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Nigeria At 59: My Goodwill Messages!

By Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.

Today the 1st day of October, 2019, marks another anniversary of the Nigeria’s Independence Day Celebration across the Federation of Nigeria. I humbly wish all Nigerians including the readers ‘a happy Independence Day’ and Nigeria’s birth at 59! This paper is aimed at giving my good-will messages to the Nigerian leaders and the Nigerian citizens for a better and more prosperous Nigeria in her years to come.

Since the creation of Nigeria in the year 1900 according to history and the independence of Nigeria since 1960, Nigeria has so far experienced several challenges (and progress in some ways). Nevertheless, it seems as even more apparent that those challenges are somehow consuming Nigeria than the successes at present (in my humble view).

Some of those challenges range from: insecurity, economic hardship, unstable electricity supply to citizens by some (if not all) electricity distributors, bribery and corruption, criminality such as: armed robbery; kidnapping; rape of minors and adults; alleged election rigging; bad health facilities; unimproved educational sectors; poor services in the civil service of the Federation/State; killings; jungle justice; inter-tribal wars; terrorism; natural disasters such as: uncontrolled flood, etc.; disobedience to courts’ orders; disrespect for rule of law; ethnic/tribal discords, among others.

By this paper, I aim at encouraging Nigerian leaders and Nigerians across ethnics, religions, education, locality, etc., to bring out all their energy and manpower towards developing Nigeria rather than bringing her down than she has experienced in her past 59 years of age.

In my humble view, there are some areas that the Nigerian government should be considering in this next stage as Nigeria prepares for her 60th Independence Anniversary next year’s 1st day of October, 2020. I shall itemize some of them and the rest are not exhaustive.

One of these solutions to those challenges is restructuring. Restructuring is required at every level of government and in all government’s sectors. The Nigerian Security Agencies for instance must be restructured in such a way that the allegations of extra-judicial killings against some of those security personnel or agencies would cease to occur, such as those allegations of extra-judicial killings against some Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) officers; some military officers and those fighting terrorism and insurgencies.

Furthermore on this, the Nigerian civil service at all levels require restructuring, so that the system will be checked and restructured in order that those heads that have continued to constitute nuisance, abuse their public office, maltreat other junior staff unlawfully, engage in bribery and corruption, favouritism of public employment opportunities, employment based on connections and relationship without merit, etc. will be made to vacate their office, and the better heads engaged to replace those bad heads.

Also, the Nigerian educational sectors at all levels require restructuring. For instance, some of those bad heads heading some of the educational institutions, such as: the primary education boards; the secondary education boards; the university management board; the Council of Legal Education and the Nigerian Law School, the National Teachers’ Authority, etc, including those technical schools should be checked to confirm their usefulness.

Also, the issue of educational facilities should also be improved upon. Furthermore, the Nigerian health and medical facilities should also be restructured in such a way that those health and medical staff who refuse to work as a result of laziness or recklessness should be substituted with those who are committed to the service to humanity to give value to the national visions.

Heads of hospitals at all levels of health and medical sectors must be persons with eagerness to duty. Also, the Heads of all government’s Ministries, Agencies and Departments must be restructured to ensure improved public services and national dignity. Also, the heads of the National Electoral Commission should be restructured in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

This would resolve cases of electoral fraud, rigging etc. Furthermore, the Heads of the electricity/power sectors must be restructured in order to bring back an uninterrupted electricity supply across the nation. This will also improve the Nigeria’s economy.

At present, there are eleven (11) different electricity Distribution Companies-herein referred to as DISCOs among which is the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company-herein referred to as AEDC. They are owned by private individuals and not government, even though the government is also major shareholders of these companies. It is only regulated by the established government’s body(ies).

The Government’s Regulatory Body in charge of electricity regulation is the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission-herein referred to as NERC. The Ministry of Powers, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority (NEMSA) established under the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Authority (NEMSA) Act, 2015 are main electricity power sectors.

NERC is empowered by the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2004 to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply. The Act mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity supply industry meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply. The Act also mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity investors recover costs on prudent investment and provide quality service to customers. The Minister for Power is empowered under the EPSR to regulate and supervise the Commission.

It has always been an excuse for failure of electricity supply or electricity power disruption that for instance, that DISCOs do not generate electricity rather they only distribute electricity purchased from the Transmission Company so, could not be blamed for the consistent electricity supply interruption to electricity customers. This must stop!

Perhaps this is responsible for why majority of Nigerians still think NEPA is still in charge and not private companies so that whenever there is electricity power disruption, they shout ‘NEPA!!!’ and when the power is reinstalled, they shout ‘UP NEPA!!!’, the slogans which have continued to be passed to generations even those yet to come, which is just a symptom of a failed electricity power sector, which the government must revive.

Recently, I was discussing with a good brother of mine who is on his doctorate degree programme in Malaysia on the electric power system in Malaysia compared with the situation in Nigeria and he had this to say ‘The issue of electrifying the entire country is very important. If this is achieved, over 50% of other issues would be fixed. This is based on my experience with Malaysia and other developed countries I have visited.

Because of stable power, so many industries, both local and foreign are present in these countries which eventually create employment and increase the value of the currency. In addition, housing issues can be solved because very tall buildings (between 20 and 100 stories) can be built with elevators installed.

On corruption, when power is stable, modern technology can be used to monitor processes and transactions reducing it drastically. Examination malpractices can be tackled using same technology’. And he also recommended that ‘Buhari should make it his most important agenda before leaving office because even the insecurity is borne out of the harsh economic situation.

Another benefit of stable electricity will be to our Universities by enhancing science and technology research’. I in my humble view, also view that ‘electricity is the main solution to majority of Nigeria’s problems and or challenges and so must be taken seriously by the government.

Furthermore, Nigeria’s government should encourage a lot of intertribal and interethnic marriages across the nation. It should not be that a Hausa lady cannot marry a Yoruba man! Or An Igbo (Ibo) man to refuse to marry a lady because of her ethnic or tribal background! This also has positive effect on the national progress and security.

Furthermore, the independence of the judiciary must be ensured by all the arms of government. Therefore, it is my humble view that those guaranteed rights will better be achieved where the judiciary’s independence to decide disputes and or cases independent of any political affiliations or influence, fear or favour is guaranteed, else, anything short of trust of the public in the judiciary will have a direct impact on the national progress of Nigeria.

Therefore, all rights activists must guide and protect the independence of the judiciary! And a situation where individuals do things in their own ways will definitely encourage chaos and disunity very soon as everyone will have to take the laws into his own hand and be the judge of his own cause, leading to ‘jungle justice’ that is ‘fake justice’ or ‘injustice to an innocent person or victim’ or ‘justice misplaced’ ‘or justice without substantial evidence’, so to say.

Therefore, all and sundry must wake up to ensure that the Nigeria’s Judiciary remains independent and committed to its constitutional tasks of dispensing justice with confidence and without fear or favour.

Also, the government especially in this case, the executive, must not use its powers of possessing the State’s ammunition to harass or intimidate or distract the attention of the judiciary even where a court’s order or judgment is against it or any of its agencies. Court’s orders must be obeyed at all times by all persons and the other two arms of government, so as to lay a good example for the members of the public.

Also, the judiciary should not be used as a political football that is played the way the player or the ruling party in power desires. It must be separated from politics, as the judiciary is even there to save politics where the need arises. Every citizen of Nigeria having realised the need and importance of the judiciary towards actualizing his guaranteed human rights must rise up and champion the cause of the independence of the judiciary.

Also, government should be all inclusive and open-government-partnership with Nigerian citizens and all traditional leaders.

Finally, I believe that, though all the above recommendations are not exhaustive, where they are implemented, they will go a long way in Nigeria’s development! It is my view too that Nigerian citizens’ prayers, hopes and optimism go a long way in the betterment of Nigeria!

God bless Nigeria! God bless Nigeria’s leadership! God bless Nigeria’s citizens!

Email: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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