For two days, October 19 and 20, 2023, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, published in some national newspapers lists of individuals and organisations owing the FCTA various sums of money on account of Ground Rent arrears....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>
Titled “Payment of Outstanding Ground Rents, Final Notice”, the advertisement on the first day covered 53 pages, which I found annoying.
Then, on the second day, there were101 more pages and lists of names. By then, it became alarming. Just as I was getting ready to start writing this article, a third instalment arrived on Monday, October 23, 2023; and it was 120 pages long.
In total, there were 274 pages of advertisement and 42,470 FCT Ground Rent delinquents.
But, in case you think Dele Sobowale has gone nuts counting pages of adverts and number of outlaw residents of Abuja, it is because you have failed to grasp the significance of the revelations made by that publication.
“If gold rusts, what then will iron do?” Geoffrey Chaucer, 1342-1400.
Every society is just as good or bad, progressive and backward as its elite.
Quality of leadership determines the directions of nations. That list has not only demonstrated the poor quality of the Nigerian elite, it has proved one point I have been making to Buhari, and now Tinubu, without success.
Our majour problem is revenue collection at Federal, State and Local Government levels.
Virtually all the pillars of Nigerian society, individual and corporate, having landed properties in the FCT were included.
Almost all our GCFRs, GCONs, CFRs, OFRs are there. Former and Present Senate Presidents and Speakers, other National Assemble Members, Ministers, Special Advisers, Heads of MDAs, Embassies, Army, Navy and Air Force were well-represented.
The Nigeria Police Force apparently considers it an insult to be asked to pay Ground Rent.
Organised, unorganised and disorganised private sector organisations followed the lead of the leaders and routinely refused to pay for the services rendered by the FCTA.
Banks, which would liquidate your company and seize your property for failure to pay what is due to them, have never hesitated to withhold what belongs to FCTA.
Churches which were admonished to “render unto Caesar what are Caesar’s”, nevertheless, refuse to render unto FCTA what belongs to it.
So pervasive is the lawlessness in this regard that I am inclined to believe it is total.
Nobody pays Ground Rent; and what other duties of responsible citizens we refuse to discharge, as and when due, yet, collectively and individually, we complain about services not provided by the FCTA and FG.
How Much Is Outstanding?
“What you cannot measure, you cannot control.”
One of the fundamental rules of management is that those in charge must have accurate ideas of what is at stake.
How much is outstanding? Who are the major defaulters and how do you collect from as many defaulters as possible? Let me confess that a 100 per cent accurate total outstanding is impossible for me now to provide because of the vast number.
But, given two months, it should be possible. Back in 2009, when the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration presented the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, 892 pages long, I was paid by a group of patriotic Nigerians to read, summarise and advise on it.
One of them knew that I have the knack for this sort of thing. So, 274 pages of data is nothing for me.
However, from what has been released, it would appear that about N1 trillion is being owed to the FCTA by just about everybody.
I attempted to reorganise the first 120 pages in order to find a way for the FCTA to be able to collect a substantial percentage of the outstanding in record time.
And, I think there is a way out. However, since it involves stepping on toes of the “untouchables” in Nigeria, it will not be prudent to divulge how the FCTA can go about.
At any rate, some top officials of the FCTA, past and present, are probably among the lawbreakers.
What Does This Reveal About How Government Is Run Here?
“Every country has the government it deserves.” Joseph de Maistre, 1753-1821.
Minister Wike inherited this colossal outstanding receivable from a Minister who served two terms; and was called Honourable Minister.
He was not alone. There were Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Directors etc, etc – all fully paid for the eight years under Buhari.
One of their cardinal functions was to collect Ground Rents; which they obviously failed to do.
Which one among them would engage staff for his company, pay them even as the staff fail to collect money from clients for services rendered or goods delivered? Because we all know that the answer is None; it is easy for us to understand that the FCTA did not accumulate the hefty outstanding receivable because the officials do/didn’t know what to do.
They were just uniformly unpatriotic and corrupt. No Chief Executive of a private company will allow his staff to leave N1 trillion outstanding as receivables uncollected, then go to a bank to request for loan to pay salaries.
That is organisational lunacy. Why then don’t we admit that it is madness for FCTA to allow almost N1 trillion to ge uncollected under Ground Rents alone?
Unfortunately, the FCTA is only one branch in a diseased Federal Government.
Buhari appointed the Minister of FCT; and promptly turned his back on his subordinate, who proceeded to wreck the place financially.
Buhari could not reprimand the Minister because the President was setting a worse example in fiscal discipline himself.
The rest of the federal public service was allowed to forgo revenue collection.
“Father Buhari”, and now Tinubu, was always there to go and borrow to cover all possible negative variances.
When the Ogapatapata is less disciplined than the messenger, it is clear that commonsense has deserted the premises.
Sense has long deserted the FCT; for a reason not hard to discover.
FG Is Leading Wrongly
“Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.
In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperilled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously….If government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law….” US Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, 1856-1941.
The largest single worst Ground Rent delinquent in the FCTA is the FG.
Our fraudulent Federal constitution has allowed several atrocities to occur which retard our economic development in many ways.
The FG is a tenant, among others, to the FCTA. But, Nigeria is the only Federal Republic where the tenant appoints and can remove the landlord at will.
It is not only the President who can trample on what should have been the “landlord’s” right to collect rent; all members of the President’s household hold the FCTA in the same disdain.
I marked out 155 individuals and entities owing more than N7 million on the first day, totalled them and discovered nearly N300 billion.
On one unit the Nigerian Army alone owed N375 million; and more on others.
How, for God’s sake can we have a decent FCT with this sort of thing going on?.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>