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Nigerian senators are worried about a “looming revolution”. And they’ve identified the cause: the poverty tsunami the country is facing. Last week they spent 90 minutes debating how to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots. They talked about the chicken coming home to roost, the revolt of the downtrodden, the elites under siege and the dictatorship of angry drug-addled beggars. They blame it on, “…long years of neglect of the welfare and future of younger generations and unwillingness by both the government and the elites to plan for the future, or read the signs of upheaval.”
Not a single senator, however, mentioned the disparity between the mammoth salaries and allowances of lawmakers (a tiny elite; 0.002% of Nigeria’s population) and the minimum wage. This is one of the factors that drive extreme inequality in Nigeria.
In Nigeria where political and economic power is intertwined, inequality is worsening. Public office is not only considered a quick route to riches, politicians have become a self-perpetuating and self-serving clique. Capturing political power gives access to economic benefits, and given the high cost of financing a campaign, officeholders are less interested in policymaking that favour the majority. Nigeria’s legislature has become a career path to quick riches. It is plagued by careerism. Political careerists see the legislature as a means to opulence rather than minimum comfort required to serve their country.
Based on some calculations a Nigerian lawmaker earns 10,000 times more than national minimum wage and 200 times more than Nigeria’s GDP per capita. Only highly paid CEOs earn so much.
Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart and one of the highest paid executives in the world earned $23 million in 2017 – over 1,000 times more than the median salary of an average staff at the … Read More...