The misplacement of priority in the act of governance has become one recurring issue in Nigeria since the advent of the Fourth Republic; from the federal down to the local government level. The government at all levels appears to be coming up with projects that are not necessarily relevant nor have any direct impact on her citizens as against projects that have direct impact or beneficial to the people. In some instance, white elephant projects that are not achievable are budgeted for, even when those in government know that these projects cannot be achieved, yet set them up for the sole purpose of embezzling public funds.
At a time when there is so much focus on the high raising level of poverty in the northern part of Nigeria, the Zamfara state government is budgeting a whopping sum of N7billion for the construction of a new government house. This is not to say that the present government house in the state has any problem, but the governor has prioritized the construction of a modern state of the art government house to the pressing issues demanding the urgent attention of the state government.
An unconfirmed report has it that over 600,000 children are out of school in Zamfara state because of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, and this has led to the increase in the rate of crime and insecurity in the state. A sane government should have read the sign of time and be able to understand what the people want rather than trying to waste a whopping N7billion that is not going to be beneficial to the teeming poor masses in the state.
If well and properly managed, N7billion should be able to create enough jobs in the state, construct schools and hospitals as that is what the people of the state need at the moment rather than a new government house. Politicians in power should learn how not to be selfish as to always relegate the pressing needs of the electorates for their personal comfort; if they truly understand that power is transient, most of them will change their bad ways and live up to the electioneering campaign promises made to the people.
The people of Zamfara state and notable civil society groups operating in the state should rise up against this obnoxious intention of the state governor which cannot be said to have the interest of the citizens of the state at heart. A good government elected by the people can only be said to have provided good governance and the dividends of democracy only when the yearnings and aspirations of the governed have been met; anything short of this is bad governance and a total misplacement of the priority of governance.
By Azowue O. Emmanuel