John Adams, Minna
As Nigeria enters into it worst recession in history, a former Commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism and Chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has advised the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello to immediately slash the salaries and allowances of political office holders in the state if the government must cope with the present Economic realities.
“We can not pretend that things are bad and especially now that the country seems to have practically entered into worst recession in history, so the present situation and structure calls for drastic adjustments in all aspect of our lives”.
Vatsa, a Chieftain of APC and former publicity secretary of the party in the state stated this in Minna on Saturday while reacting to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest report that the country has entered it worst recession in history, saying that the only option left for government at all levels now is “a holistic structural adjustment” to be able to cope with the present realities.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator, Public Affairs to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello believed that the first step towards coping with the present situation is to immediately slash both the salaries and allowances of all categories of public office holder, “including my humble self. That is the first step”.
According to him, “by so doing the government would be able to fund all ongoing projects, especially roads projects across the state and pay civil servants their salaries”, adding that the idea of looking for other source of funding for ongoing projects in terms of loan “will be a suicide mission for the government”.
It could be recalled that the governor had in his budget speech before house of assembly last week disclosed that the government is exploring various funding arrangements for the completion of road projects across the state in addition to seeking necessary attention from the Federal Government to do the needful on its Roads that crisscross the State.
But Vatsa pointed out that any other source of funding for the ongoing roads projects in the state amount to taking loan which he insisted is not healthy for the government, rather “am advising the governor to first of all slash the salaries and allowances of all of us holding political office in the state.
“From the governor to the lowest person holding political office in the state should be ready to make some sacrifices. This present economic situation in the country calls for practical approach to governance”.
On the current economic situation in the country, Vatsa said the ruling All Progressive Congress must apologize to Nigerians because “honestly speaking this is not what we promised Nigerians. Something went wrong somewhere and I think we must be courageous enough to apologize to Nigerians who believed in us and voted for in 2015 and 2019.
“The way things are now, we no longer have any other excuse to give rather than to apologize to Nigerians. Some people might not be comfortable with my opinion but that is the hard truth”, he submitted.
Also on the current security situation in the state and the country in general, Vatsa said, “we are faced with the worst security challenge in history as a state and as a country. The system has collapsed and its only God that will help this country.
“The biting hardships is fueling insecurity in the country. We all that and unfortunately the security agents are well over stretched, you can’t give what you don’t have. We are at a cross road as a nation”.