The political thunder storm that visited the corrupt Nigerian ruling elites, benefits of the fragmented and patchy Peoples Democratic Party that  was later converted into double barrel with which the outgoing president used to divide Nigerians along religious and regional dissection, playing minorities over majority with a plan to upset the country as strategy to dominate and perpetuate himself in power, not only disperse them  and their hangers on to fly apart but most importantly set in motion a process that would uproot impunity, gangsterism, looting of public treasury and betrayal of public trust. The emergence of All Progressives Congress as the ruling party with the tested and trusted General on top, symbolizes a complete change in Nigeria that is bound to alter the entire national structure that is believed by all as corrupt, inept and lawless.

General Muhammadu Buhari, is the man Nigerians demanded, wanted and got; the man whose record of service and experience remain outstanding in Africa. His personal lifestyle is already a model as his public records remain to form a national curriculum for younger Nigerians to emulate and imbibe as the most urgent civic education they must to learn. His quantum of sacrifices made him a selfless and patriotic leader everyone must commit himself to his successful tenure. Those that attempted to kill him last year would soon be exposed and must be brought to face the full wrath of the law. The man that the inept and the corrupt vowed to destroy, whose position in the kingdom of the Almighty defies any human imagination or crafting. Buhari, indisputably is the choice of God. His electoral victory is part of pay off, though a call to greater sacrifice.

In a TVC interview this April, General Buhari reiterated his government’s resolve to fight corruption, insecurity and unemployment. These are the 3-point agenda he outlined and stressed throughout his campaign. He connected all the nations’ problems into these major 3, sharply and brilliantly condensed approach. If well-articulated and pursued, the economy would automatically stabilise, meet the needs of the citizenry and develop the necessary resilience to withstand international turbulence or price disorder. Trained to  fight for the unity and cohesion of the country, designing his agenda in this manner is doing his job, and using combative language to stress the magnitude and weight of the task before his government.

In a recent analysis, New York Times described Nigeria as synonym of corruption. So corrupt that a group of some grossly unpatriotic people across business and political class in the country committed themselves and concluded they would never allow the General to lead Nigeria. God as the All-powerful wanted to rescue Nigerians from these wolves and share His power with him. This fight against corruption has to include people of such corrupt thought that promote national disservice. They must be contained as deterrence. Nigerian civil servants, less than 5% as they are but very powerful make one of the deadly dens of corruption that requires straightforward man of indefatigable stand to coordinate the fight here. Civil servants  symbolise leadership in society that do affect the wider community. That’s how corruption permeates the entire society.

There may be need to have ministry for national guidance, ethics and values to serve as coordinating/supervising body over the entire civil  service including the private sector. The ministry should have NYSC, SERVICOM, Code of Conduct Bureau, ICPC, NOA, religious organizations and related bodies as departments in the ministry. It should have programmes on ethical reorientation, anti-corruption, patriotism and paramilitary training as additional layer to take care of vigilantes and Hizbah groups. In line with international practices, the ministry should have paramilitary compulsory training for every Nigerian youth {perhaps graduate} as necessary step to plant patriotism, anti-corruption spirit and relative job creation towards new and vibrant Nigeria.  NYSC has outlived it usefulness, hence the need to restructure it into broad paramilitary service of one year in national security and law enforcement. On standardizing the civil service generally, there are rules to handle the bad eggs, recruit new ones and hold everyone on track. and as may be adjusted to meet new challenges.

Fighting unemployment is the second agenda of the General. Sure most criminal activities, political thuggery, insurgency either in the sahel or Niger delta are largely products of unemployment. As emphasized by him, he would address this menace by creating and providing jobs especially for youths that largely constitute this bulk. At issue is the obvious capacity constraints of the civil service. The President promised to run small cabinet which automatically translates to small government as well. Since there is decisively a very limited room for employment in government, it is imperative to look elsewhere. The private sector is a potential reservoir of jobs to virtually everyone. How various economic policies of previous regimes hit at the sector that largely rendered it comatose must be revisited in order to bring the sector back on track as complementary public schemes to national development process.

Devalued national currency, fraudulent privatization practices, incentives too few selected well connected industrialists, insecurity, bad infrastructure are some of the major factors that rendered the private sector a near dead. Immediate policy attention on these would make investment more attractive to both domestic and international investors. G8 has already invited the new president to its next meeting in May. With truly interdependent relationship, the potentials in Nigeria should attract any serious investors and cultivate an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and business. The resources in Nigeria are so huge that negotiations over development assistance and donations should be over now or else it would continue to constitute clientele relationship. Development experts insist the only food that is free is in the trap! Nigeria should go to the G8 summit with well spelt out agenda on processing our huge oil deposits in the Sahel{Chad Basin} solid minerals all over the country, infinite human energies that are largely untapped. As partners in progress, G8 should be ready to listen and negotiate with the President on equal and independent terms.

Another item on the agenda should be to get alternative sources of energies necessary to provide the much needed power supply to put the country on a sound take off. The BRICKS economic bloc are on the other side of the slab and would soon come up with their invitation and offers. It is wise and rational that the old colonial powers, the Hegemons on G8, ought to and must discard their thirst to dominate and control others as deleterious to a fast globalizing world that places China on the fastest lane followed by the new and newly new industrialized nations. This need becomes critical in view of the New Development Bank that already threatens and provide fair and acceptable alternative to the Bretton Woods institutions whose Structural Adjustment Policy, SAP, is seen as synonymous with re-colonisation throughout the third world.

Another need for G8 to be approachable with its partners is the challenge Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank {AIIB} poses to the dominant international financial policy that is neo-liberal. It’s a bank whose terms and conditions are virtually antithetical with the World Bank. The world is genuinely assuming its interdependent nature as states are increasingly behaving as independent entities. This is where diplomacy is more difficult than medicine or nuclear science because the intrigues, complications and choices that would emerge from the BRICKS vis a vis those being offered by G8 at both multilateral and bilateral contexts require highly skilled negotiator who would put his country at the forefront of any double speak or whispers.

About 2 years from now, Gulf cooperation council have expressed interest to make initial investment of $2 billion in African agriculture for which neither AU nor any individual country can take the offer further. It’s time for the new government to look into such areas with a view to repositioning the nation’s leading GDP into number one source of revenue to the nation as well. Agriculture, Solid minerals, human resources are the leading indicators for Gross National Income (GNI) –GDP plus NDP in the new global economy that is emerging away from oil. The massive availability of oil now and apparent dwindling in the price and its marketability make the need to devote close and urgent attention to the non-oil sectors more impending. There should be plans at fund raising, training programmes and skill acquisition schemes to measure the non-oil sector drive as greatest policy direction of the government. This is the surest way for job creation and provision of employment.

An economy like Nigeria’s that was looted and deliberately vandalized calls for a serious rethink on subsidy and government interventions, what American Government calls bail out. The economic team of the government must study EU economic policy especially on agriculture, social security and investment. Improving the welfare of the citizens as cardinal constitutional obligation makes provision of certain services unconditionally free, the subsidy if you like. It government has to sell everything and charges money for whatever it does to its citizens, it does not legitimise its reason to exist. Free market is utopian as the capitalist would always describe socialism. Chomsky intelligently argues, even the free market is not free. Yes, it’s implemented and regulated by the Government itself. Free market has never operated on its own. So you always need government to provide the PUBLIC GOODS.

There are a lot to learn at fighting unemployment. It is a task that requires diligent and far reaching strategy. ECOWAS needs to be closely monitored to make its promised regional integration a reality, a claim that far predated EEC/EU. The old investment policy of Nigeria in places like Benin and Niger republics need to be revisited as catalyst for regional integration. The jobs this would create across virtually the entire ECOWAS states is a big fall back for employment. Nigerian investors may form core partners in this drive. So also the need to revisit the revised Nigerian investment law that allows 100% profit repatriation is inconsistent with the drive to redo the Nigerian economy. Incentives are necessary to encourage investors, but not to exploit the investment climate. Exchange should be equal, this is what mutual cooperation demands. Previous regimes that allow for complete profit repatriation should have prioritised the investment areas. Should a sector attract such largesse, which is needless, foreign investment must be in heavy industries, science and Technology not service industries.

Insecurity is best represented by failed Defence policy of the nation which rendered all other security activities almost a spent force. This can best be seen on how a whole Minister of Defence failed to make any public policy statement on Niger delta saboteurs or Boko Harm insurgents as if it is not a public concern. So also how the National Security Adviser fails and how  narrow and parochial conduct of the state security service was turned into recently requires an urgent overhaul  in line with the fight against corruption.

For now the national security agencies, including NIA are largely sources of national insecurity rather than succour. How they have been co-opted into the armed and combative wing of PDP at the expense of national security and cohesion calls for not only restructuring but a decisive change in the method of recruitment, training and retirement policies of the organization in line with a new and vibrant Nigeria the government set to engineer. The Nigerian military that epitomizes the national defence and security structure of the country was the worst affected. It remains as an onlooker while the nation’s territories were taken over by insurgents as if was stage-managed. Part of the fight against corruption and insecurity is to probe the trillions injected into this sector only to allow Nigeria lose its territories and citizens completely traumatized. The gradual but destructive expansion of BH atrocities into west African sub region is part of the consequences of the co-opting of the national security agencies into PDP armed wing. Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republic have been thrown into a disaster Nigeria should have averted 5 years ago. In fact if not that Buhari is coming on board, these countries may have to take Nigeria to The Hague for deliberately allowing this death machine named BH to engulf them.

Conversely, the agenda of the regime should have gone beyond 3 points in view of Nigeria’s international stand and how battered are its citizens and the nation. Sure, linkage politics insists that a nation’s international relations is a function of its domestic processes, nevertheless, restoring our prestige and good image should be an issue of equal significance if not more. Though major members of the international community are already on their way to have Nigeria as a good friend, the citizen, who is crook abroad and made the innocent to be seen and treated as such need to be properly seen and treated as equal with any other citizen. Foreign Affairs ministry, the presidency and other relevant bodies like the proposed ministry for national guidance have a duty to look into this problem. Sure, our foreign missions are equally infested by what is obtained at home, doing very little on their jobs, even that is largely providing protocols to the Abuja hierarchy and their hangers on while citizens are thrown to the dogs even at dire periods of need. How visa requests are ignored even based on genuine reasons by the applicants is another concern. The proposed ministry after due assessment should issue ethical clearance certificate in respect of any Nigerian as part of Nigeria’s condition for visa issuance. This would go a long way in restoring the dignity of Nigerians. Part of the new friendship package countries extend to Nigeria should involve immediate review of its visa procedures on Nigeria. Restoration of Nigerian dignity and that of the black race is a duty Nigeria has shouldered ever since. At no other time  should it commit itself to it than now.

As Buhari is set for the 4-point agenda I have set for him, which are: fighting insecurity, unemployment, corruption and restoration of Nigeria’s dignity internationally, Nigeria is also on course to lead Africa, which is its destined responsibility.

We shall continue to pray to Allah who brought about this blessing for Nigerians , Africans and all world progressives  to succeed and continually advice the government to remain true to its promises and much more to come, It’s a mission of real change. Change that becomes inevitable and best that happens to Nigeria. We are confident that this change would bring socio-economic and ethical rejuvenation of the nation. It’s a call and commitment to national {patriotic} and democratic reconstruction.

•Muhammad teaches International Relations & Development at Kaduna Polytechnic

Culled from PM News


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