Laide Raheem, Abeokuta A gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Ogun state, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, has lamented the deplorable condition of township roads, particularly at the border towns and blamed the current administration for focussing only roads that “suit their ego and corruptly enrich their pockets.” He accused the…
It is apt for me to begin this piece by enunciating my philosophy and put my views in a proper perspective. I am moderately conservative in many issues, particularly in social issues, and progressive in others. I believe that everyone has an inalienable right to freedom, security, and pursuit of happiness. Life should be cherished and we should be thankful to God each day of our life for His grace. We should dedicate ourselves to serving humanity in any capacity we may find ourselves regardless of our political persuasion or our ideological constructs.
Admittedly, I hold freedom of press, speech or expression, and association very dearly. Though I believe in effective and smart government, a government that is responsive to its citizens, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure equity and fairness to all. Nevertheless, I simply do not think that government is the answer to all our social and economic problems. Individual responsibility is a critical element in solving some of the societal problems. However, to foster economic growth, it is the responsibility of the government to create the enabling environment and good business climate for both the local and foreign investors to be eager to invest in the economy. Also, the government should create an environment where people have equal and fair opportunities to achieve their greatest potential.
On education, primary and secondary education should be compulsory. Education beyond secondary level should be made affordable to those who wish to further their education.
Economy Nigerian economy is a one-product and cash economy that is riddled with corruption. The nation needs to diversify its economy to the extent of manufacturing goods for exports. The sole reliance on oil for Nigeria’s source of foreign reserve and export earnings, coupled with corruption and waste, would not lift many Nigerians out of poverty.
Nigeria, at this stage, needs to attract massive foreign investments to help diversify her economy for a meaningful growth. Federal government policies should be geared toward encouraging small-scale businesses, agricultural sector, viable tourism, implementation and application of technology in the educational system, attracting foreign investments. These variables are needed in addition to the oil for meaningful growth whereby policy- makers will focus on both micro and macro economics of the country.
Foreign Investment Additionally, the policy-makers must create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The nation has to have infrastructures in place and most importantly, security of life and property, to attract foreign investors and tourists. No one or no investor would want to visit or invest in an environment where lives and properties are not secure.
The rising number of kidnappings and armed robbery operations, coupled with the carnage perpetrated by the Boko Haram, are not helping the matter. Furthermore, the incessant religious and ethnic crises would make Nigeria unsafe for foreign investors, including Nigerians in Diaspora. Foreign investors and Nigerians living abroad will continue to lose confidence in Nigeria because of lingering violence in the country.
Sometimes people shy away from confronting reality or saying the truth or even criticizing the government for fear of disfavor or their lives. I have stated in the past that the governors should rate themselves based on how well they have improved the lives of the people since they took office.
If these governors are not paying pensioners, workers, and teachers timely, they are performing poorly. If they are not creating jobs, maintaining state and local roads, providing quality education, and are not implementing people-oriented programs, they should not have been in the office in the first place.
Most of these governors travel overseas often. They often leave the dilapidated healthcare system in their state for medical treatment overseas. In fact, they appreciate what they see and enjoy in United Kingdom, America, and other western countries. My question is: What stops them from implementing some of the good things they enjoy abroad in their respective states? The current governors should ensure that they are truly serving the people of their respective states.
The local government system is a good model for the country, but generally speaking, the LGA bosses have proven to be failures. They have failed the system terribly because they have systematically denied the masses of the dividends of democracy.
I would like to see transparent, responsible, and accountable leadership in all public and private institutions, including every level and all branches of government. I would like to see people in government driven by service and ideology instead of selfishness. It is my opinion that the National Assembly does not have the necessary tools to perform its oversight functions. It is imperative that the members of the National Assembly be trained in order to be adequately prepared with information and skills to discharge their responsibilities in a democratic society. For democracy to thrive, majority of the citizens must have the knowledge of the issues and skills to analyze them. In this regard, it is the responsibility of the media to educate the masses on national, state, and local issues. I strongly believe that it is the onus of the media to investigate and expose all maladies in both government and private sector.
Furthermore, the delineation of the powers of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches should be understood by those directly and indirectly involved, including the masses. Separation of powers among the branches of government is designed as a mechanism for checks and balances within the system. The masses should be empowered to have the basic knowledge of their government and the concept of democracy.
The national resources should be used to expand the economy and reduce poverty through job creation and infrastructural development. The national resources have not only been mismanaged, but they are also not being distributed equitably and fairly. In the past, policy pronouncements were not congruent with their implementations or executions. There should be constructive and effective plans in place to implement policies with ongoing monitoring and evaluation systems.
In fact, I had wished that the issues generated in the report of the Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Vincent Azie were investigated and resolved sometime ago. Also, I had wished he was not removed. The removal of Mr. Vincent Azie gave the appearance that the government was giving a lip service to the anti-graft/anti-corruption programs at that time.
It appeared that the federal government was hiding or covering up something, or did not have the interest of the nation at heart by letting Mr. Azie go. Nigeria needs people like Mr. Vincent Azie if the country is serious in combating corruption that has eaten the fabrics of the nation. Corruption is an endemic problem in Nigeria and it has to be fought relentlessly by all and in all quarters.