Reports suggest that just two unnamed animals inside the Presidential zoo will enjoy the luxury of spending about N34.5m this year alone. That is what the reports say form part of the 2014 budget national. A friend after reading the reports which have caused uproar in the National Assembly jokingly told yours sincerely that he won’t mind being one of the animals or run into the zoo to increase the number of the animals to three which should attract to him N17.2m since the two existing animals will share a staggering N34.5m.
Perhaps when Daniel was cast into the Lions den according to Biblical story he would have loved to stay with the lions forever if he was assured that he would get the kind of money proposed for the upkeep of the two unmentioned animals in Aso Villa for 2014. In fact all Nigerians at the moment want to be Presidential animals if that is what it will take to cash a whopping N17.2m yearly.
Interestingly those who condemned former President Olusegun Obasanjo for building a Presidential Library worth billions of naira after leaving office are now applauding the decision because at least human beings will use the library and enjoy its comfort even though the edifice is not meant for the poor. But for two animals to enjoy N34.5m for just been privilege to be inside the Presidency is really startling even as Nigerians understand that it is a reality.
These animals are indeed lucky, infact luckier than man. Millions of working Nigerians cannot save N500,000 in three years yet government can budget N34.5m for animals. How I wish I can gain access into the zoo to catch a glimpse of the sizes of these animals just to give me an idea of the quantity and quality of food they can consume daily.
I still doubt that this government with all the pressure and attacks it is getting from all sorts of angles both fairly and unjustly will allow someone who obviously is insensitive to the plights of President Goodluck Jonathan to include or accommodate such figure or allocation with such ridiculous underlining reason into the national budget. If it is true then, the staff or team that prepared the budget should be prosecuted for attempting to bring the government and office of the President to disrepute. I want to believe that Jonathan is unaware of the inclusion of N34.5m for two animals in our national budget for 2014. Someone somewhere is playing a script written by Mr. President’s political enemies.
I now see the need for Jonathan to flush out some ministers like he promised late last year to change his cabinet. Jonathan obviously has saboteurs in his cabinet and the man is not safe. If it is true that such amount was allocated to animals in the Presidential zoo then, I make bold to say that Mr. President should come out to condemn it just like he did in the “letter bomb” of Obasanjo. Nigerians really need an explanation for such derogatory act.
It is derogatory because the action rubs in the pains and agony of unemployment suffered by millions in the country. In a country where securing employment or job is now a luxury, it is sad and indeed wicked to budget N34.5m for mere animals when there are unemployed graduates roaming about the streets of Nigeria. The action simply means that government values lives of animals more than human beings. If we are in a country where there is surplus for all. Surplus in terms of food, jobs and good life then, it won’t be a crime to vote an outrageous N34.5m for animals. But here we are living in a country where the cost of living is to say the least high above the skies.
It is therefore criminal for animals to get Presidential attention when human beings are yet to get the attention of local government chairmen. Most Federal roads are death traps. Nigerians are dying daily as a result of poverty and malnutrition. Lives and properties are now toys to armed robbers, kidnappers and assassins. Quality education is now out of the reach of the poor as private schools and universities have taken over in the face of poor and irregular salaries of public schools teachers. Voting such large amount of money for animals is tantamount to insensitivity of government to the plight of Nigerians.
Just as Nigerians are waiting to hear the final word from the Presidency on the N225m bulletproof cars bought at the instance of the Aviation Minister, they are hearing of the laughable budget for animals. It goes to show that those accusing this government of paying lip service to the fight against corruption may be right after all.
In closing I wish to state clearly that President Jonathan is not a corrupt man. He is not in the know of this scandalous allocation to his animals. Therefore Nigerians should direct their anger over the budget allocation for animals to the team that prepared the budget. I also share the view of most Nigerians who argue that until the Presidency speak out to condemn the allocation of the two animals, they will continue to assume that the Presidency is an accomplice in this shameful act.
Those who do not want Jonathan to run for 2015 election or see out his two terms if he so wishes are doing everything to frustrate him. Mr. President the N34.5M budgetary allocation for your animals is part and one of those frustrations. Watch your back. Those who prepared the budget or adviced for the inclusion of the animals allocation are your enemies.