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Issues and policies
After six vigorous months of hard campaigning, no one is in doubt as to who organised a more issues-oriented canvassing of votes than the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari. The issues were namely: corruption. All in Nigeria agree that corruption has taken a centre stage in Nigeria and the question today is what aspect of Nigeria's life has not been corrupted. As the American statesman, President Truman declared: "The buck stops here," meaning at his desk. The perception throughout Nigeria is that President Goodluck Jonathan is soft on corruption and it is Gen. Buhari who will definitely tackle that monster to extinction if elected president.
Nigerians also were impressed with Gen Buhari's policies on education, as his advocacy on this sector is to reorganise the entire orientation of our educational policy and direction to target producing graduates that will be productive in what oils a modern society. The simple meaning of this is that men and women will be technologically educated, be it in science, food production, cash crop production, equipment manufacturing etc. It is quite ironic that a country such as ours, which continues to import such basic food items as rice, beans, and flour still enjoys the luxury of placing so much premium on graduating more Theatre Arts graduates than electronic engineers, or medical doctors or nurses or mechanical technicians ought to turn to Gen Buhari to pilot the affairs of our dear nation. On health, Nigerians were appalled when they were treated to a crass tele infomercial that castigated the General for sending his family to a Nigeria medical facility than flying them to overseas. What the producers of the infomercial failed to realise is that that piece of information gained Gen. Buhari more favourable rating that the producers could ever imagined. Gen. Buhari proposed a complete overhaul of the national policy on health, which main plank is to take health delivery to the location, where it is most needed, i.e. to collaborate with states and local governments to oversee health matters. The Nigerian confidence index on this matter is so heavily tilted in favour of Gen. Buhari for the simple reason that he identifies with their situation.
On agriculture, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has presented this sector as its prized jewel performance and cites the price of rice as evidence that its policy on agriculture is working. Again, it is not evenly spread, as the policy is hardly felt in the entire southern Nigeria. The East views palm production as its index of agricultural revolution with nostalgia. They remember the policy of Dr. Michael I. Okpara on the farm settlements that effectively acted as extension centres to encourage the region to actively participate in cash crop production. Just as the West views cocoa as the main stay of the West economy when Nigeria was viewed as the largest producer of the product in the world. Today Cote d'Ivoire and Brazil have vastly overtaken Nigeria in that sector. But the Jonathan administration's policy on agriculture is to bombard us with endless television commercials of fertilizer revolution, farmers smart cards loan extension, imaginary farmers engagement of workers totaling millions and only points to one crop, rice as evidence that this voodoo agric policy is working. Yet Nigeria remains net importer of rice, palm oil, wheat, beans and even meat.
Gen. Buhari gives a simple prescription on this sector and promises to implement an agricultural policy that will return our teeming unemployed youths to food production. The emphasis on viewing employment that targets only white collar jobs in government, banks, private businesses is patently misdirected which makes the General Buhari option better for the reason that once the orientation is established that agriculture can be more rewarding in terms of wealth as opposed to earning merger salaries will definitely create more wealth for the nation. The greatness of America is its agriculture and the volume of food it produces.
General Buhari's policy on this sector trumps what President Goodluck Jonathan insist on continuing. The president is bent on treading on the same path of introducing ill digested policy to privatise energy on three stage desirata of distribution, transmission and production. This laughable initiative is to start with distribution, which is supposed to be the easiest of the three stages. The truth is that for distribution to work one must be in possession of what to distribute. Nigeria has 2500mw - 3000mw of electricity and our population is 180 million souls, just compare that with South Africa population of 50 million with 44, 000mw of electricity. Let us allow your own calculation guide you on these figures.
Gen. Buhari, on the other hand, insists on returning to the drawing board to devise a completely new approach to our energy policy and frowns at the idea of concessioning electricity distribution to cronies of the administration for massive exploitation of Nigerians for undeserved massive profits at the expense of Nigerians whose long earned patrimony are placed at the hands of individuals, who have made zero input either in the equipments or plants to justify what they are collecting as bills. Details can be read on the economy that follows. So here, on policies and issues Nigerians should vote for Buhari.
Nigeria's economy today can only be described as being in a state of depression. These sentiments are now being echoed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These institutions until recently had hailed Nigeria as one of the primary destination hubs for foreign direct investments (FDI) in emerging markets. The current federal administration is very fond of phrases, such as transformation, diversification, enabling environment, African's largest economy and agricultural revolution. The only phrase that cannot be disputed is that Nigeria is Africans largest economy. The nuance in Nigeria being African's largest economy is not based on productivity but sadly on consumption. As the most populated nation in Africa by quite a large margin, Nigeria consumption rate is obviously the highest.
Nigeria's biggest problem is POWER. The unavailability of consistent power supply to the Nigerian society is the major roadblock to the progression of the society. In the 21st century, a nation without consistent communal power supply has no chance of being economically viable. This phenomenon will only worsen as time elapses. The foundation of a productive economy is employment. Employment being the productive engagement of a nation's active populace. Economists will concur that an ideal economic models for any nation will include the manufacturing and agricultural sectors of that nation, accounting for the bulk of the productive engagement of that nation's workforce. Manufacturing and agricultural industries both have one major things in common-processing. Processing requires electricity in constant supply. No power supply means those two sectors have no way to flourish in any environment. A non-existent manufacturing and agricultural sector in a society will result in massive unemployment rates. Massive unemployment rates leads to increase poverty rates. Increased poverty rates leads to increased demands on Nigeria's welfare infrastructure. Increased demands on a nation's welfare infrastructure results in imbalance of national resource allocation. This crude analogy hopefully depicts the domino effect of a "no power supply" economy.
The administration will counter the above paragraph by stating its power industry privatisation initiative. To date, this privatisation initiative cannot be considered a success especially considering that the capacity of the national grid has decreased since the inception of this privatization initiative. Comparing the potential gains of a private power sector that is enjoyed by the wireless telecommunication industry is like comparing fruits to meats.
Another indisputable fact is that entrepreneurship is always a driving force to the advancement of societies and can be extended to humanity. Entrepreneurship drives innovation, technology, productivity, efficiency, employment and true competition to say the least. The final beneficiary of entrepreneurship is always the society as a whole. This administration has done nothing to encourage true entrepreneurship except through the formation of an oligarch business infrastructure where few organizations account for the majority of the business activities that take place in Nigeria. The scuttling of the entrepreneurial spirit in Nigeria can again be traced primarily to lack of power. The constant utilisation of generators for power supply is not sustainable economically in any environment. The technology referred to as generator is termed as a backup/emergency power solution. It was and still not intended as a primary power solution.
As if power supply was not enough to contend with, entrepreneurs in Nigeria are also faced with a tedious and nefarious bureaucratic infrastructure, a lending industry that ensures their failure, a logistics structure that cannot be accurately budgeted for and finally a workforce that have questionable ethics culture.
The current administration in recent months have harped on the need to diversify the economy from an oil contrived economy to more of a reliance on agricultural sector. This sentiment, like most of this administrations directives, is not original but instead steals from some of Nigeria's founding fathers directives concerning the sustainability of Nigeria before the discovery of oil and its revenue to benefits. The true diversification of what should take place in Nigeria's economy is a movement to a private sector-led economy as opposed to the government centre economy which currently exists. The oil sector drives the Nigerian economic sector. An enabling business environment must include consistent communal power supply in Nigeria. A resultant effect would result in the recall reaction of a relationship that must exist between the private and government sectors of Nigeria for the sustainability of Nigeria especially for successive generations.
This administration's courtship of Nigeria's economy has been abysmal. Its failure to have a single focus to ensuring the realisations of consistent power supply to Nigeria is a failure of its fiduciary responsibility to the nation. The administration has also presided over the mammoth growth of all tiers of the government. The economic hardship associated with funding the different arms and tiers of the government has put into question the economically solvency of our sovereignty. A nation that appropriates 83 per cent of its revenue on recurrent expenditure and mere 17 per cent to capital has zero chance of sustaining any growth.
They have used Third Reich propaganda style to hoodwink the Nigerian populace into believing the nation was on the path of economic stability instead of the true standing of the nation's economy, which is in dire straits. It seems like the administration was hoping for a miracle to change the fortunes of Nigeria. Nigerians should accept that the only miracle that we can ensure CHANGE is CHANGE. The other word for the change is Buhari. So on 28th collect your family and friends and go and vote for Buhari.
On family values
The social fabric of our society has witnessed a decline that ought to be of major concern to Nigerians who are looking at the moment and should also look at the future. Due to the reoccurring dislocation in economic well being of families, our core family values have taken a heavy beating. When the head of the family is unable to earn enough income to provide the basic necessities of life, stress, anxiety and indiscipline take over and the result is quite predictable in the overall wellbeing of a normal family. Jonathan views our society enhancement on huge investments on Nollywood who instead of adopting the films produced emphasising on wholesome values of honesty, on what is proper and right, on encouragement that hard work pays will rather script films of juju and magic, raw envy and base promotion of imaginary success that is obtained via dishonest means. Gen. Buhari distances himself from even dignifying the excessive use of dancing and music as if the serious business of governance should be reduced to such pedestal proclivities Buhari advocates our return to basic family up bring of honesty, hard work, good manners and respect to elders. Nigerians should vote for Buhari.
Under Jonathan's watch disinformation, lack of transparency, outright lies have been elevated to an art form that today in Nigeria not one single data or information is relied up. Agencies of government have graduated from individual corruption to organised departmental corruption and this has deeply eaten into the entire body of our government. Nigerians were shocked when the president held the view that stealing is not corruption. Lack of transparency has been the core reason we could not seriously attract foreign investments and the often touted propaganda of shouting by our government officials that Nigeria is the number one preferred destination of investors is again a further misinformation that shades the true situation. Gen. Buhari has pledged to run an open and transparent administration that will always inform Nigerians of the true situation of things. Nigerians have been deceived by dressing up falsely our present circumstance as far as our economy is concerned. Wild promises are made to win underserved popularity just to win votes. After May 29, 2015, the exposure of the true state of our finances, Nigerians will be in a state of shock.
With oil prices plummeting everyday Nigerians should vote Jonathan out so we can install a purposeful serious government that can start the earnest reconstruction of our society. Nigerians want to be told the truth about the extract state of our situation. Nigerians want a situation where Emeka is treated the same way Aliyu is treated the same Idowu is treated Transparency suggests that an ohm-buds man is established to watch the activities of delivers of justice, i.e. our justice system, collectors of government revenues i.e. our customs and excise, taxes etc. at least to maintain proper and accurate monies accruing to the government. Nigeria will need all it can to run social services for the good of the people. Nigerians should vote for Buhari so that we can start afresh to revive and restart our pulverised society due to unbridled corruption and total mismanagement.
Transparency frowns on disinformation. After 100 years of our troubled march to nationhood, who could have imagined that a president that should not introduce religious sentiments would be the main promoter of such primordial propaganda of painting a former head of state as an agent of Islamisation of Christians in Nigeria. That is crossing the lines of impropriety. If Buhari had wished he could have descended to the president's level by suggesting that Jonathan is on a vanguard to Christianise Nigeria. No same Nigerian can buy into such idea that Islamisation or Christianisation is the problem of today's Nigeria as we have cohabited this space for the past 100 years tolerating each other on our religious diversities. For the avoidance of doubt, Buhari is not and will not entertain the mixture of religion and human rights in his determination to uplift Nigeria.
My final take is my earnest plea to Nigerians to go out on March 28, 2015 and cast their votes for General Muhammadu Buhari on the core reason that compared with President Goodluck Jonathan he is clearly more capable as a leader to pilot the affairs of Nigeria at this period of our national circumstance.
Source: The Sun