Satire Corner

6. The 12-year plan: Nigeria’s procrastination masterclass on Oronsaye Report

Let’s kindly look at the long-awaited implementation of the Oronsaye Report, which stands as an excellent pointer to the Nigerian government’s knack for punctuality. Who needs timely reforms when you can simply wait 12 years? President Bola Tinubu’s directive on February 26, 2024, to dust off this bureaucratic relic is nothing short of a masterclass in procrastination.

Imagine the delight of discovering that the number of federal parastatals has skyrocketed from 541 to a staggering 1,316 since the report’s inception in 2011. It’s almost as if the previous governments took Oronsaye’s recommendations as a dare to generously triple their inefficiencies. After all, why merely cut costs when you can bloat the payroll and balloon the budget?

Speaking of budgets, the 2024 appropriation bill, a generous N28.7 trillion, allocated a whopping 43 percent to non-debt recurrent expenditure. And in a delightful twist of irony, the personnel cost for Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) is pegged at N4.9 trillion. Efficiency at its finest!

The report suggested merging the CCB, EFCC, and ICPC to streamline operations. But why follow through when you can maintain a trinity of agencies, each with its own hefty budget? EFCC gets N76.586 billion, ICPC N14.525 billion, and CCB N49 billion – because redundancy is evidently the new efficiency.

Also, combining NTDC, NCAC, and NOA into one mega-agency is the pinnacle of cost-cutting genius Nigeria has been waiting for, because nothing boosts efficiency like mixing up tourism, arts, and national orientation into a single bureaucratic cocktail.

And let’s not forget the no-job-loss-palliative promise. It’s almost endearing how the government assures workers of job security while plotting to merge and scrap agencies.

So now, the government has finally formed a 10-member committee to address the decade-old bureaucratic nostalgia. Perhaps more committees will be created to tackle the recommendations. So here we are, 12 years later, with a government ready to “scratch the surface” and call it reform.

5. The Kingdom of the Super Agencies: When Regulators Become Tycoons

Nigeria, the land of endless opportunity -especially if you’re a government agency with a knack for collecting fees, levies, and fines. Here, the true mark of success is not in public service or national development, but in how much revenue one can squeeze from businesses and citizens. The more money you can extract, the more you can spend, and if the law allows it, why not?

Let’s look into this fascinating world of Nigerian super agencies, where revenue collection and profligacy go hand-in-hand, creating a cycle so absurd, it might just be genius.

First up, we have the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC). These three musketeers of taxation are the epitome of fiscal gluttony. In 2024, they are set to collectively hoard N861.49 billion. For context, this is more than the National Judicial Council and the National Assembly combined. Imagine a tax collector who earns more than the judges who rule on tax disputes and the legislators who write tax laws. The irony is delicious.

Then there’s the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), which has turned into a cash-sucking behemoth. Scheduled to rake in N776.45 billion in 2024, this entity alone will receive more than 470% of the National Judicial Council’s budget. It’s like giving your vacuum cleaner a separate bank account and watching it accumulate more wealth than the house it cleans.

Our heroes in the second tier of fiscal gluttony include the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). These agencies are the embodiment of middle-management excess, siphoning funds from specific revenue streams they don’t even generate. It’s the bureaucratic equivalent of getting paid just for showing up.

The crème de la crème, however, are the third-category agencies like the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC). In 2023, FCCPC generated N56 billion, mostly from penalties against businesses. They graciously remitted N22.4 billion to the federal government, keeping the lion’s share for themselves. From raising N154 million in 2017 to N33.6 billion in 2023, this growth rate would make any startup founder weep with envy.

But why stop there? These agencies have mastered the art of lavish spending. They allocate billions for office furniture, staff retreats, and long service awards. The FIRS plans to spend N26.52 billion on new offices, because clearly, tax collection needs the ambiance of luxury.

One might think that such blatant excess would attract scrutiny and reform. But in Nigeria, the answer to a super agency’s bloat is to create more super agencies. Each new entity clamors for its piece of the revenue pie, perpetuating a cycle of fiscal absurdity that is as hilarious as it is tragic.

In conclusion, Nigeria’s super agencies are a solid proof to how creative accounting and legislative loopholes can transform public service into a lucrative enterprise. They remind us that in the exciting corridors of Nigerian bureaucracy, the true path to prosperity lies not in innovation or efficiency, but in mastering the fine art of collecting and spending other people’s money.

Welcome to the Nigerian Mirage, where the road to fiscal heaven is paved with public fund, and the potholes are lined with gold.

4. The White Lion’s Dance with the EFCC

The former governor of Kogi State, or more precisely, the former White Lion of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has recently managed to turn a serious corruption charge into a riveting reality show.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with its noble mandate to fight corruption, finds itself in a bizarre dance-off with the self-describing Lion, a man whose tenacity for evasion could give Olympic sprinters a run for their money.

The saga unfolded like a Nollywood thriller, with Bello slipping through the EFCC’s fingers at his opulent residence in Abuja. The plot thickened as Bello, accused of laundering a staggering N80 billion, moved from court to court, trying to evade justice with the grace of a ballet dancer.

Maybe his bold escapades made him think of himself as a White Lion, though a ‘White Rabbit’ would be more fitting given his penchant for running, because despite the EFCC with an abundance of operatives besieging his house, only for him to vanish like smoke, the agency’s expertise is somewhat stretched thin.

Amidst this chaos, one can’t help but marvel at the irony. The EFCC, guardian of Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade, found itself outwitted by a former governor playing hide-and-seek. But the struggle continues, with each side perfecting its role in this tragicomic saga of Nigerian politics.

Now, as the anti-graft agency’s Chairman has pledged to bring him to justice, one has to admire Bello’s audacity. After all, who knew fighting corruption could be this entertaining?

#satirecorner


3. The $75m Training for Dummies: Abuja Metro Rail Edition

As usual, here comes another story of Nigerian leaders’ dubious extravagance. We are talking about the noble endeavor of training personnel for the Abuja Light Rail project at only $75 million, a mere pittance compared to the original $128 million.

Surely, training Nigerian personnel to oversee railway signals at 12 stations must be akin to teaching rocket science. Perhaps, it’s because they need to master the ancient art of turning trains into spaceships.

Minister Wike’s Herculean effort to cut down the cost to $75 million is nothing short of legendary. One can only marvel at the complexity of the additional work required. After all, cleaning up 12 stations must be as arduous as scrubbing the Great Wall of China with a toothbrush.

Meanwhile, the military’s reluctance to share land in Maitama 2 District is the plot twist we didn’t see coming. Their steadfast grip on barracks ensures civilians remain at bay, thus keeping the budget a cool N1.15 trillion.

And so Wike’s promise to negotiate with the military, because, of course, diplomacy is always easier than simply building elsewhere – adds another layer to this epic saga. A true testament to the complexities of urban development in Nigeria, especially when politics denies transparency a chance!

2. Emefiele: The Nigeria’s Picasso of Paper Money

One of the most popular symphonies of corruption recently played out in Nigeria’s apex bank, CBN, where after a series of allegations that trailed its immediate former Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Nigerians woke up to another dizzying shock.

With a flourish of his pen, Emefiele allegedly orchestrated the printing of N684.5 million fresh naira notes using N18.96 billion. You heard it right. It means using N18.96 million to print cash that’s of 27000% less value.

But, well, justice has prevailed as the honorable court granted our fiscal hero bail to the tune of a mere N300 million. A small price to pay for a man of such distinguished pedigree, wouldn’t you agree?

The allegation, whether true or false, isn’t surprising as Emefiele is not merely a one-hit wonder. He has a repertoire of charges against him that would make even the most audacious embezzler blush with envy. From breaching court orders to disobeying the sacred directives of the Central Bank Act, Emefiele’s portfolio of alleged offenses reads like the greatest compilation of corruption.

And let us not forget the pièce de résistance: the naira swap policy, a stroke of genius that transformed the nation’s currency into a political pawn in the game of electoral chess. You know, the lengths one would go to in order to combat vote buying.

Yet amidst the chaos and controversy, one thing remains certain: in the theatre of Nigeria’s public management where honesty is a foreign concept and integrity is as elusive as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, Emefiele’s legacy as the Picasso of Paper Money will surely endure for generations to come.

  1. Three in-laws and a sibling in court

In the grand spectacle of Nigerian politics, where honesty and integrity are as rare as unicorns, we witness yet another riveting episode: A father, daughter and son-in-law recently gathered in court over corruption charges. The family that embezzles together, stays together, right?

Our protagonist, the ‘illustrious’ former minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, stands tall amidst the corruption allegations, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of ethical bankruptcy. His daughter and son-in-law, Fatima and Jalal, charmingly joined the fray, completing the scheme of familial fiscal impropriety. It’s almost heartwarming, isn’t it?

They weren’t content with merely fleecing the nation; they had to spice things up with some consultancy roles in the failed Nigerian Air saga. Because nothing screams professionalism like hiring your own kin for a national project destined for failure.

Allegations, you say? Oh, just a trifling matter of consultancy roles in the grand spectacle of Nigerian Air’s spectacular nosedive into oblivion. It seems that even in the noble pursuit of a national carrier, there’s always room for a bit of family business on the side.

We thought we had seen it all until the EFCC unearthed another family member to complete the cast. The former aviation minister’s younger brother, Ahmad Sirika, and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, were involved in a staggering N19.4 billion fraud case. With contracts allegedly funneled to a family-owned enterprise, it seems the ties of blood run deep in this tale of financial folly.

So, let us raise our glasses to this illustrious trio, plus 1, and probably others, whose exploits remind us that in the grand opera of life, one must always have a few in-laws in court to keep things interesting.

#LampoonCorner#transparency#publicsectorintegrity #001