Discerning minds would recall the basic responsibilities of a government to its people as espoused in O.A. Lawal’s high school economics text book, thus: Every government is responsible to its people in the areas of food, clothes, and shelter. This threesome is the kernel around which everything else revolves and if a government can fulfil its obligations in these areas everything else naturally falls into place as a result of hard work of the population in general and the breadwinner in particular.
Thus, it is still a surprise that no governor in Nigeria, past or present, has quite got this basic tenet of governance right; it is a shame that nearly all the governors think that the monthly financial allocation from the central government in Abuja is to serve and swell their personal egos and the egos of their families, friends, and administrative associates. By failing in their primary responsibilities, especially in the area of providing decent accommodation, Nigerians then wallow in slum dwellings a couple of notches below pigsties, with raw sewage for company and preventable diseases here and there.
It most times, befuddles the imagination to contemplate how our governors are happy to carry on amidst this deprivation as if all is well whilst expending so much resource on themselves to keep up appearances and dine with foreign dignitaries who are always left aghast as to how a people can be so poor in the midst of plenty.
If truth must be told, it is not the responsibilities of low-income earners to strive to acquire plots of land in city centres and then commence to deface these locales by building slum apartment dwellings; it is the responsibility of state governors to build decent template-based housing units with sewage processing and all-encompassing external concrete-flooring or tarmac-flooring thrown in the midst to discourage breeding of pests like flies, mosquitoes, fleas, gnats and vermin like rats and cockroaches.
People only aspire to build their own homes when their levels of income have improved markedly. When government has built homes for the people, the challenges of providing food and clothing significantly pales because Nigerians would toil and sweat to ensure that this duo can be got with minimal government assistance. Thus, now is the time to stop issuing complicated policy statements and promises and get down to the act of simple governance.
Sunday Adole Jonah writes from Minna, Niger State