In response to the prevailing economic situation in the country, Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy president of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has called for a 50 percent reduction in the salaries, allowances, and other emoluments of political officeholders and members of the National Assembly (NASS).
The presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the 2019 presidential election made this suggestion during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Monday.
He argued that, despite the economic difficulties brought about by the removal of petroleum subsidies, Nigeria’s political leadership and appointees continue to build a culture of extravagance.
“The culture of governance is a very important issue that needs to be addressed, and the tone has to be set from the top—from the presidency down. It has to include the National Assembly because a lot of resources go there and they are supposed to be independent of the executive,” Moghalu said.
“So, they themselves must come on board, examine themselves, and say, ‘Look, even if we have been making this mistake in the past, we cannot continue this way. We have to cut our salaries.’ I recommend a 50 percent cut for all political officeholders and all national legislators. It would make people a little bit more sober. It would make them understand that we are in hard times.”
Moghalu pointed out examples from certain Scandinavian countries where their leaders frequently use public transportation and even ride bicycles to their workplaces. He contended that in Nigeria, the prevailing governance culture prioritises self-interest over serving the needs of the people.
“So the culture of governance—all these excessive demonstrations of power and influence—is a very negative culture because it shows that government is not for service,” he maintained.
“It is for self-aggrandisement. It is for political power for its own sake, not for leadership and service.”
Moghalu questioned why everyone in the country seeks sirens and long convoys, and he criticised political leaders for not adopting practices seen in developed countries.
He faulted the country’s quest for more loans, saying the monies are not used for the right things.
“So, my comment is simply a reflection of the fact that the political class in Nigeria—more broadly—has prevented the economic progress of the country because of their own self-seeking and rent-seeking behaviour,” the former presidential candidate added. “This is the problem, not borrowing.”
His position on television echoes the same feeling he captured early Monday morning when he slammed the federal government over the $1.5 billion World Bank loan.