Agenda For President Muhammadu Buhari ~ By Law Mefor
It’s time Mr. President you walked the talk and really make integrity count. You have integrity, but many around you are not perceived to have the scarce commodity. With this condition, Mr. President, you remain a lone wolf and captive of a few who use your good name to soar and sap the nation’s economy.
Things are not sitting well with Nigeria and, as President; you have an overarching opportunity to become the father of modern Nigeria. Yes, you promised to right the mistakes of the past. But it has never been the much said but the much done of the much said.
The nation has looked in your direction thrice for leadership, nation building and national development.
The reason is essentially because the citizens seem to think that those they sought to replace with you were not managing the economy for national development; they engaged in systematic class frauds aimed at sapping the economy and demobilizing and demonizing the nation.
The evil ways they mismanaged the nation’s economy is, in the main, not done out if ignorance. The perpetrators of the invasion on nation’s economy like locusts are fully conscious of the intendment of their degenerate actions.
This economic, social and political crisis the citizens are going through is all due to leadership deficits that Nigeria has suffered.
Mr. President will agree with me that the two main problems of Nigeria is leadership and unworkable structures, which imposed unitarism in a clearly federal environment.
Occupying the apex leadership position of Nigeria as President, for the 3rd time, so to speak, means it’s again within your very reach to not only provide the much needed leadership for the country but also do something about the dangerously skewed structures.
Without a shred of doubt, both have left Nigeria grossly underdeveloped and bitterly divided. What I mean by leadership is bringing all sides of the Nigerian nation state into one cohesive and coherent whole; and fashioning out a 21st century vision for Nigeria.
The founding fathers of Nigeria, namely: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, among others agreed with the departing British colonial government that the only system that could ensure a united progressive Nigeria is federal system.
The British colonial government introduced same in Nigeria since 1946 under Governor General Arthur Richard, and almost perfected it before folding their union Jack and left our shores.
The ill-advised military intervention discarded federalism since 1966 and put in its place, a unitary system. Since then, Nigeria has answered a federation only in name and thus crashed from the Olympian heights as fastest economy country in Africa in the 60s.
Those who claim they do not know what restructuring means should please note: restructuring means returning to the federalism agreed to by Nigeria’s founding fathers with the British colonial government. I guess the problem stems from calling it restructuring.
More appropriately, it is restoration; restoration of the resolved federal system put in place by the departing colonial Britain and the said founding fathers.
The unsettling clamorous calls for restructuring are not necessarily for a return to regionalism. Economic regionalism is all that is needed, and possible if the Constitution is amended to move critical items to Concurrent List from the Federal List, most notably: power, railway, ports, solid minerals, police and some others.
When Your Excellency returned to power in 2015, you started with bailouts to over 30 States to be able them pay salaries. Today, nearly 4 years in the saddle, nearly all the States still owe months of arrears of salaries.
There have been at least 2 more bailouts since the first you graciously offered, including the Paris Club refunds to States.
Now that you have signed a N30 thousand new minimum wage into law, it’s obvious that States that couldn’t pay N18 thousand cannot pay the nearly double the amount.
The argument has been that States are not properly run. This may be true but not really the fact. There are State Governors that want to make their tenures sublime and determined to leave their footprints on the sands of time.
But the system is like running with shackles. It is not working and will never work the way the nation is structured.
The reason: the main anchors of economic development and security are tied down in the Exclusive List of the Constitution and can only be employed and deploy by the Federal Government.
States are therefore tied to the apron strings of the Federal Government and apart from Lagos State and perhaps one or two others, no State in Nigeria can survive without handouts from Abuja and without the powers withheld by the 1999 Constitution being released. What Your Excellency can do to gain a millstone is that direction is simple. Just implement the El Rufai Committee Report on Restructuring, set up by your own government.
One will not blame or begrudge Your Excellency if you do not oblige the plea. After all, there were 4 Presidents before you who had the same opportunity presented by the same need for a workable Nigeria.
They chose to maintain the status quo ante. Olusegun Obasanjo was there for 8 solid years with absolute powers.
He chose to fiercely fight off the attempts to amend the unitary 1999 Constitution and partly only pursued 3rd term to join his contemporaries like Paul Biya of Cameroon or Jean Bedel Bokasa.
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was there too, but faced health challenges for the few months he was in power in the centre and cannot be really justifiably blamed.
After all, he had the great plan to develop 6 economic hubs in the 6 geopolitical zones, which would have brought him face to face with the inescapable need to fully restructure.
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was there for almost 6 years. He too failed to pursue amendment of deep issues in the Constitution though a few palliative amendments happened in his time.
In 2014, Jonathan set up a National Confab, which generated over 600 recommendations, half of which would take only administrative actions to deal. Implementation of half of the recommendations would have also taken the country half way into the ambience of true federalism.
He chose to fight for his own 3rd term than being content with a single term and negotiating federalism instead, since he had already enjoyed the balance of Yar’Adua’s tenure.
This is only an appeal to write your last lap in power in gold. When a people are at a crossroad, the path they take makes all the difference. Nigeria is now at crossroad and you are the one on the driving wheel. The path you take the nation will make or mar.
On the questionable characters around you, Your Excellency should please note that perception is bigger than reality. There are some corrupt and integrity-challenged officials in your government. We have seen EFCC go after some in their mere symbolic gestures. But Nigerians are not fooled.
Understandably, they played key roles in bringing you back to power in 2015. But 4 years of free reins to such characters which worsened Nigeria’s corruption index and economy is enough if you ask me. One is not asking you to even prosecute them.
Future governments certainly will. But you must distant yourself from them and pick a brand new team to fix the country with you.
Your Excellency sir, let’s bind the nation’s wounds. End the Nigeria Biafra war: reopen the Eastern Economic Corridor closed since that bitter war, which one gathered was closed as a consequence.
It is now 50 years hence. It is time to reintegrate the South East into the mainstream Nigeria.
Unite Nigeria and make her great again. It is all in your hands now, Mr. President to become the father of modern Nigeria. (My birthday wish).
Dr. Law Mefor, is a concerned Nigerian; Tel.: +234-803-787-2893; email: email@example.com.