members is determined by the service that you render to the people.”

In his remarks, Gbajabiamila stated that Nigeria would not have returned to democracy without the role played by the press.

He said, “I can say with absolute confidence, that  our democratic settlement could never have been achieved without the noble daring of the press. Those unsung heroes who understood the power of the written word and wielded it in passionate denunciation of the tyranny that sought to consume us all.

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