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Nigeria’s Leadership Under Fire for Lavish Presidential Yacht Budget

November 4, 2023

The Nigerian social media space was thrown into a frenzy on Thursday when the supplementary budget document was released, revealing that N5 billion was earmarked for a presidential yacht.

The news ignited a storm of anger and despair among Nigerians who are struggling with the harsh economic reforms and the recent proposal to purchase luxury vehicles for federal lawmakers. With 109 members in the senate and a 360-member house of representatives, citizens wondered why their leaders seemed so disconnected from their plight.

Even when the presidency tried to justify the yacht’s inclusion as a naval vessel, people continued to question the government’s priorities. They were frustrated and outraged by what appeared to be a blatant insensitivity to the daily struggles of the common man and the nation’s pressing needs.

Presidential yachts are not a new concept, but in a country grappling with economic challenges, the allocation of such significant funds for leisure and pleasure seemed unthinkable to many. It was a stark contrast to Western countries, which had abandoned their presidential yachts due to economic constraints.

This disconnect between leaders and the people raised profound concerns about the integrity and priorities of Nigeria’s leadership. Many asked whether their elected representatives truly had the nation’s best interests at heart or were more interested in personal luxuries.

The core question that haunted the minds of Nigerians was whether the people they entrusted with power were supportive of such wasteful spending, especially when it came at the expense of addressing the country’s pressing issues and improving the lives of its citizens.

In the face of this anger and despair, it is crucial for Nigerian lawmakers to ensure that the allocation of public funds aligns with the genuine needs and priorities of the nation. The people are watching closely, and it’s in these actions that they will determine whether their leaders are genuinely committed to leading the nation or simply looting public funds.

The urgency to get things right in Nigeria has never been greater. The people yearn for leadership that understands their struggles and puts their needs above personal extravagance. The nation’s future depends on these critical choices.

Editorial: inewszone.com.

 

 

ADDENDUM

Presidential yachts are not a new concept, with world leaders and countries owning and operating them as far back as the 1890s. However, only a handful of countries, including the US, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Italy, and the Philippines, have had a presidential yacht at some point in their history.

It is no news that a presidential yacht is operated by the navy of the host country. While they are sometimes used for diplomatic meetings with world leaders and foreign dignitaries, their primary purpose is leisure and pleasure, leading to them being occasionally referred to as presidential “playthings.”

These yachts can vary in size and sophistication, with features such as a helipad, garden, spa, cinema, library, personal museum, sports center, pools, suites, and even a hospital. Some presidential yachts have exceeded 100 meters in length.

Notable presidential yachts throughout history include Savarona (later named USS Sequoia), USS Mayflower, Al-Mirqab, Honey Fitz, USS Potomac, USS Williamsburg, Morning Glory, BRP Ang Pangulo, and Galeb, HRM Britannia. These yachts change hands from one president to another, and each leader customizes them to suit their preferences.

For instance, the Trump Princess, once owned by former US President Donald Trump and originally named Nabila, had a hospital with an operating theatre. The Potomac was modified to include an elevator for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wheelchair accessibility, and BRP Ang Pangulo was converted into a hospital ship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Floating White House” is a term often used to refer to the presidential yacht in the United States. Some argue that beyond pleasure, presidential yachts serve important diplomatic functions and are crucial to the overall well-being of the president.

Presidential yachts have had a significant impact on diplomacy and trade. For example, Britannia, which served the British royal family for over four decades, advanced diplomatic priorities throughout the Commonwealth, contributing to an estimated £3 billion in government revenue from trade missions on the yacht.

However, presidential yachts are gradually losing their reverence and grandiosity as many countries decommission them due to economic concerns. Operating and maintaining these luxury vessels can be exorbitant, with maintenance costs ranging from 10% to 15% of the purchase price annually.

In 2021, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal to procure a successor for Britannia was scrapped to reduce government spending. In Nigeria, the controversial presidential yacht’s budget has been relocated to that of the students’ loan program. The yacht has reportedly been delivered but not paid for.

As the presidency clarified that the yacht belongs to the navy and is not for the personal use of President Bola Tinubu, questions remain about the fate of this luxury vessel.

From the widespread condemnations of this luxury item. The electorate have spoken! Nigeria simply does not need a Presidential Yacht.

Photos and inserts from thecableng.

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