Can Nigeria Still Be Rescued? By Sam Nda-Isaiah
That the Nigerian state under President Jonathan has failed is no longer controvertible. That is one transformation that President Jonathan has achieved with a distinction and history will forever remember him for that. But can the nation still be rescued? Yes, it certainly can. And this will take nothing other than observing the simple and basic rules of governance. Can President Jonathan rescue the country? Most unlikely!
But the president can do it if he chooses to. It’s just that he is too far gone to turn back now. But here are a few tips for whatever they may be worth:
• The first thing the president must do is to arrest the extreme corruption that has so far defined his government and crippled the Nigerian state. Corruption, especially the very insane type that we have seen in Jonathan’s government, would kill any country; and that is precisely what has happened to Nigeria now. Though oil still sells at more than $100 per barrel and the country is supposed to be producing more than two million barrels every blessed day, Nigeria has depended on its reserves even to be able to pay state governments their due allocations. This is terrible and it is evil. Budgets for security cannot be implemented because revenues made by the federal government do not get into the coffers of the state. They are hijacked at checkpoints by fronts of known top government officials. And when the Central Bank governor tried to blow the whistle, Jonathan looked for an excuse to suspend him and shut him up. If Jonathan does not change his attitude towards corruption, Nigeria will only sink further into failure with dire consequences. And this is not talking about the crude that is daily stolen by oil thieves for which President Jonathan’s government has been too weak to tackle.
• The president must understand that his most important job as president is ensuring the security of his people; therefore, the police, the military and other security agencies must be given their due budgets to perform their jobs effectively. This is not a joke, and the president must take this admonition very seriously. In a situation where the police have, on average, received only 10 per cent of their budgets since the coming of Jonathan, and the military are not well armed in a new world order defined by terrorism, then, it should be obvious why the country has been weakened and has become a failed state under President Jonathan. The president must also know that the nature of crime has changed; therefore we cannot continue to use old methods to fight today’s crimes. The art of crime has changed. Crime is now defined by terrorism and technology. Security personnel need new training and there is a need for new investments in crime busting technology. And this is as simple as ABC: these technologies can be bought off the shelf.
• The incidence of poverty in Nigeria, a nation considered Africa’s biggest economy, is scandalous and very dangerous. More than 120 million of the 174 million Nigerians are desperately poor; 54 per cent of the nation’s youths are unemployed; 48 million Nigerians are jobless and 1.8 million get added to this figure annually. President Jonathan is either not aware of these figures or, if he is aware, he certainly doesn’t give a damn. The only way to solve this problem is for the Nigerian president to start giving a damn. Nothing can be done about this unless the president tackles the extreme and uncontrolled stealing in his government, because the only way to create jobs is massive investment in the economy especially in the nation’s infrastructure. A nation’s most important resource is its youths. President Jonathan needs to become aware of this quickly. The president must also create very bold policies that will cause the flourishing of millions of small businesses since jobs for the kind of numbers we are hearing are not available.
• President Jonathan’s government needs to start punishing crime from today. That is the only deterrent against the kind of disorder we see these days. Thieves, murderers, kidnappers ply their trade freely because they know they will not be caught and, even if caught, nothing will happen to them. That is certainly not how to run a country. Every crime must be punished so as to send a clear message. There is a lot more to say but I have a strong feeling I am only wasting my time – the president is just not interested. As long as the nation’s revenues are stolen from source and do not get into the federation account as happens at the moment, nothing can be done to stem the nation’s dangerous slide. Unfortunately for all of us, no matter how bad things are today, they could still get much worse. And that is quite scary. That is why rescuing Nigeria should now be everybody’s business.
Jonathan Shared Bribes To Delegates?
I probably didn’t hear the president properly when he addressed people in Kano during a campaign rally – even though INEC has declared that it is illegal to start campaigning now. I thought I heard the president accusing Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of refusing to share the money he gave him to delegates during the 2011 PDP presidential primary. So the president shared bribes during the 2011 elections? Where did he get the money from? Could that be where the stolen N2 trillion “subsidy money” went into? The only institution statutorily permitted to probe the president is the National Assembly. Will Nigerians trust them to do what they are elected for in the first place? All eyes should now be on the National Assembly on this matter. This country needs to be saved from impunity.
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