THE EXPECTATIONS OF NIGERIANS AS WE ENTER 2018.
By Fenny Fwah
2017 has gone with its baggages which were growing poverty, lack of qualitative growth and development, unending insurgency with corresponding destruction of lives and properties, killings perpetrated by herdsmen who move with illegal arms without being apprehended, threat of secession by IPOD which has been largely contained, corruption continued despite the change mantra etc.
Having gone through these hardships and security threats, it’s hope that we shall say bye bye to these in 2018. We know it’s not easy to govern a complex and Complicated country like Nigeria. What is lacking in most of our leaders are lack of vision, competence, honesty, transparency, incorruptibility, fairness and social justice. Bearing these in mind, these are my synopsis of what we expect in 2018.
I had raised the issue of competence. With the exception of few leading lights In the government of President Buhari such as Minister of works, power and housing, Fashola, the custom and Excise Boss Hameed and the Federal Inland board led by Fowler, the rest have performed below average. We have not seen much movement in the critical sectors that will diversify the economy promised by this regime. The agricultural and solid mineral sectors that will change the narrative of the mono economy to are a diversified one have performed awfully. Mr president kindly reinvigorate your team by removing the deadwoods and replacing them with competent hands.
There is a loud outcry in country about lopsidedness in the appointments In sensitive positions which is alleged to have been dominated by particular section of the country. The president based on grape vine has admitted to this lopsidedness and promised to address it. The sector that people have complained most is the security architecture. It’s unfortunate that few days ago, to consternation of the nation, the same people have been retained for a record third term. Let us pray that the other sectors where the accusation is still germane will be addressed.
It’s the conviction of most Nigerians that given the incorruptible nature of President Buhari , this menace that reached a frightening dimension during the GEJ era will be reduced to the barest minimum. Agreed a lot have been done to addressed this hydra-headed monster. To say that the president has not done well on corruption is to be economic with the truth. The general complain is that some personal aides of the president are involved in high profile corruption. There was the N500m paid my MTN to the account of an Aso Rock power broker and nothing has been done in terms of probe. Similarly, Senator misau has made damaging allegations on the Inspector General of police, bordering on corruption, Favouristism and immorality. Instead of investigating the damaging allegations, Senator misau is ironically being prosecuted by the federal Government through the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. There is this petition by minister of state on petroleum, accusing the GMD of NNPC of awarding contracts worth $20b. It has been reported in the national dailies of 25th December 2017, that NNPC has defrauded FAAC of the sum of N1.313 trillion of revenue accrued to the three tiers of government. It’s extremely important that mr president should look into these infractions to up the ante on corruption, otherwise soon than later the regime will be infected with the same disease that had eaten deeply in the fabric of GEJ’s regime.
Insurgency that was decimated and virtually all the captured territories were liberated, including Sambisa Forest, but the victory was short-lived as a reinvigorated BH became stronger in Sambisa, ambushing our troops and killing them in large numbers. It also escalated its suicide bombing where people were killed in large numbers in mosque and other strategic locations in Maiduguri. Total overhauling of the prosecution the war against insurgency is long overdue. I’m of the strong opinion that we should totally destroy Sambisa forest since it’s sanctuary of BH.
It’s becoming very embarrassing that herdsmen have been killing people in all parts of Nigeria and not a single person has been apprehended. They move freely with illegal arms. It’s like they have been licensed to kill at will. If something is not done about this sooner than later this herdsmen will become uncontrollable, with the possibility of turning into a terror group like BH and they will spare nobody.
There is remarkable improvement in the economy as the price of our mono product oil is on the rise which is good for the economy. Consequently, our foreign reserves has risen to $38b. We are technically out of recession, but there are several areas that we are not addressing which have reduced the purchase power of Nigeria. There is this incessant or perennial shortage of petroleum products which makes the lives of the common Nigeria unbearable because of high cost of of fuel has multiplier effect on other cost of products and services. What has happened to the refurbished refineries? These imported fuel has been depleting our foreign reserves and thereby devaluing our Naira. Something must be done in 2018 to changed the narrative.
We need to cut down the cost of governance which is on the high side. I’m piece of when I heard that the president is increasing the number of minister. The current number of 36 is still too large, but it’s understandable because is a constitutional provision that each state of the federation should have at least one minister. Expanding this number for political considerations is increasing cost governance which is still large. There is also the worrisome issue of astronomical cost of maintaining our legislators adjudged to be the most expensive in the world. There budget of N150b is Scandalous and must be drastically reduced. Nigerians should raise up to occupy the National Assembly and insist they drastically review their budgetary downwards. There is need to kick start other industrial and commercial ventures to generate the desired revenue and decongest the saturated labour market. A marshal Economic blue print must be put in place to take the economic to another level.
Addressing the maladies in the social sectors should be a top priority. Our education from tertiary to primary levels are in shambles thereby producing half baked graduates. A surgical operation in this critical sector is long overdue. This should start by appointing an experienced sound educationist to man the ministry of education, not leaving it in the hands of inexperienced accountant turned journalist. The narrative on our health sector must be changed for good. In a situation where the country doesn’t have a world class hospital is worrisome. This has resulted in our scarce foreign exchange being expended on medical tourism. It’s a shame. National hospital must be upgraded, giving it a face lift and renumeration of Doctors in those hospitals be increased in order to attract the services of our experts that are domiciled abroad. In fact we can make arrangements for such experts to retain their posts abroad while they come regularly to the country to attend to our medical needs.
I’m deeply worried with ongoing constitutional review that it’s not addressing the issue of power rotation. This issue must be constitutional addressed otherwise the discontent arising from it could explode and the country will be worse off. We need to take a look at Late Alex Ekueme’s proposals during the 1996 constitutional conference where he advocated power should rotate amongst the six geopolitical zones. And each of zones should hold power for only 5 years and after 30 years this provision will be reviewed. He was shouted down and the matter was thrown out. NASS should include this amongst the proposed amendments of the constitution.
As we usher in the new year, it’s our earnest prayers that these issues that have traumatized the nation and retarded growth and development will be nip in the bud.