Skip to main content

President Goodluck Jonathan: This Is How You Can Become A Transformational President

Dear Mr. President : By revoking the official license to practice corruption in government, you will remove its choke hold on our country and set our nation free. Please do. This is how you can become a transformational president. Official corruption has not only made our nation poor, but is a threat to Nigerian unity and to the stability of our neighbours and the entire ECOWAS community.

Dear Mr. President : By revoking the official license to practice corruption in government, you will remove its choke hold on our country and set our nation free. Please do. This is how you can become a transformational president. Official corruption has not only made our nation poor, but is a threat to Nigerian unity and to the stability of our neighbours and the entire ECOWAS community.

 

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content1'); });

Here are 11 action steps in a strategy to snatch our nation and people from the suffocating stranglehold of official corruption that I implore you to take. Unless you remove the choke hold of government corruption on the citizens and the country, and you have the power as President to do so, the existing socioeconomic and sociopolitical repercussions of the corruption will not end.  If you take the recommended steps listed below, starting immediately, you will achieve the feat of becoming a transformational president that you desire to be, and bring relief to, not exacerbate, the hardship that 160 million Nigerian people currently face from the consequences of official corruption. The strategy I propose, in my humble view, is a better and a more sustainable socioeconomic and sociopolitical solution to our problems than the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program or the YouWin plan.

1. Please insist on accountability, transparency, and the avoidance of conflict of interest in all government operations, and proscribe kick-backs to public servants in all government transactions including the award of contracts and in the budgeting approval process of all government departments and parastatals. You have a legal duty to ensure probity in government transactions.

2. Please slash immediately the astronomical salaries of all politicians and some public servants in the country. Please set the highest annual salary in the public sector in the country, including Federal, State, Local Government, and all government parastatals and institutions to a maximum of ten times the per capita income of Nigeria(PPP). If you adopt this policy, no public servant or politician in legislative or executive position, in all the three tiers of government, will earn more than N4 million naira per year at the current GDP(PPP) per capita, and that includes the President, Vice President, Speaker, Senate President, etc. Our economy cannot support more than this. As national productivity increases, as reflected in the annual GDP, salaries of all public servants will increase proportionately. For example, if the GDP(PPP) per capita triples, the highest salary in the public sector will also triple to N12 million naira. You will save at least two trillion naira if you do these things which can pay the salaries of all unemployed young people in the country to do productive work in the economy!

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('content2'); });

No G-20 nation has any politician with a salary that is more than ten times per capita. In the United States, for example, the richest nation in the world, the President's salary is only nine times the per capita, whilst the Prime Minister of Britain earns only five times per capita. In contrast, in Nigeria, many politicians are paid over one thousand times per capita! That is unsustainable. You have a legal duty to rectify these matters.

3. Please eliminate all superfluous and wasteful spending in government: security votes, entertainment allowances, official cars, estacode, and sundry allowances to the president, public servants, legislators, ministers, commissioners, local government councillors, governors, including housing and car allowances, etc. Please remove all budget provisions for feeding all executive office holders in the country including the presidency. Please abolish immediately all 37 offices of the wives of members of the executive in the federal and state governments, as these offices and the expenditures involved in maintaining them, are wasteful, frivolous, unconstitutional, and unaffordable. Please transfer your Presidential Fleet to a new Nigerian Airways Company under competent management to serve the air transportation needs of the Nigerian people, and to make a yearly profit in operation. When you or the vice president must occasionally travel abroad on official business, you can borrow one of the planes. You will save at least two trillion naira if you do these things!

No G-20 nation has the level of extravagant and wasteful government spending as Nigeria! The Prime Minister of Great Britain, a developed nation with a robust economy with a GDP over $2000 billion dollars($2 trillion dollars) compared to Nigeria's $200 billion dollars GDP, does not have a single official plane! You have a legal duty to rectify these things.

4. Please eliminate the oil subsidy payments to businessmen and revamp our refineries to handle all local demand for oil. Please plug all leakages in revenue collection agencies of government and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these agencies. You will save at least a trillion naira if you do these things!
No other oil producing nation ships superior oil to refineries outside its country, and turns around to reimburse importers of an inferior substitute. You have a legal duty to do rectify these matters.
Altogether, by ending the expropriation of public funds, under different guises, by politicians and other public servants, you will save N5 trillion naira or more from the budgets of the governments in our country! 

5. Please become a visionary and work very hard to make our nation competitive in the world, and do not be satisfied with Nigeria playing in the last division in the world, that is, the underdeveloped division! We are a country of over 160 million people, but with a GDP of a paltry sum of $200 billion dollars, and we only produce goods and services per year at about the level of Singapore, a significantly smaller country of 5 million people and no oil! Japan, also a smaller country with no oil, and with a population comparable to that of Nigeria, produces significantly more goods and services in a year than we do(GDP of Japan $5000 billion dollars ($5 trillion dollars) versus $200 billion dollars, the GDP of Nigeria)! Nigeria today is highly uncompetitive because over 50% of the revenues that accrue to the federal, states, and local governments are squandered in pampering those who are supposed to serve the people, politicians, who are a tiny one-half of 1% of the entire population of the country. As a result, insufficient funding is available for infrastructure and other investments that are needed for economic growth and job creation. In Nigeria today, up to 40 million people are unemployed, and this includes about 80% of young people. This massive unemployment contributes to the low overall productivity of, and widespread poverty in, the country.

6.  Please appoint leaders of an infrastructure development agency, an implementation agency, not a typical investigative committee whose recommendations are seldom implemented by the government. The infrastructure development agency will use the five trillion naira($32 billion dollars) you will save annually from  the suggested cuts in fat and waste from officially sanctioned corruption in government, as outlined above, starting immediately, if you approve, to build the sorely needed infrastructure listed in items 7 to 10 below. This will revive economic activities in all parts of the country, diversify the economic base from oil, create tens of millions of new jobs, improve the welfare of Nigerians, and narrow the yawning gap between Nigeria and Japan: $200 billion dollars(GDP of Nigeria) versus $5000 billion dollars($5 trillion dollars)(GDP of Japan).

7. Please build a network of roads, railroads, waterways, and communication facilities in Nigeria to open up the interior of our country for urban and rural development.
8. Please build a network of power and water plants in Nigeria to provide 24/7 and year round uninterrupted power and water supply to homes and industries in rural and urban areas in all our six geopolitical regions.

9. Please build, equip, and maintain educational institutions to build human capacity nationwide and also build, equip, and maintain hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, and waste disposal plants nationwide to promote human and environmental health in the nation.

10. Please implement a policy of Full Employment and job Training(FEAT) to engage all 40 million jobless people in Nigeria in apprenticeship, research, job training, local security training, work-study, and in full-time work to build, repair, and maintain the infrastructure that will jump start or prime the socioeconomic engine of each region in its area of comparative advantage. The implementation of this policy will be a feat, a master stroke, that will harness the talents and energies of our young people in all our regions, in urban and rural areas, in productive pursuits! This feat will contribute immensely in building local capacity to handle local issues and reduce the enormous load on the federal government that is currently stretched too thin handling problems in many parts of the country.

11. Please refuse to be addressed as Your Excellency, as Nigeria must cease to be a pseudo- empire of politicians! If you do, the other political executive office holders in Nigeria, such as state governors, will follow your lead. The term is a spent colonial relic and is inconsistent with the inherent definition of democracy, a rule of the people, not the rule of politicians, in a nation with legislators making laws on the peoples' behalf, and political executive office holders implementing those laws for the benefit of the people and society. By abandoning the use of the term, the essence of the proper role of executive office holders and legislators in Nigeria as public servants will be brought back in focus.The British who colonized Nigeria do not address their prime minister as His Excellency. Neither do  Americans call their president His Excellency. The British and the Americans demand accountability and performance from their legislators and executive office holders, and will not settle for less. If you follow this suggestion, it will bring back focus on the necessity of performance in service and the importance of value provisioning that effective public service requires for the well being of society.

Through all these eleven actions, you will promote excellence in service and value provisioning, security, and robust economic growth in all regions of our country, in urban and rural areas, and help narrow the economic gap between our country and Japan. In addition, these actions will reduce the socioeconomic disparity between our regions, and in the process, promote harmony and unity in the nation.
Mr. President, the Japanese do not have two heads. Neither do the Singaporeans. The policies implemented by the leaders of these countries  are what have made their nations to prosper. Another example of progress brought by leadership and the implementation of good policies is South Korea. South Korea, a nation that was ranked behind us in GDP in 1960, has surpassed us by far, and is currently a developed economy with a GDP of $1000 billion dollars($1 trillion dollars) in spite of having a third our population, a smaller land size, and no oil. Mr. President, South Koreans, like Singaporeans and Japanese, do not have two heads!

Mr. President, let me suggest 17 outstanding Nigerians that you should ask to lead, as directors, whilst maintaining their careers and abode in Nigeria or abroad, if they so choose, of the proposed infrastructure development agency mentioned above, the National Infrastructure Transformation Agency(NITA), to oversee the building, repair, and maintenance of a world-class infrastructure in each region of Nigeria: Prof Chinua Achebe and Prof Okey Ndibe(SE); Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Prof Leonard Karshima(NE); Prof Adebayo Adedeji and Prof Bolaji Akinyemi(SW); Prof Jerry Gana and Prof Pius Adesanmi (NC); Prof Adamu Baike and Malam Shehu Sanni(NW); Prof Tam David West and Mr Sonala Olumhense(SS);  Dr. Christopher Kolade(Chairman); Alhaji Bamangar Tukur(Vice Chairman); Dr(Mrs)Obiageli Ezekwesili(Vice Chairman); Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru(Treasurer); Dr. Dele Makanjuola (Secretary). You should set a maximum overhead cost for this agency to be 1% of its annual budget of approximately N5 Trillion naira so that the infrastructure projects that the agency will undertake nationwide, in urban and rural areas, and in all our six geopolitical regions, will be given pronounced prominence, priority, and publicity.

"Haba", Mr. President! The current conditions in our nation diminish us all! We can do a lot better! We are not a nation of people who are incompetent, unimaginative, wishy-washy, lazy, physically or mentally.

Neither are we a nation of people who are so unresourceful as not to be able to leverage a huge labour pool, large economic market, great diversity, year-round good weather, and the awesome beauty of a God-given arable landscape to create at least a trillion dollar vibrant, diversified, and developed economy like South Korea. Our country is such a gorgeous place that can attract millions of visitors a year to gape at the beauty of nature that abound in our nation including the Mambilla plateau, our hundreds of miles of pristine beaches, the Obudu ranch, the majestic mountain ranges, rollings hills, and water falls in diverse places. Other attractions include the spectacular confluence of our two major rivers, River Benue and River Niger, majestic Lake Chad, the game parks of repute in the country, our forest parks, botanical gardens, and our lovely plateaus, etc. How would tourists from all over the world that can potentially pump over 100 billion US dollars annually into Nigeria, more money than we make from oil, come to these places without infrastructure and stability in the country? Our politicians are needlessly preoccupied with oil and solid minerals when we can also make money and engage millions of our youth in employment, from tourism, agriculture and agro-processing, animal husbandry and fisheries, home and industrial construction, industrial processing, international trade via exporting, etc, and attract more foreign investments if we get our priorities right and make the right investments in physical and social infrastructure.

Palliative programs such as you YouWin or SURE are grossly inadequate. No amount of protestation of their adequacy, given the enormity of the challenges that we face, will suffice. Any such attempt will be an exercise in the use of "dogo turanchi". Bogus budgets that ostensibly favour needy areas with no visible outcomes in those areas anger those that are supposed to be favoured, alienate others, foster mutual suspicion, anger, and resentment between groups, which threaten national unity, are also not the answer. Our people deserve a robust and comprehensive plan, as many millions of them are yearning for the opportunity to work to improve their conditions of living and many have even gone to far-flung places on earth in search of employment. There is so much work that needs to be done in Nigeria and we have abundant labour, managerial, and financial resources to do them: roads, bridges, power and telecommunication lines, water, garbage, and sewage treatment plants, environmental clean up in oil producing areas and other contaminated areas, school buildings, low cost residential estates in the interior of Nigeria and in rural communities, farms and agro-processing, dams and irrigation canals, rural development projects, forest parks, botanical gardens, game parks, hotels, factories, etc. Mr. President, must tens of millions our people not continue to suffer needlessly when you can help?

If you adopt this plan, you will create the environment that will give all of our people looking for employment, many tens of millions of them, not just a chosen few hundred thousands of them, the opportunity to find work. You owe them that. That is what a transformational leader will do. The action steps I have proposed will also boost the revenues that will accrue to local governments, states, and the federal government from the taxation of workers and the many businesses that will be started or expanded, local and foreign owned, in the supportive environment. With these revenues, local and state governments will be able to carry more of the load of service and security provisioning and delivery, unlike it is today. This will promote better security and governance, and enable democracy and the rule of law to thrive in our nation. With abundant opportunities available for all to thrive, the sociopolitical and socioeconomic tensions in many parts of Nigeria that are exacerbated by poverty, scarcity of employment opportunities, and the injustice inherent in the expropriation of societal resources by a few, will abate.

In conclusion, if you embark on this plan to transform our nation, which is a win-win plan for all Nigerians, as opposed to the status quo of win for politicians and loss for other Nigerians and the country, you will  be doing what leaders in democracies all over the world do, listen to their peoples, and reflect their wishes in policies and programs for their benefit. If you do, because people generally protect their interests, you will galvanize the Nigerian people behind you, and you and the more empowered and motivated citizens will jointly overcome the difficult challenges our country and people are currently facing. Our nation, in the short run, propelled by an expected boost in national productivity from the revived socioeconomic engines of our more stable six regions, will become qualified to be a full participant in G-20 meetings, a promotion from being a perennial spectator in G-20 meetings. Mr. President, please make that your legacy, which will be a luminary legacy. Mr. President, please do not leave a legacy of failure. In the light of the current tenuous circumstances in our nation, your failure could disastrously affect Nigeria, our neighbours in the subcontinent, Ecowas, and the international community. I wish you and our nation well. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May God bless our dear nation.

Sincerely,
Prince Abitunde Taiwo
[email protected]
 

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('comments'); });