I want to express my appreciation for the way you have been running the affairs of our nation since you assumed office as our President, and Commander- in-Chief of Nigeria Armed Forces. At the same time, I want to use this opportunity to thank God for the successful conduct of the election that brought you to power.
However, I will advise that you take note of these areas of our national life:
1.That Nigeria is more divided along tribal, religious, and regional lines than
when you first led this country.
2.Corruption then was like a child’s play, compared to what we have today.
3.The rate of crime now is unprecedented in our nation’s history, because today there are other crimes such as ritual killings, armed robbery, terrorism, kidnapping, pipe line vandalism, illegal oil bunker), etc.
These are as a result of corruption, tribalism, nepotism and the type of constitution, laws or system we operate. The law that is so cruel and wicked to the poor but so compassionate and lenient to the rich. The law that sends the poor to five/ ten years jail for stealing a goat or hen but frees the rich and powerful for stealing billions of Naira/ dollars on so called technical ground, that must be stopped if Nigeria must survive.
Mr. President, there is need to make a policy statement on your mission to save our nation from total ruin and your vision for Nigeria for years to come. We love your sacrifice and patriotism when you and the Vice President gave 50% of your salary to your country. But you must go a step further, that all those who want to work for this country must do the same, especially, the National Assembly members, governors, ministers, commissioners, judges, head of government agencies, ambassadors, High commissioners, etc. There must be a determined effort to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
As the father of the nation, you must “take the bull by the horn”. I am not saying you should dictate to the people but there is need to tell our people why they must show patriotism and be ready to make sacrifices if we want to see Nigeria of our dream, beginning with all Nigerians, National Assembly Members, Labour union Leaders, students, Judiciary, Medical Workers, the Armed Forces, your party, that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”.
The North through the Emirs, the idea that “this is our time” should be put aside for the good of the country. Everybody should see himself/ herself first as a Nigerian, before place of birth or tribe. We should do things that will unite not divide us. If we want to see a united Nigeria, We must amend our constitution that any child born in any part of the country is a citizen of that state, and any law abiding Nigerian who lives and works for up to ten years in any part or state in Nigeria should be a citizen of that state.
Mr. President, Sir, you will agree with me that it is cheaper to prevent crime than fight it. We should not forget the adage which says “if we want peace, prepare for war”. At the moment, the terrorists are ahead of our Security Forces/ Agencies when it comes to information, strategy, surveillance and possibly weaponry.
Where robbers take over a bank for two to three hours without hindrance and get away with their loot is unacceptable and embarrassing. The Government should have a “Task force of Army, Navy, Air force, Police, supported and funded by federal, State, and Private sectors as was done under former governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola but it can be upgraded. Their duty amongst others is to monitor, constant surveillance, patrol the streets, high ways, Airport, seaports, starting from our borders, offices, etc, fight crime and corruption which today one not only perceives the odour, stares one in the face.
If we would attract foreign investors, then there is need to more work in our human relationships particularly at the airports. This is every visitor’s first place of call when they get to the country. So poor is our human relations that it’s a complete put off.
N NPC/ Oil:
The first refinery in Nigeria was built by Shell. So it is not out of place if the Government should introduce a policy that all companies given license to explore oil and gas, and is able to produce up to one hundred thousand (100,000) barrels per day, must build a standard refinery. Those who cannot do so should give way for those who are wiling so that, if possible, we should be able to refine all our productions and export to other African countries. This will help to create jobs and increase our foreign reserve. The Government must know the correct landing cost of imported fuel/ petroleum products to Nigeria. It would be better if it is duty free or 5% duty for logistics than for this subsidy to continue. The subsidy money can be used to build roads, rails, for electricity, schools, hospitals, etc.
Another area the Government should beam its search light on is the cost of running its activities and deliberate on plans to remove all the abnormalities in the constitution which is slowing down the progress of this country, encourages corruption and crime, and things that bring division among us instead of unity.
Government should assemble seasoned judicial Officials and patriotic lawyers to be headed by His Excellency, the Vice President being a seasoned lawyer himself, to amend those areas that have some irregularities and forwarded same to the National Assembly for consideration and onward passage into law. Create special Court to try cases such as corruption, armed robbery, terrorism, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, ritual killings, for speedy dispensation of justice, even in the normal Court of Law.
The number of Ministers should not be more than twelve, USA and UK are example, and should be based on zones not states, that is, two Ministers from each of the six geo-political zones. The government should aim at using 40% of its revenue for recurrent expenditure and 60% for capital projects for now, and work towards 75% for capital projects after all the loopholes and leakages had been taken care of.
I pray that God will give you and your team, the wisdom of King Solomon to lead our people to the promise land. Amen.
Mr. Sam Imadonmwiyi, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Lagos.