August 13, 2012
The Nation [from] Africa Today
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I can’t believe that such a statement will come from Kwakwanso- I must say that I am really impressed. Hajj and christian pilgrimage sponsorship are some of several ways government funds are stolen.Others are government funds used as gifts for VIPs on festivities and birthdays.
I remember a time when I was in a government appointed committee, one attribute of our chairman for which I was very impressed was on occasions when we had to give gifts to members for one thing or the other- like birthdays, funerals etc, he always insisted that we contributed from our individual purses rather than appropriate public funds from the committee’s account. The lesson here is that a gift should come from the heart and not from funds that belong to someone else. The way our politicians use public funds for such useless purposes like congratulating governors, first ladies, ministers etc for such innocuous purposes as 39th, 42nd birthdays, paying visitations etc on pages of newspapers is sickening.
It is so easy to spend public funds for what they will never spend their money on.
Dear Mr. Ajasin,
Thanks for weighing in on this often volatile subject.
I think we all owe Kwankwaso a debt of gratitude for being courageous – yeah, considering where (not the place) he’s coming from. I am heartened by your Committee Chair in the past who came up with that ingenious idea because I bet it led to affordable gifts. I knew of a govt agency where a refrigerator was given to someone after 2 years of “service” and when I asked the boss of the unit why that kind of gift, he just waved me aside with “it’s the way things are done”. If the staff had had to contribute money for a refrigerator, I bet they would have re-considered.
May be there is hope for Nigeria with a state governor like this.
I am happy that this comes from a Muslim leader.
In the first instance, although Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the Pillars of Islam, it is,in fact, the last one. Allah only makes it compulsory once in a life time PROVIDED YOU ARE RICH ENOUGH TO AFFORD IT ( capitals mine).
Hence, government sponsoring people introduces politics into it. Of course, individuals rich enough are permitted to sponsor others, like one sponsoring his dad, mum, relations, friends or those not related to him.
Government has no business using public funds to sponsor people to Mecca or Jerusalem. Kwankwaso has revealed the way they use it to steal. Only seeing the figures not seeing any analysis. It should be stopped entirely.
Also another way Moslem and Christian festivities are used to steal money is government giving people money for rams and turkeys during Eids and Christmas. This is really absurd. If government wants to have business in both (pilgrimage and rams and turkeys), it has to be done and given to everybody in the State old and young, male and female, rich or poor. This is not the aim with which Pa Awolowo established it in the Old Western Region. Pilgrim Welfare Boards was established to help take care of pilgrims in the Holy lands.
Security votes should also be abrogated from our constitution since some governors have kicked against it. But, I am sure, removal will not receive the blessings of many in government until we are ready to fight corruption.
May God let us see the light.
Thanks v. much for this.
I am also happy that your comments are those of a Muslim, a true one as I know your views on important social issues that seem to have drawn a line between Christians and Moslems in Nigeria, especially Moslems in Northern Nigeria. I am not surprised, though, at Kwankwaso’s statements because I’ve read some of his views in newspaper reports and interviews, especially before the 2011 elections when he campaigned for the presidency.
Of course Nigerians know it’s another huge hole in an annual budget that is perhaps mostly implemented in areas like pilgrimages, travels by government officials and other non-performing areas.
I have personally have written on putting an end to the Hajj and Jerusalem pilgrimages, including “Time to stop government’s sponsorship of holy pilgrimages” some years ago.
In 2010, Nigerian government expended N1.5 billion on pilgrimages while Oyo State’s former governor, Alao Akala’s government sponsored “over 1,000 (a thousand) of the 1,500 pilgrims that went for the Hajj. Here is a statement credited to the bejeweled one on the profligacy of government-sponsored Christian and Moslem pilgrimages:
Said Mr Akala, “If these 1,500 and another 1,500 that will be going to Jerusalem bring along 10 each to vote for us, then we will be here again next year to do this kind of programme for another set. As you are going to the holy land, you will pray. Pray for the peaceful co-existence of the country and that of the state. Pray for us to return to power in the next election, and encourage another 10 people to vote for us in the election,” he told the crowd
Here is another mind-boggling information on the 2011 Hajj:
Of the over 1.6 million foreign pilgrims in Saudi Arabia for the 2010 Hajj, 85,000, or 5.3 percent, are Nigerians. Over 25,000 Christians took part in Christian pilgrimage that year for a total of 110,000 Nigerians in religious obligations which are nothing but personal choices that should call for personal financial responsibility.
And with those kinds of figures pumping money into a Saudi economy that hardly needs it, one would expect some respect for Nigerian pilgrims. No, no, no. Three years ago or so, there were news reports that planes airlifting Nigerians to Mecca were banned to a very far corner of the airport where no other planes were parked. Meanwhile, when it was time for Nigerians to return home, they were not air-lifted which resulted in some angry drama by the pilgrims.
Now that Kwankwaso has spoken, it would be great to have this become a groundswell.
The prayer of Akala to return to Agodi House was not answered simply to show that God (Allah) does not support lies or deceits, even if the pilgrims prayed so in Mecca. I wish God is quick in answering our prayers to remove these bad ones from governance. It is only human beings we can deceive not God.
Thanks. The former governor’s imbecilic “prayers” were naturally unheard by God but on a serious note, Nigerians must back their prayers to God, Allah, etcetera with the will to refuse the imposition of leaders who not only steal us dry but whose levels of thinking and understanding issues diminish us all.
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