My very good friend and professional colleague,Godswill Ayemoba, wondered aloud as we were debating Nigeria, how much it cost this country to keep our ailing President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in Saudi Arabia for three months.
Cynics would be quick to say I am being malicious, why should I be talking about money when life,not just an ordinary life, but that of our President, is at stake. I am only asking the question because the last time I checked we were still running a Constitutional and Democratic Republic, not an Imperial Monarchy. In an imperial monarchy it was easier for Napoleon to say "l etat e moi" losely translated it means I am the State,or the Country.
It is the same philosophy that gave us "Ka bi o o si" the origin of the Yoruba word Kabiyesi, this, when transliterated means , "to require a reason from you does not exist", that is questioning you is not a place anybody can go.
If we are in a democracy we should be able to know how much it cost the tax payer to keep our President in Saudi Arabia, this should include the monies paid as parking fees for our presidential jet, the estacode paid to the legion of staff who went to settle the first family properly in Saudi Arabia, the fees for the various procedures and doctors. These are the things that deepen our democracy. I know I am walking a dangerous path here,but they can only kill me once.
In my bushman's guestimate I am suspecting One billion naira( N1,000,000,000.00) This is because there is no free lunch anywhere out there.
The trouble is that we are almost always emotional, and never rational, about issues like this. In law it is said that if you must approach equity you must come with clean hands; a man who was not capable of taking decisions for himself has been used by people who were not elected to take such decisions for Nigeria, to run a bill that was not properly approved simply because the moment Yar'Adua decided to go on that delicate trip, Goodluck Jonathan should have been the one making the decisions for his wellbeing and safety. He was elected as the Vice President,not Hajia Turai ,or Tenimu Yakubu ,or any other person.
The fact that he is Hajia Turai's husband does not confer any constitutional authority on her to spend public funds ,even where it is to save the president's life,or for her to decide on the best way to manage his health and welfare. He is,and remains our property, while he is President.
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua belongs to Nigeria first of all. His first duty at all times is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he is first our President before he is Hajia's husband; that was what he chose the day he decided to run for office, he remains so until his tenure ends by reason of completion, or inability to rule ,and therfore resignation ,and we must never forget this.That is the bare fact. GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!