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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Why you should become a senator in Nigeria

By Tonye Bakare,

I came across this quite depressing image on The Guardian’s Facebook page yesterday night. At first, it was funny. Then a few seconds later, it wasn’t. At this time, I had become puzzled by the revelation. Not much because I tried to calculate what fraction of the total my salary would represent, or how much my total cost of living in the last three years (yes, I keep a journal for my inflow and outflow) suddenly didn’t ‘make sense.’ And when I consider my working hours? Naaah, this can’t be right.

Nigerian senators work for short hours weekly [that’s if being a senator is actually a job] that allows you to exchange banters with your colleagues for short hours weekly, and ultimately, to sleep on the job without any consequence. They are also called law-makers, which is as correct as calling HND-holders graduates in Nigerian labour force.

Perhaps more irking is the money that follows this undefined role that lacks KPIs. Who gets N13.5 million monthly for being – yes, just being. And that’s not even the full package. There’s still N750,000 monthly salary and a constituency project allowance of N200 Million [which is disbursed by the Executive]. In case you only speak in Pounds and Dollars, N13.5 Million is approximately £27, 000 or $37, 500.

A little perspective from global public office holders.

According to the Metro UK, Madam Theresa May currently earns £150, 402 a year. That figure includes the basic salary for an MP – currently set at £74, 962. This means that a Nigerian senator gets FREELY in six months what a British prime minister earns in a year.

Tweeter-in-chief President Donald Trump basic annual salary as an American president is $400 000. A Nigerian senator gets that same amount in less than eleven months. If that is not a bonanza, I don’t know what else is.

Since China’s Xi Jinping annual salary is $20,593, he can, technically, be an employee of a Nigerian senator.

The most powerful woman in the world Angela Merkel earns $21,912, which obviously is less than $37, 500 free money our senators get every month.

In fact, a Nigerian senator can afford to pay Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s $12,586 monthly salary and still have some loose change to pay Pope Francis’ $0 annual salary.

Only last Thursday, in celebrating International Women’s Day, Guardian TV published an exclusive feature on Lagos’ Highway sweepers who earn N12, 000 monthly. Many of these women who age between 39 and 55, work five days a week sweeping Lagos roads plied by a lot of reckless drivers and motorcyclists. They have zero health or life insurance yet are breadwinners of their families for the paltry sum they are paid sometimes belatedly.

So why should you become a senator in Nigeria? Really, it’s up to you.

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