Author Topic: THE N114,000 LUNCH PER DAY  (Read 1072 times)

Offline furtune

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« on: July 08, 2008, 02:23:36 PM »

We are in a country where a worker still earns as low as N250 per day (N7,500 per month), to take care of himself and his family, while a legislator consumes about 500 times that amount during a single lunch. In which case, if the ordinary man would need one plate of rice for N100 and two pieces of meat or fish for N50, the legislator would need 400 plates to be satisfied, or at least to be pleased. Yes, he normally cannot eat more than one good plate of rice like every other normal human being, or he becomes a medical patient.

A bottle of beer or Stout costs N150. His own will cost about N15,000, not even N1,000, as can be seen in some of the most expensive hotels. He needs N15,000 for it. For bottled water that costs between N25 and N75, he would need to pay N10,000 per bottle, so as to show that he is not only a legislator but also a member of the National Assembly. For sandwiches that cost between N50 and N200 apiece, the great National Legislator requires N7,000 for one. One may ask, before they became legislators, how much were they spending in their respective homes for lunch? I am sure, with the most lavish spending, no one would like to spend more than N500 and at most N1,000 for lunch??that is food and drink put together, unless on business trip, for which the company foots the bill, and he would surely prefer to be given that money to spend himself, in which case, in a month, he would be expected to spend N30,000 just for lunch. This is only for prodigal sons and we know already he is a mental case.

We recognise that the legislator has to be liberal in the circumstances surrounding his tenure in the House at least. He has to entertain friends, including media men and aides at the lunch. Surely, even at Hilton or Sheraton hotels, he would not be needing N10,000 for their meals; and one does not see NASS men storming these five-star hotels daily with their retinue for lunch. Occasionally, yes.

What often happens is that even if one allows them N2,000 for a lunch, the same ones would go to an equally neat and respectable hotel and spend about N500 or N1,000 at the most. Surely, there is no art work on his face or hand to say what he ate and where he ate it. If he is allowed N2,000 for a meal, and he spends it all, lest he be called at the end of the year to return unspent funds, then he needs a psycho-medical consultation. N2,000 for a meal is already too liberal for anyone single Nigerian, no matter his position or post in life. Let us tell ourselves the truth, if a company or any corporate body provides someone with N5,000 to spend for a lunch, unless the paymaster is there on the spot to offset the bill, that person will surely never dip his hand into his pocket and dish out N5,000 to the waiter, for he knows what that would do for him and his family for one or two days? breakfast, lunch and dinner, and eating nutritionally well; that is eating what they were eating, before the trip or the venture.

They were certainly not feeding at kwashiorkor levels, and this could be a respectable family of wife, husband and four children or even more. They would surely not spend N5,000 for a single meal, unless on a very special convivial occasion. From where then did the legislators come up with N114,000 for a single lunch per day? Granted, Abuja is an expensive place, and it hosts tens of thousands of people from the poorest to the richest, but I do not think that the middle class, to which the legislators belong, storm Hilton and Sheraton every afternoon for lunch, and yet they eat medically well, and at times even lavishly. Where then did N114,000 a meal arose from, if not from kleptomaniac intent?

What excuses have the legislators for this absurd figure if not with the intent of defrauding the taxpayer, whose money is now placed in the gallows and guillotines? This is not the best way to make tidy money. For one to demand N114,000 for which N5,000 would sumptuously do, is, to say the least, simply stealthy, not only before the eyes of man, but also before the eyes of God.

I also take note of the fact that some religious sectors need to feed a number of people each day, more or less as a duty, but if one robs Peter in order to pay Paul, then one is not only losing the targeted blessing from generosity and alms-giving, but bringing a curse on oneself, for the distributor of blessings knows the source of that money. Blessings exude when one feels the pinch of giving, not when it is just a master-to-slave relationship. In other words, one cuts one?s coat according to one?s cloth. This is where he would receive the blessings in full. I would therefore advise our legislators to consider N5,000 a day for their lunch. You need not tell your fellow Nigerians toiling for survival that you have been sent to Abuja to squander their hard earned money; or, on the other hand, that you have been elected into the parliament to reduce the Naira to roubles, and that is what you are doing when N115,000 is needed for a good plate of rice, yam, fufu, amala, or tuwo meal and drinks, when anything between N2,000 and N5,000 would richly do. Or do you eat something different from what we eat both in quantity and in quality?

Perhaps, your meals are specially prepared overseas and flown in, or that you chew gold and silver as meals. If that is the case, I would, healthwise, advise against it, for God has provided every topographic unit what is best and essential for their well-being, the outside ones being either mere complements or mere embellishments.

With the issue of meals come other hyper-inflated personal demands on the budget, which should be pruned down to about a tenth of what was there in the paper; otherwise, generations to come would always remember you as national sharks and hawks, and this would blur the novel work you are doing now with multilateral and multi-faceted probes on our economy and its operators, even though skepticisms about implementations thickly surround them, judging from the past.

Our legislators must enquire from their colleagues in Britain, America, Germany and France, to mention a few, how much they obtain for lunch, if ever there is such a thing. At lunch breaks, one only finds parliamentarians storming the nearby pubs and food houses, mixing freely with the electorate and sensing their feelings over various issues. They do not distance themselves from their people, neither do British lawmakers head for Hilton Hotel in London, or Lancaster House for their lunch. It is only Arab Sheikhs and European industrialists and super merchants that one finds there, not the ordinary businessman, let alone supposed servants of the people.

Our legislators should learn to be an example of modesty, as in developed nations. Not of flamboyance, as ultimately they would be the losers, unless it is not human beings that they are dealing with. What they are doing today is false life which ill-gotten wealth often attracts.

Nworah is former chairman of Anambra State Tourism Board.

NB: Azu?s column returns next Tuesday.


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« on: July 08, 2008, 02:23:36 PM »

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Offline IslandGirl

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2008, 04:43:14 AM »
N115,000 for a lunch?  Wow, that is over 2 months of food for my family of 4 sometimes 5, and I'm sure I spend a whole lot more on food than many others. 

We joke here about how the government will pay $5,000 for a hammer just because they are the government and can spend excessively.  I guess it doesn't matter where one lives, the government is going to be excessively flamboyant with money.
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Offline chris-jaxxmen

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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2008, 05:25:34 PM »
My Brother, If the statistics dey pain you,At the next election season run enter there better life Dey,abeg.
play low.

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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2008, 05:25:34 PM »