After President Muhammadu Buhari said last Friday that Nigeria is broke and he might not be able to pay ministers, some minister-designates have said they are ready to work for free.
Adebayo Shittu and Professor Isaac Adewole were among those who announced this. The ministers, who along with their colleagues are expected to be sworn in and given portfolios any moment from now, described their appointment as a call to service.
Shittu, representing Oyo state at the yet-to-be-constituted Federal Executive Council, said he was ready to give his services for free to Nigeria if that was what the situation demanded.
According to Shittu, who is also a legal practitioner and human rights activist, what matters is the intention to serve and not the financial benefits.
“It is an issue of national service. There is nothing too much to sacrifice. If that is what our situation in Nigeria demands, then we must put ourselves up selflessly. We cannot say because of selfishness, we cannot work selflessly,” he said.
“With my background as somebody from a very humble family, I know what poverty is and I have been experiencing it. I have been dogged in conforming to the dictates of politics and poverty. There is nothing too much to sacrifice for the service of our people,” he added.
Adewole, a former vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, in a statement signed by his media aide Sunday Saanu, said he was ready to serve the nation without pay.
Saanu who is to represent Osun state said: “It is a great honour to serve one’s fatherland and I can tell you Prof. Adewole is ready to serve Nigeria without collecting salaries. Everything is not about money. It is a privilege and a great honour to serve. This is what he was doing at his former school. He was paying some teachers employed to complement government’s efforts.
“He is not driven by money but passion to make positive impact in the nation in whatever capacity.”
The former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, also said he did not accept to be a minister for personal and pecuniary gains.
According to Amaechi’s former aide, Ibim Semenitari, he is interested in the development of Nigeria. “If he (President Buhari) has not said that he would not pay ministers, the question of whether he (Amaechi) will work for free should not be necessary. We know that we are currently dealing with hard times. For us as a country, we will manage our cost,” Ibim Semenitari said.
“He (Amaechi) has never run for anything because he is looking for money. His interest is in the development of Nigeria,” the former aide added.