by Ayo Opeoluwa
The Federal government has ordered the sale of two presidential Jets in its fleet.
This is probably a response to the various call and criticisms from all quarters calling on the president to reduce the number of jets in the presidential fleet which is said to be up to 10. There had been unconfirmed reports that the cost of maintaining the presidential fleet is a whooping N5.3 billion per annum.
Perhaps it is a democratic characteristics that the President bows to pressure from the people. But the reality is that advocacy can only be carried out on issues that are known to the populace, there are several issues that are shrouded in secrecy which the populace cannot engage the government on. The issue of the presidential jets is just one in several.
In a period of recession such as this, the populace are not necessarily the ones to bear the brunt, government must show that it cares by also giving away their luxurious and exotic lifestyles. But the perception is always that the populace or the generality of the people are expected to pay more to service government’s deficit.
Yet even the state has to look inward and see if its paraphernalia of governance justifies the current situation. But beyond all these, what difference does the sale of just two aircrafts out of ten has on the national accounts? could it actually be seen as an indication that the government is actually paying its own due in terms of sacrifice at a time such as this? why two, why not five? what is the criteria for selecting that meager number of aircrafts to be sold?, could it just be a response on a face value to quell the issue, because we are less critical people who do not follow up on matters of national importance neither do we exactly specify what we want.
What happens after the sale of the two?, What happens to the funds, to which venture is the remittance going? would the government disclose the exact amount they got from the sale of the aircrafts, and do they have any plan of further depleting the fleet until we can justifiably afford the maintenance?
It is still the same thing all over, and that is why our kind of democracy is a suspicious one, the government never really trust its citizen and vice versa, but what happens after the announcement of this sale, are we as a people going to put a lid on the matter and not follow it up? are we going to engage the government and follow the matter to a logical conclusion, can we be specific about the sale of the aircrafts in the national fleet.
Two definitely is too small in a fleet of ten to eleven aircrafts, can we demand for transparency and accountability as regards this issue, can we also go beyond the national fleet shenanigans and cliché and beam search light on other areas of government where profligacy and waste are the order of the day. Can we trust the government to be accountable and transparent on this issue.
These are the many questions that we might never be able to answer except we take it upon ourselves to engage the government and not turn the other way having witnessed a supposed intention of government to correct an anomaly, but rather follow the matter to a logical conclusion and enforce accountability on the state.
This is what we believe at Ymonitor, it is not the end yet, until the state begins to go beyond its initial intention and announcement to being transparent and accountable in the process of implementation of its intention, until we can conveniently tell that the matter does not close at the point of announcement but the same way we were carried along at the first stage, we can be sure of getting the details of the matter as it unfolds, until that time when we can be sure of open governance, then we can begin to consider taking a nap, but before then these are questions begging for answers.