NOW THAT MUHAMMADU BUHARI WIIL BE PRESIDENT
An Open Letter to the President-elect, Federal Republic of Nigeria
1. What is my business with Muhammadu Buhari been President?
Let me take some of your time to answer this question in context. No Nigerian of my age would deny the divine intervention we had in the death of Sanni Abacha, whose democratic experiment in 1997 made it possible for lists of winners in a general elections to be forwarded to Sunmi Dagogo Jack, the then Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON), by telephone calls from the various Government Houses in the country, although before the recent general elections, an equal magnitude of such electoral fraud still persisted. This translated into a situation where Sanni Abacha was “endorsed” by all five registered political parties, known rhetorically to the late Bola Ige as the “five leprous fingers”, at that time; as the only Presidential candidate who should singularly fly the five flags of the five political parties. Nobody minded the differences in ideology, manifestoes and derivative principle of the fallacies they professed. Identifiably, all these were done because the fear of Sanni Abacha was the beginning of political wisdom.
This was the direction our national politics took before the death of Sanni Abacha in 1998, and as a follower of Nigerian politics, I saw a Nigerian “Muammar Gaddafi” who was already in the making; definitively, the Libyan leader was a good friend of the late Head of State. Believe me folks; I was scared for Nigeria, such that I prayed that God should intervene for us in the direction we were taking into political psychosis. Now that we have had sixteen years’ experience at democracy, we can clearly see quite differently how pathetic we were politically heading as a nation. God, who is the almighty, and in whose hands are the powers of life and death, stopped Abacha in his track. Nobody’s death should be celebrated, though my own scripture says the day of a man death is better than the day of his birth. I only saw in that event an opportunity for Nigeria to get her politics right with a fresh start.
As a people, Nigerians owe God the gratitude for the person who Abdulsalam Abubakar is, for choosing not to consolidate for himself the political power that feely fell to him by consensus in June 1998. He is the mastermind of our present day flourishing democracy. He also particularly made sure that he was well located during our recently rested elections to advice appropriately on the present advance we have made, by building upon the foundation he set up in 1998/99. I again use this very opportunity to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding to his defeat at the last Presidential elections, against taking the advantage he had to scuttle the best elections Nigeria has ever conduct and saved our unity and brotherhood.
I was privilege by God to follow the emergence of the present Nigeria’s democracy, and to find the grace of understanding the spirit behind her greatness. Nigeria has been stagnated by the fear expressed by her leaders – that of discussing the basis upon which the “unity” of our nation should be built. This is why we are yet to have a nation, but yet, we have carefully managed our external operations as a country: the expression of a sustained socio-political geography recognized in the comity of nations. The rest, which is entirely internal, we base on individual convenience, stealing from each other by tricks, as practiced by our political class to sustain itself.
Refusing to discuss the basis of our unity is the beginning of the corruption we find in our laws: the very reason we are struggling with the rule of law and our importune political behaviours. This is the reason why political office holders have resisted our institutions’ strength, so that they can continually exploit them for themselves, perpetuating their abandonment and the sustenance of their ill-health. This is the reason some Nigerians and ethnic jingoists believe President Jonathan was selfish for “selling off” the PDP to the APC and conceding in the just concluded presidential election. This is also the reason some of our governors behave as if they are doing the people they govern a favour by using a little part of our commonwealth that falls to them for development and pocketing the much remaining. Nobody cares how the ordinary Nigerian feels or what he will suffer if the right things are not done. We are also under obligation to thank God for who President Jonathan is, being the manifestation of divine favour and political possibilities, nevertheless, he was one leader who clearly showed that he was not prepared for leadership, when he refused to see when his time was up in 2011.
I am a patriotic, passionate, and law abiding Nigerian. I am very emotional about Nigeria: I watched the inauguration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as President in 1999 on television in Maraba, near Abuja with tears of joy in my eyes, induced more by Abdulsalam Abubakar, who intermittently raised his clasped palms to the people while Chief Obasanjo waved with both hands raised in the air in his “hypo-white” agbada, with a green gold-embroidered cap to match. I saw the retiring General as my own big hero; and looked forward to the prospering Nigeria he was handing over to Olusegun Obasanjo. I truly wished Obasanjo well.
Although nothing really happened in his first term apart from the privatization and commercialization of government businesses, which was anchored by Atiku Abubakar, howbeit that none of those acts clearly and cleanly affected the common Nigerian. Obasanjo was busy “Ajalaing” the world over, asking for “debt relief” and seeking foreign sector investment. He actually advanced our economy in a way, but he became a monster towards the end of his administration. Raising very many hurdles and setting up blocks upon smooth paths to cause friction for the succeeding administration’s smooth taking off like what President Jonathan is presently doing; and I am tempted to say “like godfather, like godson”. During this period, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo abused every inch of the law he swore to protect, and harassed every Nigerian whose advice he saw as adverse to his personal interest. I recall his shameful political hunting of Atiku Abubakar for refusing to support the desecration of our constitution and the truncating of his “third term” ambition. This event led me to believe that Atiku Abubakar would be a better leader than Obasanjo can ever be. I also realized the monster Chief Obasanjo built the PDP to become; making the party churn out the highest number of leaders in a single administration: he made PDP in his image and I hated the party.
I have a political interest but I have never been a party man. I have expressed partisan interests but I have never given my allegiance to any political party. While Chief Obasanjo was bullying everyone he saw: Bola Tinubu, Solomon Alamiesiegha, Peter Fayose, and Victor Attah. At a certain point, governors of federating States took their report cards to Obasanjo in Abuja where he nationally televised and personally assessed them. I supported and enjoyed this though, but this did not erase the impunity those acts were, because the President is not empowered under our extant laws to supervise state governors. On one occasion he sacked the Director General of FAAN on national television for fidgeting when answering questions before him.
When President Yar’adua assumed the President’s office, he concentrated on dealing with political and economic issues, but time was extremely limited for him to look into the PDP structure Chief Obasanjo left behind for him. If he had not died, it may have handled the distortions in the PDP better than President Jonathan has tried to do so far. He reminded me of the days of our worst nightmare of the Sanni Abacha, when he emerged the “endorsed” and only Presidential candidate of the party. As we see, the PDP has never been as divided as it is presently. I predict that if its trending destruction is not checked and halted, the Labour Party might come out stronger than the PDP in the near future. I would have given this chance to the APGA, but the party’s body language is that of exploiting and exploring political convenience. The way the party lost all the seats in the National Assembly elections and overwhelmingly won all the seats in the State House of Assembly election in Anambra State is suspect.
It was for the reason of President Jonathan that I voted for the PDP in all elections in 2011, joining majority of “our people” to vote “our own”. It was not long that I realized that the one we called “our own” had his own. Jonathan took his ethnic sentiments and considerations ascended their peaks when he administered the Presidential Amnesty Program/Fund as an Ijaw resettlement and empowerment program. The Amnesty fund was monetized and tucked into the pockets of Ijaw youths. I rejected President Jonathan as “my own” from then on and I am glad I have not regretted my decision.
I yearned for change even before the emergence of the APC as a political party and their “Change” slogan. I prayed for President Jonathan’s good health, the good speed and peace of his administration, but inside me I breathe the stench he called “fresh air” and knew he was not prepared for leadership. When his wife held me up in traffic for almost three hours on a street in Port Harcourt, I prayed that the National Assembly should find a reason to impeach him; and I have never hidden my rejection of President Jonathan’s administration. Though he clearly was God’s imposition on Nigerians, I also saw how God rejected him after the example of King Saul Kish, the first Israeli monarch. So it was with much enthusiasm that I followed every step Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu took in the build up to the merger of all minority parties for the single purpose of dislodging the PDP, and the rest is now a familiar story.
The fact that I had so many of my social media contacts call in to congratulate me on Dr. Buhari’s success in the just concluded presidential election indicates that I had followership based on the various social media commentaries I volunteered, strictly on my wall in order not to be misunderstood, in the process of producing Mohammadu Buhari as the President-elect he is today. Therefore, I see myself also as responsible to many Nigerians who may think that in the same way I promoted and defended the President-elect in the days of his heartfelt travails, and my attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which I observed as bad, I should call the new government to accountability using the same medium; this time, looking for every available means of getting to him by an open publication, praying that somehow it will get to him.
This is the reason I am crafting this open letter to him. President Buhari has assured me when he received his Certificate of Return that he will give “all Nigerians a voice” in his government. I therefore can “contribute to governance” because he said sees “all Nigerians” as his “own”. This is the privilege I don’t want to lose, and this is why it is my business to write “NOW THAT MUHAMMADU BUHARI WILL BE PRESIDENT”.
2. At this time, I am expecting the President-in-waiting to start delineating his policy direction, to draw up the lists of his teammates and the offices they would oversee rather than occupy; I hereby submit my contributions to Mr. President-elect.
A. Policy direction:
i. Police and Civil Defense Corps reforms –
• This must be a priority for the incoming administration. Nigerians are tired of security men treating them as a conquered people. The situation where whips are used on citizens is not acceptable. We pray to see the Nigerian Police/Civil Defense Corps that respect the civil populace and treat those under its authority during civil/criminal investigations with human dignity. Police/Civil Defense training MUST of necessity elaborate on the superiority of the civil populace over those who weld guns; they must imbibe civil morality, behaviour and national patriotism. The process of investigating a citizen must ensure his fundamental human and civil rights. Questioning to unearth truth must be intelligence-based and by intellectual engagement. Police and Security personnel training must embrace all these – For the purpose of clarity, suggestions under this article referring to the Nigeria Police MUST also embrace the Nigerian Civil Security and Defense Corps (NCSDC) and its hierarchy.
• Torture of citizens in whatever form should be seen as a failure in the relationship between the police and the citizens. A police census should be carried out, where policemen of lower rank (Constable to Inspectors) would be documented as policemen at the nearest Divisional Police Headquarters nearest in their Local Govt Council areas, presenting an authentication from their village heads, authenticating them as indigenes. This will then ensure their deployment to established Units within their own Local Government Areas. Bail MUST be free, not in words but in actual implementation. Bail issues should be removed from all Divisional Police Headquarter (DPH). Any case which gets to the level of the DPH should been seen as that which only the court of law can grant bail.
• The police census for lower ranks will weed out mercenaries planted in the Nigeria Police by our political elites. Every community in the country MUST be responsible for every lower rank policeman they produce for Nigeria. No police officer below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police II should be allowed to work outside his LGA of origin. They should be posted to oversee the operations of PUOs and PWOs, as will be recommended under this heading.
• The concept of community policing must be redefined by the Buhari administration. Police duties must start and end with the ordinary people. If the people are not involved in policing, it cannot be community related, it can only be establishment promoting; and this is an aberration in world best practice for community policing. I hereby propose a “command and staff” structure for the Nigeria Police, for the purpose of effective logistics administration. The proposal embraces an additional two formations to the police command structure – the Police Unit Offices (PUOs) relative to electoral polling units in the country, graduating to the Police Ward Offices (PWOs), and to the present structure of Police Divisional Headquarters.
• In the proposed “command and staff” structure, the police high command takes charge of the “Command” aspects of Police administration and the Local Govt. Councils/Police, Community Relations Committees (PCRC) takes charge of staff administration. Normal police activities and deployments will be the responsibility of the high command to the level of PUOs and PWOs, while police recruitments and remunerations at the level of the PUOs and PWOs will be handled by a Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in every ward of the country supervised by the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) or his representative in conjunction with the LGA administrations in the areas. Members of the PCRC shall include the traditional rulers in the LGA, youth leaders in the various wards comprising the LGA, women leaders in all the wards in the LGA, the representative of the DPO and Police Officer in charge of the PWOs in the area. Funding should be from the Security votes of each State government. This should be backed by law.
• Current policemen, who would be so authenticated, documented and deployed by the Divisional office nearest to them, would be posted to their own units and wards of origin. Recruitments shall be ensured for every PUOs and PWOs where there are shortfalls. There should be 10 policemen for each of the two formations; and where actual policemen are more than 10 from the LGA deployment, the excess number should be redistributed to areas of shortfalls within the LGA before fresh recruitment is undertaken. Where the number of policemen is in shortfall, local youths should be recruited and trained in police training schools near them accordingly for both formations.
• While recruitment at the levels of PUOs and PWOs would be handled by the PCRCs, training, deployment, promotion will be handled by the police high command.
• A patrol truck furnished with communication gadgets and an imprest account should be deployed and made available to each of the PUOs and PWOs. This can be handled by the States government from security votes meant for the States.
• Functions of the PUOs and PWOs:
▪ The PUOs which should be headed by two trained policemen of not less than the rank of Sergeant overseeing 8 other policemen, running two shifts of 24hrs each will be responsible for intelligence gathering, unit patrol/surveillance and investigations monitoring. The unit offices shall also resolve civil related complaints within the locality and be responsible for granting bail on civil matters only. Daily duty reports must be forwarded to the PWOs.
▪ PWOs which should be headed by two policemen of not less than the rank of Inspector overseeing 8 others running two shifts of 24hrs will be responsible for supervising the PUOs, intelligence monitoring/scrutiny, investigations, interim detentions and issuance of bails on criminal matters. All cases beyond this level are move to the DPH. Daily duty reports are forwarded to the DPH, updating on reports from the PUOs.
• Training and remunerations of officers will be sponsored and undertaken by the various Local Govt. Councils and the Police Divisions in the area through e-payment; this will be ensured by a direct release of funds to the LGAs for this purposes. Commercial banks would be encouraged to open branches in all the LGAs in the country. Operational issues would continue to be under the existing police administration. The following are its benefits:
▪ Employment generation for local people in the Nigeria Police, Civil Defense Corps and banks: 20 in each of 10 PUOs making 200 PUO personnel in each ward, and 2000 PUO personnel in each LGA; 20 in each of 10 PWOs in the LGAs making 200 PWO personnel in each LGA, making 400 personnel in each LGA. Each LGA is staffed by 2,200 security personnel and 1, 702, 800 lower ranked security personnel in the country.
▪ Halting of urban migration, checking of homeless miscreants and illegal immigrants
▪ Scale down the pressure on and abuse of community policing
▪ Give LG Councils added/funding responsibilities for police and other staffing, training and welfare at the level of the PUOs and PWOs. Also checking the abuse of security votes by State Governors.
▪ Boosting of the construction industry with the prototype building of PUOs, PWOs and banks in every relative polling unit, ward and LGA all over the country. This will make Nigeria the biggest construction site in the world.
• The present police high command structure encourages waste of resources. The restructuring of the police should come with the streamlining of the police hierarchy to reflect the following categories:
▪ The Inspector General of Police
▪ The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Administration)
▪ The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations)
▪ Assistant Inspectors General of Police (Administration) for the six geopolitical zones
▪ Assistant Inspectors General of Police (Operations) for the six geopolitical zones
▪ This will ensure only 12 AIGs, 2 DIGs and an IGP.
▪ The Commissioners of Police structure can remain as it is presently, with the merging of duplicated functions.
Funds saved from streamlining the police hierarchy should be channeled into servicing the PUOs and the PWOs. It is expected that these two formations for the Nigerian Police and Civil Defense Corps, with operation imprest and well equipped vehicles, will employ 1, 709, 800 personnel and cost about N50bn monthly and N600bn annually. This will make 1 security personnel from each of the security outfits to police 80 Nigerians, with a likely statistics of 1 armed man to 7 criminally minded individuals.
ii. The Niger Delta Question –
• President Goodluck Jonathan, apart from deliberately empowering his Ijaw brothers and making them super billionaires, and sophistically educating others with them through the Presidential Amnesty Program, his administration has unfortunately not made visible impact on the Niger Delta region and its people. My take is for the Presidential Amnesty Office to be overhaul and reviewed. The Niger Delta region is still under ruin, severe neglect and abandonment, and it was for this reason that the “Niger Delta militants” held the country to ransom: the difference today is the money in the pockets of the ex-militants? This shows them to be criminally self-seeking and their activities in future must be checked.
• We thank the Yar’adua/Jonathan administration for the about 45% completion of the East West road. We have seen the good asphalting of a six lane highway, which covers not less than 80% of the East West road but where are the nine bridges on that road? This is why I am so generous in assessing the completion of that road at 45% completion. The incoming administration should reassess the construction documents, review all costs estimates and payments made; and then raise new targets that should complete the road in record time.
• The administration must distinguish between a deliberate “Ijaw cause and struggle” tagged as the yearning of the “Niger Delta people” from the real yearning of the people of the region. If it concerns the Niger Delta people, it must of necessity embrace every State and ethnic nationality comprising the region. We are tired of one ethnic nationality claiming to represent others when negotiating business ventures with government and excluding them when the goods arrive. To do this will from now be protested as government’s deliberate connivance and treacherous conspiracy against the Niger Delta people in favour of one ethnic nationality.
• The administration should consider speedy implementation of the “Ogoni/UNEP” recommendations and reassess all border disputes in the Niger Delta region to resolve them justifiably.
• The administration should be prepared for a successful dialogue with selected elders of the Ijaw nation in the case of any fallout from decisions that needs to set the government on the path of justice as it pertains issues relating to the abused Presidential Amnesty Program, especially if there is any intention to sabotage international businesses along Nigeria coastal waters, which could arise from Nigeria’s rejection of the Jonathan administration. In the days leading to the February 14 suspended elections, I was told of an Ijaw folksong that preaches that if Jonathan is not returned as President, the “Ijaws will defend their oil with their blood”. Whatsoever happens, my expectation from the Buhari’s administration is a peaceful overcoming of any resistance from Ijaw youths in whatever guise, especially in view of their present clandestine insistence on maintaining and sustaining of the present lopsided status quo, which I recommend should be reviewed and overhauled.
• On the security surveillance of oil pipelines, oil installations and our coastal waters; this is the statutory responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Police Air Patrol Unit, and recently the Joint Task Force established to ensure security in the Niger Delta region also can complement the roles of the Nigerian Navy and The Police Air Patrol Unit. Entrusting these responsibilities of protecting our territorial waters to a public/private bureaucratic contract arrangement is absurd and a sell-out to say the least. Such contracts, where so ever it exists must be immediately terminated, and role reversal be embraced to align with our statutory laws.
iii. Public/Civil Service Reforms and Census –
• Majorly, many Nigerians have bought into the “Steve Oransonye Civil Service Reforms Report” and in my opinion, I believe that the incoming government should implement this report in it’s entirely.
• There should be a review and merger or disbandment, or sort of harmonization of some of the relative Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). If possible, replications of Ministries at both Federal and State levels should be revised and remodeled. Like I have suggested for the Nigeria Police and the Civil Defense Corps, it is also imperative to redeploy junior ranking officers of the MDAs for similar authentication, documentation and deployment within their localities, with the intention of generating manpower for the Mechanized Farm Settlements to be established by government through Public/Private Partnership.
• Mechanized farm settlements should be setup with offices and staff quarters built in every Local Government Area in the country with the intention of exploiting and exploring the best ways of enhancing crop and animal productions, and to encourage agricultural extension programs. This way government can boost active engagement of its unproductive civil service populace and encourage national food production index in the country. Local farmers would be encouraged to jointly work with civil servants deployed in a public/private partnership. I understand that the Fishery Department of the Federal University of Agriculture generates annual revenue of N800m from selling Catfish.
• All civil servants of grade level (GL) 01 to 07, wherever they are in the country should be documented by their various Local Govt Councils with the authentication of their village heads. This documentation which should be saved on a central database, like INEC did with PVCs and card reader devices, should sieve out “ghost” workers of any kind. These set of workers so documented in their various LGAs would be deployed into the various farm settlements in their localities to administer them. Imprest accounts should also be made available to run these settlements.
• I am a believer in the fact that the present civil service structure is over bloated. In the face of the Obasanjo administration’s monetization policy and the advent of information/communication technology, senior civil servants subordinate to Permanent Secretaries, who wish to have drivers, messengers, cleaners, clerks etc must be ready to pay his staff from his take home package. It is absolute rubbish for officers of the civil service to have computers and laptops supplied to them by government and yet cannot use them by themselves. Mr President-elect and every principal officer of government must be minimally computer literate please.
• I see the incoming administration as a dawn of civil decency in public spending. The era when civil servants would sit at their desk “8-to-4” selling recharge cards, soft drinks and watching government bought televisions in office without any productive input to governance should be over. Merchandises in government offices in any guise must be outlawed and offenders prosecuted for trespass. I recommend that if it is possible, civil servants be remunerated on contract basis, paid according to man/hour inputs, like it is done on construction sites. This way, civil servants can choose what they do with their time. It is absolute waste in government spending to continue to pay for redundancy.
• The era when the annual recurrent expenditure is four times more than the annual development budget should be put behind Nigerians. Nigerians are expecting a more serious approach to governance and government expenditure profile. Too much money earned should not be misconstrued for careless spending as the outgoing administration exemplified. The administration must evolve the attitude of investing excess earnings into blue chip stock concerns, like China did in General Electric (GE). Funds saved away are stagnated; they can only generate more money if they are invested in international stocks.
• I am not in doubt of the fact that government contracts are highly inflated, up to 4 times its actually cost, because our civil servants love exploiting these excess funds for themselves and at the end, steal so much from contractors, disabling them from doing thorough jobs and leaving the people as the losers.
• The Sales/Commercial and relative departments of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation must be disbanded as long as our refineries are down and unproductive. In my opinion, only the engineering department of the corporation should be retained and encouraged to proffer solutions for the resuscitation our refineries.
• If petroleum must be imported, it should be handled entirely by the NNPC without the subsidy regime or if it must be handled independently through private sector investments, it should be entirely a private business engagement, with the government providing the enabling environment, which is not subsidy related. This will eliminated exploiters and deep pocket looters.
iv. Political/Judicial Reforms and Development of Ethics –
• I am not aware how far the outgoing government has gone with the implementation of the “Uwais political Reforms” recommendations. I am expecting the incoming administration to build upon the gains of the present administration and to further strengthen our electoral processes by encouraging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Civic Registration Commission (NCRC) and the National Population Commission (NPC) to institutionalize the use of information/communication technology in unifying our national identification systems on one secured central biometrics server, with one Permanent Identity Card, which can be used to identify a Nigerian, and which he can use a his voter card, driving license and any other form of identity application.
• With the present biometric data capture of every eligible voter, which is saved to a central database, the election processes must be made less cumbersome, prone to violence and manipulation; and expensive for the electoral commission. It is possible, with the finger print of every voter captured on a central server, to register voters to their mobile phone numbers to vote, with the mobile service provider allowing each finger print to only one mobile phone number, in the comfort of their houses. This will eliminate all the vices and risk to life to which the present system is disposed.
• In my view, the violence and malpractices in our electoral processes are caused by the usurpation of the peoples’ right to choose who represents them, by the imposition of those with illegitimate political power. In such instances, and against every odd, State powers and resources are employed and deployed to intimate, harassed and sway the ordinary people into submitting to whoever bears the power of State. I hereby therefore suggest the introduction to our electoral system the “Option A4” system of electing aspirants for political offices if voting by the mobile device cannot be actualized; Political party congresses and primaries, which have clearly revealed how political office holders and party organs at various levels manipulate the people against their will, a politician who thinks he is as popular as he insinuates, let him begin to win elections from his polling unit. This way a governorship candidate can be sure of winning his unit, ward, LGA and his State.
• The administration of President Mohammadu Buhari must evolve ways of making political offices less attractive to politicians, by trimming down on their pay packages. If it is possible, parliamentary activities should be made to be on part time basis and opportunities granted legislators to pursue other legal and beneficial concerns to them.
• The autonomy of Local Government Council must be ensured, especially with new the roles they should play, of overseeing mechanized farm settlements in their localities and the establishment of the two additional security formations. The present supervisory role played by States over the Local Govt Council should be removed from our laws. As States are federating units of the federal government, local govt councils must also be made federating units of the States. An amendment to our laws is demanded for this.
• A Judicial Integrity Board should be established with members drawn from the collegiate of retired Chief Justices of the Federation, whose responsibility shall be to scrutinize every controversial judgment of our courts, through the crucible of strait-full integrity, and to recommend punitive measures to the National Judicial Council against any judge found to have compromised his/her office. Bribery in the judiciary must be checked and eliminated, if the judiciary must remain the last hope for the common man.
• Legal Aid Council must be strengthened to provide free legal and advocacy services for the common man. Staff of this Council should be empowered to access any police formation and request to speak to all detainees held there. This will help to ease pains suffered by innocent Nigerians, who sometimes are killed innocently. This will improve our human and civil rights defense index.
• The incoming government must promote a bill in the National Assembly stipulating the “life sentence” for any corrupt public officer found guilty of pilfering, short circuiting laid down processes to weaken the check and balance framework and diminishes the expectations of his/her office.
v. Market and Price Control –
• The act establishing the Consumer Protection Council must be upgraded to give the commission the powers to determine market practices and to control the price of commodities and services through comparative indices according to what is obtainable in other climes.
• A Market and Price Control Board should be established to determine weighs and measures control for market and consumer service activities and dispensing. This Board must be empowered to fix prices for commodities and service dispensing. Prices must also be unified for every relative product or service. Though it is advisable to maintain the principle of laissez faire, it must be seen to be observed but government must be responsible for its citizen and should protect them from exploitation.
• Laws must be put in place to punish any entrepreneur or service provider who tilts or adjusts set down weights and measures used in providing goods and services to the Nigerian public.
• Private establishments must be made to adhere to the laid down remuneration standards established as unified minimum wage and professional services made to follow the laid down “scale of fees”. There must be a unified system of pricing for goods and services throughout the country.
• Import licenses for food, clothes and household commodities should be withdrawn and suspended. The era when merchants will enjoy waivers from government and bring in products to sell at their preferred prices should be over.
• Measures must be put in place to enhance the spending powers of consumers are geared towards the restoration of the “middle class” economy.
vi. Taxes –
• The following taxes must be ensured in order to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor; and to control the excessive flaunting of wealth in the face of abject poverty. A Banking Council shall be set up to secretly furnish government with details of every bank account in the country. All foreign transfer of money must be scrutinized by the Banking Council. This is suggested in the face of the fact that 90% of wealthy Nigerians became rich through the government:
▪ Property Tax: Owners of every landed property of more than 2,000 square metres must contribute the property tax to a Public Housing Fund, which shall be established to strengthen mortgage financing and encourage the provision of housing for the less privilege.
▪ Pleasure Tax: Pleasure indices must be determined by the Tax Board and pleasure tax imposed on all privilege individuals who desires pleasure e.g. there are cars that are considered “pleasure cars” and relative acquisitions like private jets, mansions, yachts, etc.
▪ Currency Tax: The Tax Board must determine what amount of money an individual or organization may possessed to be exempted from this type of tax. This type of tax is tailored after faith base organizations, which uses the Nigerian currency in an obscene manner without paying relevant taxes required for the printing and minting of the currency they flaunt. Any individual or organization who cannot pay this tax should print and mint his/her/their own currency and make it a legal tender in the world market. The Jewish religious system, from where our major religions evolved had their own temple currency to which other world currencies at time traded with in order to enable monetary participations within the temple.
vii. Industrialization –
• Under this heading, I suggest that the only way Nigeria can meet her industrialization targets is to withdraw all import licenses issued to merchants who deal in imports items like toothpicks, matches, apparels and shoes, textile products, cosmetics, generators, mobile phone accessories, used vehicles, light construction tools, artisan and craft tools; and other allied goods. Alternatively, these merchants should be encouraged to liaise with the companies they deal with overseas and encourage them to set up their kinds of industries in Nigeria, with the government providing the enabling environment for these ventures.
• It is not impossible for these Nigerian businessmen to ensure this but because of the excessive exploitation of Nigerians through imported goods and their roles in demanding that substandard goods be produced for our people, they become adverse and repulsive of the idea of encouraging foreign investors to invest in Nigeria. This idea is to ensure nothing a Nigerian buys endures its usage, so that they repeat purchases in short intervals. It should be ensured that either they establish joint venture partnership and such goods are produced or assembled in the country; or their businesses closes down. But import licenses MUST be withdrawn except for heavy duty machineries and industrial based necessities.
• Government must as a matter of necessity provide the enabling environment for local investors to set up cottage and light products industries. The textile and confectionary industries in the north must be resuscitated. Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) and the Volks Wagon Nigeria (VON) should be resuscitated too. State governments should be encouraged to privatize or commercialized industries presently run by them; there is the paint industries, biscuit factories etc. Government must understand why it should limit itself to policy formulation and the provision of the enabling environment to ensure a vibrant private sector handling of trade and commerce in all ways.
• Wastes, whether scraps or plastics; organic or inorganic, are great sources of wealth anywhere in the world. This is providing alternative sources of living in most African countries today. Government should encourage local and foreign investments in this regard. Scraps and wastes dumps, equipped with machineries, should be provided in every senatorial district to collect the different kinds of waste from where they should be transported to scraps and waste plants for processing. Plant yards should be built for recycling of scraps, waste polythene products, used vehicle tyres and all wastes littering our environments, converting them to wealth.
viii. Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution –
• Under this heading I think government has the responsibility to get our gas policy right. Gas flaring is all over the place and must be arrested. The question is: how difficult and impossible is it to contain the flares and channel this wasted resource into powering gas run turbines that should produce power to ensure the success of our bid to save our foreign exchange earnings, provide jobs to our teeming youths and to bring about our industrialization.
• The maximum capacities of Shiroro, Gurara and Kainji dams should be determined, reviewed and upgraded to boost our hydro-power generation. Government must completely divest from power businesses. I understand that power infrastructures in The Republic of Niger are power from Kainji dam; this offends the principle that “charity begins at home”. Why do we export power when we don’t have same at home? The same way the communication industry was liberalized, so also should our power concerns be liberalized.
• Importation of power generating sets and government continuous use of generators must be outlawed. As it stands, my expectation from the incoming government is to expunge all budgetary estimates for purchase of generating sets, their maintenance and fueling from the budget. If government cannot provide ordinary Nigerians power, they too do not have any moral right to enjoy power. We should all remain in darkness. Our leaders must learn share our pains and our joy to show leadership.
• The pre-paid system of metering, as done in the communication sector should be institutionalized and made compulsory for the power sector, especially for ordinary Nigerians who are daily exploited with issuance of outrageous bills by companies handling power distribution. Ordinary Nigerians should be given the privilege of determining, in advance, what power consumption they need and can pay for. Just as operators are independently making provisions for their customers, power operators must not depend on government for anything.
3. Our elderly and the physically challenge:
• An agency to cater for the elderly and the physically challenged should be established in all LGAs with the mandate to oversee to the health and welfare needs of our helpless ones. There is a national blessing to this effort.
• Monthly stipends should be made available to the elderly, who are not on the pension fund, and the welfare of the unengaged-able physically challenged who have no means of self-development must be ensured; and those with skill should be competitively engaged accordingly.
Inasmuch as I have other ideas I should share with the President-elect, let me spare him some time to consider other pressing national issues that requires his so limited time. I believe that if he can, as much as, give heed to my contributions, Nigeria would be on the her road to being a first world nation, as Singapore and China, who like us were Third World nations, some years back.
Thank you for your considered attention please.
Ini Akpan Morgan, architect