Dear President Muhamamdu Buhari. You exclaimed in Saudi Arabia that you have never in your years of public service, heard of budget padding before. It is true. Budget padding is rather unusual to many of us but very usual in Lagos.
Dear Sir, we warned you. They imported the budget padding from Lagos. It is very common there. If you are looking for the culprits who infested your cabinet and taught the various departments to pad budgets, you have to look no further than the Lagos crew. They are professional padders. They hold Masters and PhD in budget padding. Just look at Lagos development, it is all padding. 2x to 2000x the price. Why do you think Lagosians have been condemned to so much debt?
You ignored the ministerial screening when Nigerians through our Senate grilled Tunde Fashola on budget padding. We asked why his administration built boreholes that do not cost more then $1000 each for $450,000 a piece. We asked him why he built a personal website for $350,000. And for all those budget paddings done in Lagos he raised his shoulders high and said that he was a Lawyer and not an accountant, even though as Governor he is chief accountant of the State.
Dear Buhari, let us not fool ourselves. We do not need any detectives for this one. The culprits stare us in the face. Again he padded his ministry of works budget with even more frivolous rates for the same trade-mark borehole drilling: $750,000 for a single one this time around! Chai!
Everyone learned from his ministerial screening process and how Nigerians congratulated him for defending himself with all the glaring paddings by saying that “so long as they are approved (by procurement office), they are not corruption.” Every Nigerian learned that trick. Once the budget had passed the Senate as it was about to, they will all have thanked the Lagos team for teaching them the smooth method of legitimate looting. Looting that makes Stella Oduah an angel. Compare how they loot in padding to the trouble she goes through to make far less for more worthwhile projects. Compare two bullet proof BMW’s worth at least $300,000 procured for $700,000 to two boreholes worth at most $2000, procured for $900,000. Which is a bigger thief? But with the Made in Lagos budget padding technique, one became a minister while the other is undergoing a corruption trial.
Look no further.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah @EveryNigerian