Champion Newspapers Limited
For a better society

No to new presidential jet for Tinubu

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“It is our considered opinion that Nigeria should, as a matter of urgency and national interest consider the option of drastically reducing the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet if only to cut down on profligacy. We will never stop in advocating for a reduction in the cost of governance at both the state and federal levels.
There is indeed the urgent need for the leadership to begin to reflect the current realities of the country and her economy on their activities, programmes and projects if only to avoid misrepresenting Nigeria as a nation of opulence in contrast to a people who cannot actually feed her population in addition to been the poverty capital of the world”.

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The worst thing that any regime can do at its worst of times is not to listen to the agony of the people that it presides over. The other side of the logic is to say that the docility of the population may have constituted a platform which enables impunity to reign supreme in the land to the extent that the people for whom governments are formed do no longer matter.
Edmund Burke was very clear on this issue when he declared that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
We are very worried that the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is yet to properly connect with the larger society to the extent that the pains and the sufferings of the common man are not been gauged not to talk of been appreciated as to instigate appropriate reasonable response.
This unfortunate lack of empathy is the singular reason that Tinubu and his army of stewards who parade as state actors have been indulging in ostentatious life style that is equivalent to that of a prodigal son.
This abnormality which has become very pronounced in the face of hunger and starvation in the land can be identified in the number of white elephant projects and frivolous expenditures which the government has arrogantly embarked upon when it is clear that there is neither a long term programme of government nor stop gap measures structured to ameliorate the sufferings of the majority of the population.
We consider it unconscionable that after the Federal Government has wasted a whopping N18 billion in providing what it termed befitting accommodation for the Vice President, N90 billion in subsidizing the 2024 hajj operation, several billions of Naira in the purchase of Special Utility Vehicles for lawmakers, the allocation of trillions of Naira in the construction of an un-negotiated Lagos-Calabar coastal road while ignoring the hyper food inflation ravaging the country, the Tinubu administration is now cajoling the National Assembly into approving the purchase of additional two jets to swell the number of presidential jets to nine, perhaps the highest number of jets at the disposal of any known president in any part of the world.
The United States of America despite its riches, has only two presidential jets for which anyone of them is tagged Air Force One whenever that it takes to the sky. Russia has four which includes a customized version of the 11-96-300 called 11-96-300PU.
We are not unpatriotic or sadists as to suggest that Nigeria’s president be ferried round the globe in an unserviceable aircraft but simply emphasizing the fact that the mood of the nation’s socio-economic and political environment should be properly situated to the extent that state actors should learn to concentrate much energy and the scarce resources in essential subheads which hold the potentials of benefiting the majority.
There is absolute hunger in the land and the least that government should do is not to rob their ostentatious life style on the noses of the suffering population. The ordinary Nigerian can no longer be challenged to tighten his belt while public office holders are in gluttony.
It will not amount to too much of a sacrifice if the Tinubu administration decides to move around in rented bicycles if only to enable it look inwards for home grown solutions to problems of food scarcity, insecurity in all its facets, failed healthcare system, unstable education structure, and epileptic power supply among others.
We are of the opinion that it will not amount to standing logic on its head to suggest the sale of not fewer than four out of the existing six presidential jets for the nation to acquire perhaps two new ones.
Spending N14.77 billion on presidential fleet in 11 months presupposes that the aircraft are aging thus deserving replenishment. Currently on the fleet are Boeing 737, Gulfstream G550, a Gulfstream GV, two Falcon 7Xs and a Challenger CL605. These are in addition to six helicopters—two Augusta 139s, and four Augusta 189s.
We do not have any good reason to believe the leadership of the Senate when it said that it does not have any request for the purchase of additional jets for the president and vice president since there are incidences in the past when such denials turned out to be mere deceitful routes to achieving clandestine objectives hence we are saying categorically that the issue of buying another presidential aircraft cannot sail through at this critical time in our nation’s history.
It is our considered opinion that Nigeria should, as a matter of urgency and national interest consider the option of drastically reducing the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet if only to cut down on profligacy.
We will never stop in advocating for a reduction in the cost of governance at both the state and federal levels.
There is indeed the urgent need for the leadership to begin to reflect the current realities of the country and her economy on their activities, programmes and projects if only to avoid misrepresenting Nigeria as a nation of opulence in contrast to a people who cannot actually feed her population in addition to been the poverty capital of the world.
We challenge members of the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence who are currently insisting on buying additional jets for the president and his vice to channel such energies in seeking and funding solutions to the provision of adequate security of lives and property of all Nigerians with whom they entered into a social contract.
It is a statement of fact that these Nigerians are the real people who are funding the life styles of the elected few and therefore deserves a better deal from the equation.
For us, a contented population translates to a secure nation. No sacrifice will be considered too much in an effort at securing Nigeria; not in the least the stepping down of another proposal to upscale the luxury living standards of the president and his vice for they are part of the population.

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