Becoming a millionaire has never been easier. In Nigeria, the quickest way to become a millionaire is not to marry rich, but to simply become a member of the National Assembly. Despite my recent suggestion that lawmakers follow the example of the Ivory Coast and take a pay cut, Nigeria's legislators have increased their pay by over 100%. According to news reports,
As such, a Senator will now receive approximately $21,000 plus a wardrobe allowance, a newspaper allowance and an additional assortment of incredible perks. A member of the House of Representatives will in turn receive approximately $16,800 and their own set of allowances and perks. Nevertheless, these individuals are all millionaires in Nigeria's currency, the Naira."the basic salary of a Senator has increased from N993,697 to N2,484,242.50, while that of a member of the House of Representatives has been jerked up from previous annual salary of N794,084 to N1,985,212.50."
Now, that might not seem like an exorbitant amount to some, but please consider that according to the United Nations and the World Bank, over 9 out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. Therefore, the majority of Nigerians are dirt poor! It is therefore ridiculous that those with the responsibility to work for the masses are becoming millionaires off the poverty of their constituents.
whether or not Yar'Adua should receive a pay hike, reader, Ade, responded in the comments,
"If we want to attract decent candidates for public office, we need to move towards paying them a decent salary - nothing outrageous just decent - look at what is paid to parliamentarians in the Europe and America....."I understood Ade's line of thinking then and now. However, I see things a little differently and believe that this view is not applicable to the current leadership in Nigeria. For the 'representatives of the people' to have not introduced comparable legislation to increase the living wages of their constituents is purely unconscionable. Nigerians don't even have access to regular power supply. They have to deal with the reality that food is extremely expensive. Their children's teachers are on strike and of course, they face a constant lack of security, but yet their elected representatives are now millionaires. Even Imnakoya goes as far as to state what many are thinking -
"I would have no qualms if those law makers are the true representatives of the people. But they are not."[sic]Alas, I share his opinion on this one. This simply confirms the growing argument that Nigeria does not have leaders with the people's interest at heart or even on their mind. These men and women are not worthy of this pay hike and unfortunately, they will bathe themselves in the lap of undeserved luxury, nonetheless.
* - For currency conversion, I used Coin Mill and the conversions were done on Thursday, August 21, 2008.
Hattip to Imnakoya.
- Look To The Ivory Coast For Inspiration
- Should Yar'Adua Get A Pay Raise?