After the week of quasi-hiatus following their inauguration, delegates to the 2014 National Conference will be readying ‘to die on top the matter’ later today in Abuja. Needless to say, speculations abound.
I happened upon the following conversation in a Nigerian chat room:
(names and bits of the conversation(majorly semantics) have been altered for privacy sake and for better reading)
Ogo: Abeg any info on the confab?
Stone: Is it how our resources are being wasted?
Oma: Those guys are gonna sit and talk nuffin new and may even fight, and at the end, walk away wiv #12million each. What can be crazier dan dat and of more interest?
Stone: Ogo, nothing new will spring forth
Stone: All of them na the same crew
Lota: I believe something will spring forth. The national conference is a great idea
Oma: How do you mean?
Ugo: I agree. At least it will take some steam off the nation
JD: I think the confab is ok oh. 12 million…like that’s anything compared to the daily loot. Let’s hope for the best, I agree with Lota and Ugo. I mean, 12 million over 3 months? Do you know how much your senators cart home for a day’s sitting?!! Check am nah
Ugo: Anything that can take off steam from the nation is welcomed cos we are at the brink of cracking up or military intervention
JD: I wonder what people thought…that they’d bring people to discuss National issues for 3months and give them 10,000 naira each? Even if na boarding school dem go…mschewww
Oma: My major bone of contention is what are they discussing? We’ve discussed enough, what we need is implementation abeg
JD: If I were those delegates, I’d donate the money back to the National purse. 4 million monthly is not so much…we too dey complain.
Nd: //thumbs-up smiley// @JD
Stone: Here, action speaks louder than words. Is it not for the benefit of Nigerians? Charity work will make more sense there, selfless service to the nation.
Stone: Please JD research on those delegates; they’re the formal people eating our money
JD: What for?
Stone: Dr Sam Egwu, formal governor of Ebonyi state
JD: And I thought you were a man of faith. Where is thy faith now?
Stone: I am a faith of man. *Man of faith. My church sef na Living Faith Chapel aka Winners
Ugo: Bia Man of Faith, will you bring people together without providing accommodation?
JD: Omo ehn! I tire oh! Charity ko, selfless service ni. Shei u no be Naijarian again? Na wa oh
Stone: all those things have been taken care of. Why the extra cost?
Ugo: The planning is actually great. Which extra cost?
Stone: Yeah the planning is great but
Ugo: But what na?
Stone: Nnaa ehn…abeg make those guys go flex their money. 12 million is too small for me sef; if to say I go there, na 35 million DOLLARS I for collect J
JD: see ya life! On top say u no sabi the difference between ‘former’ and ‘formal’, who wan pay you 35 million kobo sef?!!
Stone: Enyi a, commot there. this jedijedi wey dey worry you go soon purge you
And it degenerated into good-natured ribbing in the sporadically incomprehensive manner associated with chatrooms.
My take on the matter is this:
I think Ogo started out well by asking about the conference. Unfortunately, nobody answered her question, not even JD, Ugo or Lota who were clearly proponents of the idea. One wouldn’t need to ponder for too long to realize why – WE DO NOT KNOW. It’s easy to sit and say “urgh! It’s a waste already” or “Oh well, I think it will turn out great”, but not so easy to do the needful – make enquiries, read newspaper articles and watch the news in order to stay updated with proceedings.
If the members of this chatroom, for example, did perhaps JD would have been pleased to realize that his idea of donating the allowance back to the National purse is shared by few men like Tunde Bakare who have announced their intentions to do just that. Perhaps Stone would have realized that those allowances actually cover the costs of accommodation for those delegates many of whom will be coming from outside the FCT with aides. Perhaps the trend following Ogo’s initial question would have been something along the lines of points to be debated at the conference such as federalism, security, education, etc. There might be some bad eggs in the form of previous ‘leaders’ who wreaked havoc on the system during their tenures, but there are also a few good men who have done well with their little ‘flock’ in different parts of the country; and the only reward for good work, we all know, is more work. So why not?
One thing is clear, Nigeria patriotism is still very much alive. However, we must refrain from letting the occasional pinch of an old burn-scar hinder us from ever cooking another meal. I personally had some initial scruples with the amount of money being doled out as allowance to the delegates rounding off to NGN 100,000 daily, I maybe even still do. But if that is the price that has to be paid for us to make some headway – no matter how minimal – as a nation, then it would be the smallest price so far and by all means, should be paid.
We cried a similar ‘FOUL’ when President Jonathan proposed the total removal of subsidy and I warned against it (see what I wrote). We all can see where the compromise that was eventually reached due to our collective stubbornness has left us.
Only a mad man acts in the same manner, every time and expects a different result.
What is your take?