- 3 commissioners suspended for improper dressing in Ebonyi
- CBN issues two new merchant bank licences
- Ekiti PDP accuses ACN of attacking members
- Daniel eulogises HID Awolowo at 97
- Jonathan hails Koroma's re-election
- Collapsed man: Edo dep gov threatens Airhiavbere
- Communal clash: Police arrest gang leader, 12 others in Nasarawa
- Corruption: There ‘ll be no sacred cow - Jonathan
- Amosun’s wife tasks students on reading culture
- Flooding: Dangote committee sets N50bn target
- Adamawa LG election conducted peacefully
- 1999 Constitution: Women group calls for amendment to gender-biased provisions
A poor president?
I found this interesting piece on-line from the BBC and I thought I should share it with my readers in view of the theme of our discussion, which started last week. Can we ever have such a president in Africa, talk less of Nigeria? Please enjoy it.
Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay, lives on an old farmhouse, having shunned the luxury of the presidential palace in the capital city of Montevideo. The 77-year-old vegetarian president lives on his wife’s half-dilapidated farmhouse where he fetches water from a well in a yard overgrown with weeds and hangs out his clothes on a line to dry in the open. While presidents of even some of the poorest countries in the world ride in mile-long bulletproof limousines with hordes of security operatives and elite military guardsmen armed to the teeth swarming around them, Mujica drives a 1987 VW Beetle and his official retinue of guards consist of a mongrel, missing one leg and two police officers. Mujica not only lives austerely in spite of the fact that he is a president; he donates 90 percent of his monthly salary of $12,000 to charity. Donating so much of his salary to poor and small entrepreneurs means that he receives a paltry $775 a month, comparable to the income of the average Uruguayan.
Mujica comments, “I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more. This is a matter of freedom. If you do not have many possessions then you do not need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself. I may appear to be an eccentric old man... But this is a free choice.”
According to the BBC, in his mandatory wealth declaration in 2010, his entire possession was $ 1,800 plus the realizable value of his old VW Beetle. In 2012, he included half of his wife’s assets in his declaration, consisting of a piece of land, tractors, and a house valued at $215,000. The BBC explains that the valuation amounts to about two-thirds of the declared wealth of his Vice-President Danilo Astori, and a third of the declared wealth of his predecessor Tabare Vasquez. Mujica was elected to office in 2009 after a life spent as a guerrilla soldier and political prisoner.
FROM MY MAILBOX
Re: Will nigerian politicians learn from this?
I am an avid reader of your column in the SUNDAY TRIBUNE and I give you kudos for your valiant efforts in keeping track with current affairs and for your dispassionate commentary on topical issues for the benefit of the reading public. Please keep it up. Be that as it may, your recent write-up in the SUNDAY TRIBUNE edition of November 11, 2012 is worth commenting on. I presumed you were asking a valid question by the tone of the title of your article- “Will Nigerian Politicians Learn from this?” My honest answer is emphatic an NO! It has always become a routine that, sequel to any US Presidential election, our dailies are often bombarded with a deluge of articles similar to what you wrote concerning our politicians, whether they could learn a lesson or two from the rancour-free election in the US and how the loser accepts defeat without raising any dust or saying anything provocative, which could precipitate public violence. Our politicians are the least nationalistic. They put self-interest before national interest, oblivious of the fact that, “democracy is not feasible without the spirit of democracy.” Democracy is about compromise, tolerance, truthfulness, flexibility, good governance, societal interest above parochial and by extension, ideological interests. Our politicians may know all these virtues and essential components of democracy, but they seldom demonstrate them in practice or in their actions. They promote rigging, thuggery, corruption and the winner- takes- all attitudes during elections. With all these anomalies recurrent in our elections year in and year out, my humble submission to your observation about the just-concluded US Presidential election is that Nigerian politicians have not learned anything because they remain deceitful in their daily conduct about the way they practice democracy.
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What kind of lessons are we expecting our treasury-looting government and politicians to learn from the great country called America? From the look of things, Nigerians, having been disillusioned with the leadership of this country, have adopted the attitude of ‘sidon look’ hence the leaders have seized the opportunity to turn themselves into demigods. We appreciate your efforts at exposing our leaders for what they are.
— Jide Obokun, Ilesha. 07057546281
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It is high time we reminded ourselves that patriotism and performance are the yardsticks that determine who wins an election in any decent electoral process and not money or the use of thugs as it is in Nigeria. Romney, after losing the election, congratulated Barak Obama, his family and the people of America. He said, “This is a time of great challenges for America” and “pray for President Obama to succeed in guiding the nation.” This simply implies decency in a political process and it goes to show that, American leaders are in government for service and not for what they can loot from the nation’s treasury. Our leaders have a lot to learn from the American example.
— Ibrahim A. Taye. Ibadan. 08051131
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There is supposed to be no discrimination or sentiment in politics whatsoever; and regardless of tribal, religious, racial or other factors. Unfortunately, this is the case with Nigeria and this is why we find ourselves in this present mess/situation. The just concluded presidential election in America once again should serve as a great lesson to us in this country. Where do we go from here? Should we continue rotating on the same axis and continue to find our name at the top of the list of underdeveloped nations? May god help Nigeria!
— Lekan Oladeji, Ilora. 08053049443
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