The emphasis on good governance is vital, and the need for collective change and responsibility are germane as well. In this context, here is a piece from the desk of a Nigerian citizen aspiring to see an effective change to president Muhammadu Buhari
Prince Michael Nku Abuo (JP) wrote;
Funny as it may sound Your Excellency Sire, about two nights ago I had a dream where I met you at a function and told you I had solutions to most of our nation’s challenges and begged for an audience to present these solutions, and in my dream you gave me a note to see you at the villa.
The other side of this dream will be and is a subject of another day. Why I had this dream is unclear to me but as a Christian and one with a flair for social re-engineering it is a daily responsibility I have to pray for two personalities whose paths carry the destinies of many dear to me: One is His Excellency Sen. Prof. Ayade Benedict and the other is His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, as well as for my state and country. Now to the subject matter.
On National Challenges
Your Excellency, I bring you tidings of peace, love and goodwill. I wish to commend your courage and strides in ensuring that our country remain united against forces that seek to tear her apart.
These forces like no other time in the history of this country is waxing stronger by the day. From the perceived politicization of your fight against corruption, to the clash between pastoral herdsmen and the indigenes of various states and the devastating effect of Boko Haram on the people of Northern Nigeria and indeed Nigeria as a whole and its bad publicity on our nation.
Our economy too is facing serious challenges as evident in the downward movement of our Naira against the upward movement of Dollar. Several factors have played out to put our country and economy in very challenging circumstances, for example the states of our infrastructure, our “single” based export and multiple import economy, underutilized human resource capacity, corruption as seen across our nation’s ranks and poor work ethics of most civil servants, etc.
Aside the above, all of a sudden power output has dropped, we are queuing to buy petroleum products at an average of about two-five times the approved price. The prices of products in the market have soared as a result of increase in transportation and the dollar price. Even government agencies involved in service provision like hospitals etc have increased the price of their services.
This has caused untold hardship to many. In the midst of all this, all we hear is there’s no money and salaries across boards remain constant. How can the masses survive under this dire circumstance?
Recently,there’s a renewed verve amongst some group of Nigerians for the actualization of a sovereign state of Biafra. I intentionally refused to caĺl them by their ethnic nomenclature, for the categorization of our people by tribe and ethnicity has done us more evil than good. I believe we are first Nigerians before any other thing.
It is my believe in and for Nigeria, that has and is providing a guide towards my prayer and open letter to you. I am a patriot and a solution based critique. Irrespective of the fact that I voted for Goodluck Jonathan in the just concluded presidential elections doesn’t mean that I should watch you fail or our country sink further in comatose.
I make these submissions out of love for our nation and uttermost respect for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am guided by conscience and a true sense of my responsibility as a citizen for the evolution of true nationhood.
It must be made clear that we are not the only country with challenges and I do not blame you for these challenges, for these happenings is deeply rooted in the history of our nation and only a deep rooted solution over time will see to its end and it must be driven by the people of this nation to bring it to an end. The president alone can’t proffer and implement remedy to the situation on ground.
Government and citizens need to take a critical appraisal of the happenings in our Nation and individually and collectively play roles towards the salvation of our country Nigeria, beyond tribe, ethnicity, religion or politics.
As a youth who has studied the history of our nation and the histories of other nations. I understand that the path to evolving true nationhood is beyond mere wishes or verbal rhetoric or sudden happenings from a magical wand. The efforts must be conscious and all inclusive.
Therefore, permit me to provide you with my humble advice on some of the pressing issues faced by Nigerians.
The question Biafra of Biafra
Your Excellency Sire, it may be embarrassing and more so annoying for you to face agitations for the realization of a sovereign state of Biafra, after the lives and properties lost during the civil war and the mass protest it has spurred in certain part of the country recently but we cannot wish neither can we force certain problems away.
We must be truthful to ourselves as a nation and truth come from deep soul searching and answering questions that arise without biases. It is steps taken and implemented towards these answers and question that brings about peace.
Did we really burry the Biafra biases with the end of the war?Now the question of the Biafra biases includes the settlement and treatment given to the South Eastern and South South part of Nigeria after the war who made up the majority as victims of the war. Is there really government face across the states in these zones? Are the scars of the war truly healed or is it a smile out but hate-inside predicament?
Will the Nigerian state be willing to call for a referendum if need be to foreclose the possible re-emergence of these agitations? The current deaths caused by security operatives during peaceful protests from Biafra agitators worth it and can it not be avoided?
If Nnamdi Kanu broke the law, should the law be broken to prove that he broke the law?(The question of innocence-until-proven-guilty must be taken into consideration)
Will this not all end in dialogue?Yes it will!
My take Your Excellency Sire on this Biafra matter is that a detribalized commission be set up to look into the remote cause of these agitations and recommendations according to its finding, which should be all inclusive and transparent, be fully implemented.
Secondly Sire, the trial of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu should be made open and done within the law to avoid perception of biase.
Thirdly, security operatives should be properly guided in ensuring that peaceful protests are not turned into blood baths by their actions. Let us not forget how Boko Haram metamorphosed into what it is today. Pictures and video of peaceful protesters gunned down across the country paints your administration in bad light.
This micro scene depicted above is driven by youths and these youths are supposed to be or are the custodians of our future as a nation. What future can we boast of if our youths and people will willingly die against a nation that they should die for or protect?
Your Excellency, if I say that all was well with and in the last administration then I will be a barefaced liar and hypocrite. Just like we had the bad, we also had the good. It is a well known and proven fact that government is a continuum.We will like to see you continue with policies and programs of the past administration that was pro masses such as the YOUWIN project, the SUREP program, the full implementation of the report of the National Conference as well as ensuring the passage of the petroleum bill into law, etc.
New areas we will love to see reform are in the areas of social welfare/developmental initiatives for the physically and financially challenged as well as our teeming unemployed youths. If the United State Government can provide social services to the vulnerable of their society despite their capitalist nature we can. Only one recovered loot is enough to handle this.
Exploring our potentials fully by utilizing our agricultural and other natural resources to create jobs and opening of more avenues for exports in order to boost our economy.
Deepening regional ties by maximizing trade and business opportunities within the African Union and ECOWAS. For example, in a recent survey by Green Peace, China is illegally exploiting our water resources and as a big brother in the region we can sway these exploited opportunities to our favour and provide more than enough animal (Sea products) for the region. This is an economic potential.
On Boko Haram
We want to know what is happening to our national satellite in space and we must launch a project for our presence in space. This will enhance our telecommunications and also help us in cyber security and in national and regional security. The utilization of the Russian Space Satellite recently to know the workings of ISIL/ISIS and its partners is something worthy of thought. Same can be utilized in ending the menace of Boko Haram with a focus of this Satellite in the North East.
More so, as regards Boko Haram, it was covered in the media that different countries like the United States, etc pledged support for the rebuilding of the North East due to the devastation caused by the insurgents…What is the latest on these fund and the rebuilding exercise?
Since the efforts of Boko Haram is focused on the rural areas aside utilizing satellite techniques, can the community ties(carefully selected and trusted) be deepened with our security agents for a more collaborative effort towards ending this menace? I belief that the rural dwellers’ apt understanding of the terrain will be a plus to our security forces.
Besides with all the intelligence report and funds expended on information gathering do we truly not know those behind this terror group? If we do why have there not been prosecuted and these names made public? What is the driving force behind these people and their ideology? It is a known fact that one of the Abuja-suicide bomber was a physically challenged woman coerced into the act.
Our President, a selective tour across our prison system will expose the rot of this critical sector of our nation. A place where convicts are to be modeled has transitioned to where they are worsened. Dilapidated infrastructure, awaiting trial inmates now spend more time for even an offense that, if found guilty, will not warrant their staying that long, worst is over 70 percent are finally discharged and acquitted as innocent after years of pains and persecution, poor nutrition as against approved funds for ration, no international standard corrective measure etc. The prison system needs to be overhauled.
The price regulatory board in the petroleum sector has got to be overhauled and replaced with people of sound conscience as our economy depends on this. This is to ensure accurate pricing and sales of petroleum products. To balance the distribution of petroleum products, government should also own trucks to ensure adequate distribution and break the monopoly of independent distributors and also increase her filling stations across the federation (Proceeds from NNPC can adequately handle this)
Funding for our educational sector should be improved towards result oriented research for patents and national interest focused areas/initiatives. For our primary and secondary school, it is possible for us to provide free meals and also totally free tuition. A country like Venezuela has achieved this and we too can.
I was elated to have heard of your special trust fund for infrastructural development across the country. This indeed is a step in the right direction but the federal government must not just stop at establishing these funds but ensuring that these funds are properly utilized for what it is meant to be used for and where it is meant to be used.
I was in Abuja recently and an idea struck. If it is possible for us to have federal contractors executing standardized jobs in the FCT, can we not have these contractors directly reconstruct our dilapidated road networks across the federation with the direct supervision of the federal government? What the citizens want is result and majority of those who voted for you are the ones worst hit by the deplorable state of our roads. So many have died due to this.
On Gender & Youth
While I commend your executive team as recently composed. I will like to say that gender balance is not reflected as well as the largest section of our polity the youths. It is also false notion to presume that a reduced executive team is tantamount to reduced corruption and leakage. It is not ministries, agencies or parastatals that steal monies, it is people that do and their pattern is known. The youths as the most vital component of our nation must be carried along in all spheres of governance from creating opportunities for the utilization of their potentials, through the creation of social security packages for the unemployed, vocational training and financial supports to build their businesses etc, scholarships and grants.
What we need is not just an effective mechanism of recovering stolen funds of which these recoveries should not be restricted to political rivals or opponents but mechanisms should be evolved to prevent stealing and diversion of funds by ensuring that the ICPC, EFCC, Servicom are equipped with individuals with impeccable characters and executive legislation sponsored and passage ensured to ensure a truly independent platform devoid of the red-tape of governance and indeed red-tape in governance and its system is something that must be addressed via the utilization of digitization of the processes.
It is also necessary to thank you for the implementation of the single treasury account which was initiated by the immediate past administration as well as moves to deepen the reach of Nigerian Railways. Across the federation fond words are spoken of your support for opposition party government by show of presence and approval of financial aids as seen in Cross River State through your support for the Super Highway Project, Deep Sea Port and environmental remediation funds to recover erosion sites and stop erosion across the state.
Before, I conclude this phase of our conversation I wish to join voices with the house of representatives to appeal to you to recall the 2000 recruits of the Nigerian Immigration Service unceremoniously dropped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while also appealing for fulfillments of various campaign promises which is possible with critical thinking, planning and execution.
I have developed a model that will see to the proper utilization of undeveloped plots scattered across the federation for agricultural ventures that will create over 20,000 direct jobs for youths, grow organic crops for exports and contribute to our nation food security as well as contribute to our IGR while also securing grazing fields for pastoral farmers and nomads and this will presented to ministry of youths, finance and agriculture for inputs and implementation.
Be bold and encouraged Your Excellency Sire, it is no child’s play to lead the country with the most populous black race and one so plundered by ethnic and religious sentiments. It is not easy to run an economy that has depends heavily on export of crude and with the fall in crude price. In all know that since power comes from God, God has your back and He alone has given you this singular opportunity at this very critical time to do His bid and as already known His bid is of good and not of evil to bring us to an expected end.
You have so much support both locally and internationally to achieve your “change” mantra. So much human and natural resources to galvanize to building a great, united and prosperous nation. So many may want you to fail but be assured that those with you are greater than those against you. Nigerians have got just one country and president. We must defend her with our all,if need be our lives. In this quest for true nationhood failure is not a choice.
Dear president, your quest for true change will be felt not from your promises or the usual heavy budgetary pronouncement or the reduction of ministries or agencies but that change will be seen by how many youths get jobs to build the Nigerian dream, when our mortality age changes to 80/90, when our hospitals are fully equipped with personnel and needed tools, when power improves, when we refine our petroleum products and these products are ready and sold at pocket friendly rates, when our schools get the needed boost both infrastructure and quality educational output from qualified teachers, when pay is equivalent to prevailing market happenings, when death rates from poor road network is addressed and families can at least provide meals and basic requirement to live securely in any part of our federation etc only then will we experience that true change. This is the change that the Nigerian in the street clamored for.
It may sound impossible but it is possible to attain the above and more if you divide the wealth in this nation by our population it is enough to carry us for over ten thousand years individually how much more if positively harnessed and utilized. To further prove the possibility of this assertion a critical compilation of stolen funds since the founding of this nation and the figure it will give you will provide a clear guide to the practical scope of my postulation.
This change may all not come in your reign but framework and efforts must be put in place beyond party lines and politics to build a strong and undivided nation. That goal starts now and this realization will be made easier by all keying into same. The task ahead is beyond politics and we can only attain our goals by looking beyond politics.
Prince Michael Nku Abuo, JP
Citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigerians and National Facilitator Towards A More United and Prosperous Nigeria