YNaija Editorial: Jigawa’s mosques and misplaced priorities

The recent announcement by the Jigawa state government that it has opened bidding for the construction of ninety mosques in the state, is the latest example of the wasteful spending that goes on at state level.

Jigawa is one of Nigeria’s many beggar states. It depends on handouts from Abuja for 84% of its monthly revenue, while generating only 16% of that internally. In addition to this, there is a monthly revenue shortfall of N2 billion, per a State of the States report by BudgIT, a civil society organization focused on issues of public finance and accountability.

Put simply, the Jigawa state government cannot afford to build 90 mosques, but will go ahead to build them anyway. The people of Jigawa have been praying long before the administration of Badaru Abubakar came into office in May 2015, and they will continue to do so long after that administration is gone.

That money could go into developing the state’s human capital. Jigawa state has only 36,000 children in school out of a population of 4.35 million (2006 census), and less than half of its population is literate in any language.

That money could go into the state’s health sector as well. Jigawa is 35th in immunization levels in Nigeria, only better than Sokoto and Taraba.

However, neither of these things will happen because the clear priority for the state government is to spread patronage by building three mosques in all thirty constituencies. Like most governments, the focus is on the next elections rather than the future.

It is a manifestation of the stomach infrastructure doctrine, a result of the nation’s level of development. Ordinarily, projects should contain measurable economic benefits that justify the expense, but in an environment like this, wasteful projects like mosques are the best route to victory at the polls.

It may allow this current administration secure re-election, but the state’s future suffers. Young people without the skills to do well in society become a burden and are more susceptible to becoming criminals and terrorists.

The mosques will be of little consolation then.

One comment

  1. The mosques will be of no consolation my dear. i live in the nations capital and i can see their level of understanding, very archaic.
    Those people are the major problems facing this country and the main reason why everyone should go its way. Enough of this nonsense call Nigeria

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