FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, June 7, 2019
lanreajiboye@yahoo.com
Canada
CANDID ADVICE FOR PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI

am passionate about good governance. My overall political view is liberal democracy exempting light punishment for serious acts of criminality; here I am in agreement with the conservatives and the republicans. Since I have become politically savvy during the second republic, political parties like the NPN, the NRC and the PDP have never tickled my fancy. And I give it to President Muhamadu Buhari that since his foray into partisan politics, he has never for once had any dalliance with the PDP.

When he was elected in 2015, I could have lost a bet if I had taken one, about where I thought Nigeria would be in 2019. Though the government he headed really tried but the efforts are not good enough. His disapproval reflected in the pattern of voting in 2019; he did not gain much outside his cast iron block where he is perceived a life time legend.

God’s willing he will sail through at the Tribunal. His main challenger is not a solution to Nigeria’s gourd of governmental deficiencies. Rather he is a problem to every solution. If one is getting emaciated, you must probe what you have done to your body system or what your body system has done to you, it is on this pedestal that I would like to highlight the deficiencies in Buhari’s government as I perceived it and not as an insider in government.

This shall be predicated on the fundamentals of government. Because America is a successful government, we can use the template for purposes of ideal government and those are

1. To establish justice

2. To insure domestic tranquility

3. To provide for common defence

4. To promote general welfare and

5. To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

The above captures security, rule of law, life abundance and freedom. In a nutshell, they represent the fulcrum of government and they are a good yardstick to measure the health of the Buhari led government.

Security:

The Buhari government inherited an appalling security situation in 2015 due to the cumulative misrule by the PDP led government for 16 years, but that is not a good enough excuse for a government that knows its onions. The APC knew what it was going to inherit in government and they ought to have factored all these in the build up to their challenge to do things differently. The main physical security challenge which is the BOKO HARAM could not be said to be as potent, deadly and mobile as they were pre-May 29 2015 but they still pose major security challenge. The problem is now compounded by the criminal activities of some “Vikings” (Vikingar) some are fond of calling herdsmen who are engaged in vices like robbery, kidnapping, raping, cattle rustling among other acts of criminality. We have also social insecurity; youths engaged in drugs, cultism and scam, and security agents who are more trading with their uniforms through extortions and high handedness.

But when it comes to the issue of Boko Haram, Kidnapping and threats of the so called herdsmen, the truth of the matter is that the gamut of security agencies are overwhelmed, enervated and fatigued mainly due to dearth of man power and partly by low morale occasioned by poor welfare and instruments of warfare that can assist their campaigns.

ADVICE:

The government can use one stone to kill two birds; generate huge employment and add man power to our security agencies. We are ripe for an equivalent of the United States’ elite force, SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) special operation force to tackle the complicated security challenges. We have so many qualified graduates who are jobless. They are trained in different branches of knowledge which can be handy with additional training in our quest to defeat evil.

We should be mindful of the fact that our lawmakers are able to seat comfortably in the chambers, some of them even are able to dance to Owambe music because some people are sacrificing on their behalf in the bush, in trenches, in inclement weather and are paying the supreme price for them and us to live. Cutting the Babanriga to patch the trouser is not out of way. If sitting allowance only is paid to them to make laws and may be reasonable remunerations for their mobility to their constituencies, such the current excesses could be used to make a special and very attractive package for serving and potential employees in military assignments.

The Executive arm should also sacrifice by sticking to only needs and jettisoning want in order to support our efforts to come out of ‘ Clear and present danger” conundrum we collectively brought upon ourselves.

The governors are not left out. An attack on one is an attack on all. It’s high time they do away with the fraud or loophole for corruption they call security vote. They should contribute generously to the pool. Most high profile businesses we praise and quote on SEC are beneficiaries of government patronage and they can only remain in business where there is peace and tranquility. They should also contribute to the pool.

The government should thereafter role out an ambitious employment drive solely for military assignments for our young but well educated men and women in the region of about one hundred thousand, just for counter terrorism mission and it is among them that they will have the SEAL as suggested earlier on and such could be eventually absorbed permanently in the military.

The contract for the proposed newly employed should be clearly stated that they would be engaged for five years and if there is a reason to shed their population they would be discharged with handsome severance package and be notified that they are on reserve. Truth of the matter even remains that 100 thousand additions across the gamut of our security agencies is not out of way for a country as big and complex as Nigeria.

ECONOMY:

If you are singing a song that is not exciting, at least you the singer is also listening. If a fish pops up from the river, those in fish business can vouchsafe a likely price; “N Power”, “Trader Money” are more of academic exercise and semantics. It is too complex for ordinary Nigerians to fathom and digest. The Vice President was going about to initiate Trader Moni across the states in Nigeria, at what cost is his transportation, security and logistics? It will most probably be more expensive than how much being distributed.

Why can we not do it differently by just creating that enabling environment that is transparent and sustainable? Businesses must not be paying bribe to get things done, illegal fees on containers both from the security agencies and goons inadvertently increase costs, ditto bad roads to destinations.

Agencies like NAFDAC and others are too costly and there is systemic corruption that makes product registration look like a rocket science. Countries of free enterprise just create enabling environment such that a prospective inquirer can sit within the confines of their home to ask questions online and they will be replied on what to do. The same is not obtainable in Nigeria. Government agencies websites are created either just to milk the system or as a status symbol but no functionality and seriousness.

We are not yet sophisticated for complex manufacturing but we can do a lot in agro allied. Government can target states that are food baskets of the country and open up roads and create social amenities like hospitals, government offices that are related to business set ups.

The government can give tax breaks to new companies and give additional incentives to businesses that employ more women and those with physical disabilities.

The ease of doing business should just not be parroted but must be felt directly by people who are engaged in different businesses.

Left to those who are benefiting from the chaos at the ports in Lagos, it is their prayers that never should the problems get fixed so that they can continue to benefit in the sorrow of others. How on earth should the cost of transporting a container load from Apapa to Ikorodu cost as much as Four Hundred Thousand Naira? It is unjust, it is wicked and exploitative.

The government should open up the states by super highways and decentralize the process of doing business with government. Everything should not be concentrated in Abuja. Most transactions in government should be done by mails and through postal agencies and exemptions being those that has security implications.

Food should be the cheapest commodity in the country and education should be affordable. If the rural communities are opened up and businesses spring up, there will be decongestion in the cities and housing problems that constitutes social crises will also be taken care of.

PROCRASTINATION:

Procrastination, they say is “the thief of time.” There is no smoke without fire. If Mr. President does not procrastinate for too long on issues of importance to the country, perhaps we would not have fallen into some abyss that brought profound consequences on our economy as displayed in the coldness of the first six months of his administration in the first time. Things are fast paced in the world these days, so are businesses. If a group of Nigerians see him as “Baba Go Slow”, they sure do have justifications for it.

As a country, we are not catching up with time and time is money. This second term should usher in prosperity, fulfillment and life more abundant for Nigerians irrespective of their social status, gender and ethnicity.

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