Nigeria Vice President Residence - Much Ado About Nothing

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – I read with bemusement Ogaga Ifovwodo’s piece on the Vice President’s official residence. I do not understand his quarrel with the cost of the nation’s Number Two’s official residence. That the residence of the vice president is to cost a mere sixteen billion naira is a surprise to me. When I first heard of the cost, I thought they were referring to the official residence of a deputy governor of a state. What is so special about this amount that has made Ogaga Ifovwodo have sleepless nights? Has Ifovwodo forgotten that this is Nigeria and not a tiny country like Gambia or Seychelles or even Eritrea?

 

This is Nigeria! The most populous black nation in the world! The giant of Africa! The most blessed country in the continent! Rich in oil and other mineral resources! Rich in human resources! Has Ifovwodo forgotten that Nigeria was paying the salaries of some South American nations in the early seventies? This is a country where ordinary citizens like me have purchased private jets worth over a trillion naira in the last five years. Is Nigeria such a poor country that the Vice President’s official residence should be like those found in Ajegunle or Suleja? Money has never been our problem as Ifowodo rightly quoted Gowon. The problem has always been how to spend it. Now that we are wisely spending our money, enemies of this government are quarrelling with it.

 

The Vice President’s residence must befit the status. Let us equally remember that it is not the personal property of Sambo. Ifovwodo may reside there in future as the nation’s vice president. The place must have a worship centre. There must be a mosque, church and traditional place of worship for people like the Kongi and others of his ilk. The place of worship is meant as place where the Vice President will go and ask for forgiveness if he mistakenly misplaces a few billion naira. He can equally go there to ask for miracle for a better Nigeria even though he has planned for a better Nigeria.

 

A state of the art hospital is also ear marked for the Vice President’s residence. It will be manned by specialist doctors from Saudi Arabia and Germany. This is to prevent another Yar’dua and Chime’scenario where Nigerians will be wondering where their leaders are receiving treatment. In this case, special assistants in the Vice President’s Office can be signing documents on his behalf and claiming it is signed by the Vice President if (God forbid) he falls sick.

 

The Vice President’s official residence is also have a banquet hall that will accommodate about a thousand people. The place will be used for official and non official functions. Once in a while, Dbanj, Tu Face and others could be invited to entertain the nation’s big wigs with undergraduate females being invited to learn the art of governance. The Vice President will no longer run to Kaduna and in fear too when giving out his daughters for marriage. The banquet hall serves that purpose. There must be enough rooms too in the official residence where the Vice President’s relatives and friends can lodge thereby saving money that would have been used for hotel accommodation.

 

The security of the Vice President is equally important. While monitoring devices will be installed both within and without the premises, a missile shield will also be installed. Nobody knows what these Boko Haram people may come up with. Prevention, they say, is better than cure. Armoured cars will be permanently stationed there. What will happen if kidnappers kidnap our Vice President? That is why the residence must be well secured.

 

As prophetically suggested by Senator Smart Adeyemi, the furniture for the Vice President’s residence will be made in heaven. The famed Benin furniture makers will not be good enough. The kitchen materials will cost over a billion naira. Every other material that will be used to furnish the residence will be imported. There will equally be a landing pad for helicopters to land and take off (not the type of helicopters used by the Nigerian Navy). Because of the good nature of our roads and for security purposes, the Vice President will no longer be using our roads. The Vice President will be flying from and to office so that we do not have another Murtala Muhammed in our hands.

 

President Jonathan, you will agree with me has be very frugal in spending. He is spending lessthan a billion naira next year for feeding. He now eats only cassava bread found only in Aso Rock supermarket. Abakiliki rice is now his favourite. In next year’s budget, some amount have been ear marked for generator repairs because there will be constant power by 2013. I learnt that an order has been given that no diesel should be bought to power generators next year. The new banquet hall in Aso Rock is a mere two billion naira. He is buying just one additional to add to the presidential fleet. This project is not expensive.

 

With some other features that will be provided in the official residence of the vice president, I see no reason with Ifovwodo’s anger. To me, the amount is inadequate. The agency required to vet all contracts have seen the need for contract variation. Ogaga Ifovwodo talked about building schools and hospitals. How can the Vice President brainstorm and think properly on how to make Nigeria better if he sleeps in a “matchbox house”? This was the type of residence Jakande was staying in Ilupeju while he was governor of Lagos state. The same with Bafarawa while governor of Sokoto State.

 

The era where our leaders stay in their inadequate personal residences to administer the people is over. The said amount is not even half of what some fuel importers were paid as fuel subsidy. Delta State spent N7.4billion to demolish anthills in Asaba Airport in ten days. That is the way money must be spent. Not frugal like some war torn countries. Nigeria is rich. We must show that we are rich. The Vice President’s residence is an example of showing that we are rich.

 

Eddy Aghanenu reports.

 

 

 

*Photo Caption – New  Nigeria Vice President’s  residence under construction.

 
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