ith more than two and a half years in power as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and almost nothing pragmatic achieved besides rhetoric and politics. I think it is time to ask the one time Army General when he will wake up. When will he stop this somnambulism? When will he look at the time and see that four years of expected change is ticking away. When will Mr. President prove that he genuinely contested to become the President of Nigeria in 2003, 2007, 2011 and won in 2015 not to serve personal or parochial interest but to make Nigeria stand among the developed nations. This is because if he contested a position with his pedigree of being a former Head of State, Nigerians did not expect him to be learning governance or sleeping in Aso Rock. They expected him to begin to put to practice what he has planned for the nation.
When will Mr. President wake up and show that he is the Cyrus that the massive Christian electorate that put him to office be justified of making proper use of their votes? When will Mr. Buhari wake up and prove that apart from his certificate which is paper, that he genuinely passed School Certificate. When will Mr. President wake up so that the no nonsense attitude to governance and initiatives, like War Against Indiscipline (WAI) and other initiatives that were putting the nation on track that were displayed, during his military takeover will no more be attributed to his late Second in Command General Tunde Idiagbon?
When will Mr. President wake up and realize that the main reason Nigerians voted for him and heaven approved him is solely to deal with corruption in Nigeria. When will he realize that corruption is a cancer and major cankerworm that has eaten the brains, livers, kidneys, heart and all vital organs of Nigeria that it will take more than palliative occasional chemotherapy but a real surgical operation to deal with this evil. When will Mr. President wake up from his slumber that Nigerians are tired of his excuses for failure and that they want results.
When will Mr. President wake up and realize that God removed President Jonathan for his uncommon romance, unprecedented and excessive latitude and appetite for corruption and his policy of 'stealing is not corruption'. When will he realize that lack of will power to fight corruption is what prompted God to replace Jonathan with him and that God will deal with him if he too fails to do something about corruption. The cane used to flog the first wife is kept for the fresh one.
Let it be clear that this open letter to Mr. President is not to criticize him but to give him a catalogue of areas to look at when he wakes up from his slumber and he should wake up now. Suggested actions for Mr. President.
Refresher Course for Mr. President on dealing with Corruption.
My first suggestion is that Mr. President should come down from his high horse and go for a refresher course in fighting corruption. He was in government about 30 years ago under a military regime, his performance at that time among other things, the way he fought corruption prompted many people to expect him to be able to do it again. But he should be fair to himself and go for a refresher course particularly under a democratic setting. I recommend for him to go to Singapore, a nation that has zero tolerance for corruption and built their nation in record time. He should attend tutorial classes by linking up with some Presidents that were elected about the same time like him to fight corruption in their nations and are making waves fighting corruption. He should visit the Presidents of Tanzania - John Magufuli and Philippines - Rodrigo Duterte to mention a few.
Jail for Corrupters and Looters
With the level of corruption in Nigeria, which also the President used as a bait to hood wink and get the electorate's vote to get to office, he should by now put some of the high profile looters in jail. Failure to do so is to see him as a compromiser. One expects Mr. President to by now know that the laws of the land has too many loop holes to deal with corruption. One then expects him to by now have a functioning Special Court that will try this national looters and put them in jail. In the case Mr. President did not wake up to deal with corrupters, corruption will continue to kill Nigeria.
The many cases of money laundering and discovery of unbelievable large sums of money in cemeteries, houses, flats, bank accounts home and abroad and other places, and the people concerned are not prosecuted or even charged to court shows that Mr. President is asleep, possibly on the money. Mr. President within the ambit of the law, Nigeria expects you to be stern, prudent, fixated, harsh, firm and decisive on money launderers. Failure to do so will encourage people in your administration to continue with money laundering. 'Cut' the head of money laundering. Sacking money launderers to enjoy their loot is not the way. Confiscate the money and through special courts, jail them that their generations to come and Nigerians will never contemplate money laundering.
Can Mr. President claim he is not aware of institutional corruption, in Parastatals like NNPC, Immigration, Customs, Banking Sector, Civil Service, The Police, The Military (Army, Navy, Air Force), Licencing offices, The Health Sector, The Universities, will Mr. President leave all these areas untouched and yet claim he is fighting corruption?
If Mr. President is quoted correctly as saying "if Nigeria don't kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria". Is he waiting for Corruption to kill Nigeria? How is he killing corruption? Mr. President should know that you can hardly do any transaction in Nigeria within the civil service whether at Federal, State or LGA without people demanding, giving and receiving bribes. He should visit these places personally or with disguise personnel and see the corruption. Such people should be sacked and prosecuted.
Nigerians need force. People feed on corruption in Nigeria. I wrote a fictional novel titled: To The Rescue (say No To Corruption). Prior publishing I brought the manuscript to Nigeria to look for publisher, the three major publishers I approached tactically rejected the book, on the pretence, that how they can sell the book. That Nigerians love corruption and it will be difficult to sell such book. I have to print the book in USA. If Mr. President do not have a way to educate Nigerians on the danger of Corruption, and find a way to let people be content with their wages and salaries by making examples of bribe takers and givers, this nation will remain a corrupt nation.
Reducing the distance between people, markets, services and knowledge - or simply 'getting people connected' - is a great part of what economic growth is all about. Although virtual connectivity has become increasingly important today with the emergence of new communication avenues like social media, a good and reliable transport network remains vital. There is a very strong positive correlation between a country's economic development and the quality of its road network. Nigerian roads are bad. In fact many places have no roads. I was in Pakistan last month and I just wept for the giant of Africa. Three things do I suggest Mr. President should do when he wakes up. Increased budgetary allocation for roads. Secondly, stop awarding road contracts to party members who will never execute the contract and Mr. President's hands are tied to discipline them. Rather, award contract to performers who will do a lasting job. Thirdly, when the contracts are awarded Mr. President should pay unscheduled and unannounced visits to the sites, to ensure the contracts are executed. Mr. President, you cannot afford to just be sleeping in Aso Rock and think your men are on top of the job. We don't want to be told after your four year term that 300bn Naira or more have been squandered as we were told about President Obasanjo and his Minister of Transport- Mr. Fix it who only fixed his pocket in his days to his shame and left the roads untarred and uncared for.
It will be a shame if this administration fails to tackle power supply in Nigeria. With their boasting 'that a responsible government must be able to fix power in six months when campaigning. The importance of power supply could be summarized by Richard Arkutu, Head, Africa Special Initiatives, International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of World Bank who said that constant power supply will ensure overall prosperity and development for Nigeria. "Electrification will make an important contribution to sharing the benefits of growth broadly among all Nigerians. Nigeria's progress in reducing extreme poverty is an important contributor to the three per cent global target for extreme poverty," he said.
He noted that 30 to 40 per cent of manufacturers' costs was power related; therefore, an increase in power generation and distribution was important.
I was invited to minister to students of Afe Babalola University in Ado- Ekiti and to promote my book - To The Rescue (Say No to Corruption). After my presentation I was conducted around the beautiful campus. Prior to coming, I was told about the exorbitant cost of education in the tertiary institution. As if my tour guide was reading my mind, he said when we got to the generator station- "you must have heard that this school charges high fees, what they will not tell you is that to run the generators alone in a month with diesel is more than 20 million Naira!"
Important as this matter is, the citizenry have no clue what Mr. President is doing, an evidence of sleeping and snoring over this crucial matter. Nigerian government is paying lip service to power generation in general and renewable energy in particular. With us having gas in abundance and supplying to West Africa and Ghana planning to supply left over power to Nigeria, when will Mr. President wake up? These are my suggestions for Mr. President. Again a visit to the headquarters of Power Holding Company of Nigeria to hear firsthand what is really going on in that sector, not just second guessing reports he is fed with is overdue. He should find out what the IPPs are doing collectively. Throw it open to Nigeria as a debate. Engage the diaspora opportunities. I watched a video clip of mobile generating power units from General Motors from USA that is adaptable to Nigeria situation. Opportunities like this should not be ignore. Mr. President can also enforce deregulation of the sector not paying lip service to it. He could set up a think-tank ad hoc energy sector developer committee beyond relying on the relevant Ministry that its saddled with the well know bureaucracy that renders it ineffective. There are many alternative energy sources in our age from coal, gas, fossils, hydro, solar to nuclear that it seems ridiculous that this country is wallowing in darkness for ages. Mr. President Nigerians are tired of you presenting budgets that runs into trillions of naira year after year without anything to show for it. You are the one given opportunities to the opposition to mock you. You must have heard that the best defence is success. Mr. President, wake up and write your name in gold by solving the energy problem of Nigeria. Until we get power right, we are not going to get many things right in this country.
Mr. President when will you wake up and handle the issue of petrol related matters in Nigeria once and for all. People like me an ex-refinery staff campaigned for you when I saw in your manifesto that you will build four refineries when you come to power. You can imagine my disappointment and that of others to know that there is no mention of building refineries since you came to power rather all we hear is the scandal of $25billion from the GMD of NNPC on irrelevant contracts. Mr. President one of the ways to get the refineries working is to pay a personal visit to at least one of them. Show that you care. Your principal officers in Ministry of Petroleum and NNPC are fighting openly because of your over sleeping. Don't you think a day visit to NNPC headquarters in Abuja will shake things up? I think so. That rats are preventing you from entering your office and therefore making you comfortable in your bed room is shameful. Nigeria will not be surprised to hear that kind of information if it came up in the past administration, not a mouth corrective regime as yours.
Reshuffle Your Cabinet
Mr. President you cannot take Nigeria and Nigerians to the Promised Land, which flows with milk and honey, a developed nation with your current team around you. With this Mafia that has caged you. With this crop of corrupt cabinet members that surrounds you. Imagine the sycophants in your corridor of power? They are only evidence of a sleeping President. You know what, do a cabinet reshuffle to prove you are awake. Let me offer you a biblical reference on how to make the next selection. "And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom." Acts 6:3.Dont choose tribalistically, or 'partylistically' but meritoriously.
Mr. President time will not permit me to talk on herdsmen, legislators, judiciary, restructuring, youth empowerment, employment, manufacturing sector, religion, Islamization, tribal agitations for balkanization of Nigeria and many others serious matters.
There is no doubt that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. There is no doubt that Nigeria is a complex nation to govern. There is no doubt that Nigerians are impatient. One thing is clear, you have been entrusted with power! Nigerians wants you to use that power. They want you to take action. They want to see you move around, pay surprise visits to parastatals, hospitals, military base, universities, states and places that matter. Whether you like it or not it changes a lot of things. Nigerians are taking advantage of your action-less-ness to continue with high level corruption under your watch or will you are sleeping. Mr. President action speaks better than words. Your presence in places matter. It was Benjamin Franklin that said: Never confuse motion with action. Nigeria is on motion without action because the President is sleeping and needs to wake up.
Nigerians want to see Mr. President come up with strategic solutions to the many challenges they are facing. Recession is still with the people. The masses are hungry. Cost of cement, food, textiles are still high. That Nigerians are paying as high as 147 naira per liter of petrol and not protesting in the streets does not mean they can afford it with a minimum wage of paltry 18,000 naira per month ($50). Nigerians want to see the money recovered from looters not re-looted, but committed to infrastructural development. They want to see the effect of the better price of crude oil ($64/barrel). Nigerians need their own national airline. I traveled to Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe last year, for International Gathering of Eagles Conferences to my greatest surprise these little countries with the poorest economy have their airlines! Namibia with a population of 2.48 million people have a functional airline compared to Nigeria with a population of almost 170 million people. Nigerians deserve better than what they are getting. Nigerians want to see positive change in the economy. Nigerians don't want a President that just reacts to issues (news) and challenges raised on electronics or print media they want to see you demonstrate skill, intelligence, human capacity and capability. Nothing happens until something moves. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mr. President, think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought. The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. Let me leave you with these four quotations by these famous men with the hope they will galvanize you to action.
"The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions"-Confucius
"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If you don't make things happen then things will happen to you."~ Anonymous
"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result". ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Dr Amos Dada is the Convener of International Gathering of Eagles Conference. The leadership conference will be held in Freetown, Monrovia, Abidjan, Accra, Lagos, Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Uyo, and Calabar in the month of November and December. Check details on his Facebook page.