The recent face-off between the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, over the budget and the state of the economy, is another repulsive scenario. The Committee had asked the Minister to furnish it with answers to a set of fifty questions which the minister obliged it (the committee).
At the weekend, however, the Committee, through its Chairman, Honourable Abdulmumini Jibrin, rejected the minister’s response, insisting that “some questions were either not answered, partially answered, ignored or completely misunderstood”. Consequent upon this, the minister has been sent another set of fifty questions and mandated to appear before the committee for further questioning.
This latest drama of the absurd is the ongoing fiasco involving the All Progressives Congress and the Federal Government in which the former justifiably directed its members in the National Assembly to filibuster on debate regarding the 2014 Appropriation Bill.
These two scenarios are intimately related – half-truth is being presented to the public as the truth. Anyone who is familiar with the way members of the National Assembly, especially those of the lower house, have been conducting their affairs – particularly in regard to issues of finance – cannot fail to note that the ostensible purpose of the so-called fifty questions is for Nigeria to have a more robust economy but the real goal, one can make bold to say, is self-service. In a House where some of the members have, at various times in the past, been incriminated of ignoble financial crimes (remember Faruk Lawal?) and certificate forgery (remember Salisu Buhari?), and where there has never been probity and accountability in financial matters, what else does one expect but the present scenarios.
No nation can expect to be great if the leaders will always think that they can always pull the wool over the eyes of the citizenry. For sooner than later, it would be revealed that no matter for how long falsehood may have been travelling, it will take only a moment for the truth to catch up with it. A note of warning: Nigerians are watching. We are gearing up for a purge, and anyone caught in the vortex of our collective action will have only himself or herself to blame!