By Abdullahi Ali Kano,
In 2015, American rapper Big Sean released an album with a song titled; “One Man Can Change the World”. Of course this assertion is not new, as we all know change begins from an individual.
For a society to become a better place, individual members must first of all make conscious efforts to change for the better. History is full of great men and women like Socrates, Newton, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa and many more who changed themselves or adopted different approaches to life which became beacons of change in the society. These individuals are celebrated not because they did conventional things but because they did unconventional things that transformed their societies with tremendous impact on humanity.
Nigeria as country is also in dire need of such individuals who will not only steer her away from the corruption, ineptitude, and inefficiency that has characterised our national polity but whose lives will always inspire us to strive to keep their legacies alive.
The change mantra of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has indeed ushered in great and patriotic individuals both in elective and non-elective positions. This has no doubt galvanised the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to record feats that were unattainable in our almost 20 years of democratic experience. These feats are upheld because distinguished personalities like Senator Barau I. Jubril have offered themselves wholeheartedly to drive true change in Nigeria.
Anybody who is conversant with the history of budget passage in Nigeria will agree that never in the history of Nigeria since the return of democracy in 1999 has budget been passed timely. Budgets meant for a fiscal year were only passed half way into the year. This has been the pattern all through the years. With budget passed in the middle of the year, it was impossible for the budget to be implemented by most ministries, departments and agencies aside salary payments.
This to a large extent dragged the economy behind with no single administration or individual willing to tackle the problem headlong.
This was probably due to gross incompetence or the nonchalant attitude of public servants and elected officials.
The greatest hurdle to the quick passage of budgets has been the National Assembly where successive administrations were submerged in crisis bothering on padding of budgets and other unwholesome activities that sometimes kept budget proposals for more than six months in the National Assembly with no resolution in sight.
Recall that in less than three months, precisely on October 8, 2020, President Buhari presented the 2021 budget proposals to the National Assembly. The budget was passed and assented to without delay on the 31st of December 2020, before the commencement of 2021 fiscal year, thanks to the intellectual, leadership qualities and experience of the Senate committee chairman on Appropriation, Senator Barau I. Jubril.
This distinguished and patriotic senator of the Federal Republic will be remembered for this feat the rest of his life. That’s what we get when good and qualified persons with patriotic zeal are saddled with the responsibility of serving their countries in areas where they have professional capacity and experience.
There is no gain saying the benefits derivable from the early budget passage as it will guarantee full implementation of many of the economic, infrastructural, social investments and other developmental programmes contained in the budget and which will directly and positively impact on the people.
Again, the early budget passage will allow for proper and better planning for both the government and the private sector. The entire financial architecture of our country would benefit from this. This includes project financing, contract execution timeline, project implementation, and performance monitoring. It will make public procurement predictable, business climate stable, and give confidence to investors.
Senator Barau I. Jubril did not just pull this off. He is well grounded in finance and management having acquired his first degree in accounting and several masters degrees in finance, management, pricing and an MBA. With his vast knowledge in government and private business, one would expect nothing less from this proud and successful son of Kano, who represents Kano North in the Senate.
Fixing problems is not new to the distinguished senator. Aside from his exploits in the Appropriation Committee, he has recorded similar feats as chairman of Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund. Indeed, one man can change the world!
Like Einstein, if Senator Barau has done anything significant for his nation, it is because he is “standing on the shoulders of others.”
Chief among the big shoulders upon which he stands are those of the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan. A seasoned lawmaker and prolific scholar who is working round the clock with his men to create a better Nigeria. Mention must be made of the tireless efforts of committee members who no doubt followed in the diligent footsteps of their chairman. Indeed the entire senate has proven it is worth the trust reposed in it by the electorates.
The challenges faced by Nigerians in different spheres of life will be history very soon as progressive Nigerians are changing themselves in order to change the country. There must be conscious efforts to also fix square pegs in square holes to make this change agenda sustainable and realistic. This approach will produce solutions rather than the repetitive cycle of failure and inefficiency that characterised our system in the past.
Ali Kano, a Ph.D student of International Studies and Diplomacy, ABU, Zaria, wrote in from Abuja.