That $500,000 Gift: Playing To The Gallery

That $500,000 Gift: Playing To The Gallery

Nigeria has not been at the height of spotlight globally in contemporary times as it is now. The crescendo from whatever perspective it is viewed presents a divergence of deductions. In not too distant past, it went through the rigours of what have become the most fiercely contested presidential elections and perhaps one of the most controversial.


Even as we are yet to recover from the aftershock of the 2019 general elections which has nearly 800 election disputations awaiting the nation’s judiciary to tackle, it may just yet be a long haul for both elected politicians and their contenders at various levels to slug it out at the tribunals.
In the face of our despair as a nation and amid deep seated groaning over various depressing disasters, we could still find the courage to be ‘magnanimous to a fault’ by making ‘humongous’ donations to neighbouring countries. Only recently, President Muhammadu Buhari took pleasure in donating $500,000.00 (five hundred thousand dollars) to Guinea Bissau in support of its general elections, a move that has been rabidly carpeted by many Nigerians.
Africa being the centerpiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy was enunciated and popularised by erstwhile Nigerian leaders whose glorious tenure had the adjunct of overflowing national income and wealth, buoyed the petro-dollar earnings of that time. It was therefore not unusual to see Nigerians spearheading one peace keeping mission here and there, supporting feeble and weak members of the regional and sub-regional blocs as it were. Such moves then were within the ambit of acceptable charity within the capacity available.
We quickly counsel that there are no free meals anywhere anymore. It is foolhardy to watch over your burning house only to set out on a salvage mission for an alleged neighbor’s kindled hut.
Many have condemned the move as wasteful and unnecessary public relations stunt which may further put the nation at global odium and ridicule. This is more so ironic that as a nation as we are just coming from an election which has been adjudged as one of the most controversial and generally faulted on various fronts.
As one anonymous writer puts it; “The country has played supportive and stabilising role in the affairs of most countries on the continent. It took the throttle in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa; it funded the ANC, and provided academic and corporeal sanctuary to the blacks of the country. Today, Nigerians are, perhaps, the most hated people in that country, routinely harassed, abused and intimidated.
“It is not out of place to play the ‘big-brother,’ but it is unwise to keep playing the role when effort is unrequited and when there is a blistering image problem. Nigeria today, contributes 15.7 percent to the global poverty rate. It suffers from serious infrastructure denudation and its debt profile is perilously high. And the truth is our depressing situation is known to the world. So, who are we trying to impress? Why must we keep up appearances? Our charity will be counted as foolishness as long as the ranks of the poorest of the poor keep swelling.”
AljahzirahNigeria is of the opinion the $500,000 would have gone a long way in mitigating the sufferings of some remote communities whose basic needs could be covered by this sum and their lives would have changed forever.
We call on the government to be more circumspect ahead on how tax payers’ money is appropriated against simply playing to the gallery at the expense of a people whose own destiny is still bedeviled by various inordinate human caprices.


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