Nigeria’s unity at precipice; rescuing the nation and the failing economy

By Merenini Ernestine 

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“The average Nigerian is very much disturbed by the rate at which society is decaying through the effect of corruption and leadership incompetence since the post independence era till date.

The question of a united Nigeria
Average number of Nigerians, no doubt will prefer a more united Nigeria than breaking into divers splinter units, However, recent development had compelled many to become uninterested and disillusioned by the many problems particularly unemployment, high cost of living, insecurity, lack of economic opportunities and their alienation from political relevance.
Therefore, you have a situation where the political elites use the many downtrodden to fuel insecurity and agitation for division. If Nigeria must remain united as one nation undivided by class, tribe or ethnic, a leader with a strong and good-will towards the citizenry and the country is essential. 

Strong and good-will is not defined by money power or strong political influence of an individual otherwise any country like Nigeria is not likely to come off the menace of bad leadership and corruption.
I would rather suggest, to test the integrity of people whom we accept into positions of leadership, and political positions, their appointment and service to the nation should be made a voluntary and non-paid service.
Power must be counterbalanced in the right direction, the excessive use of power and finances to the central government should be overhauled, create more states and local governments in equal formula across north and south regions, even distribution of wealth and opportunity for IGR and self sustenance.
This will give political elites some opportunities and allow more purposeful way to engage the youths and allow the grass roots to have easy access to their leaders.

Authorities and responsibilities should be handed to traditional rulers. With all these in place there will be reduction of corruption, the interest to be in political power and agitation for break up will be minimal. Ultimately there will be value for hard work, less desire to acquire easy money and reduction of unemployment and insecurity.

Nigeria rotational politics and the 2023 elections

“where leadership is tied to responsibility rather than money sharing avenue, many will withdraw and these scheming will be eliminated.

Both the advocates of rotation and those clamouring for the north to retain power are all selfish politicians. Their permutations and scheming are all a matter of personal interest and ambition rather than what is in the best interest of Nigeria’s unity.

It is wrong to think of regions when considering where the president should come from. These are panaceas for attacks and counter attacks on who eventually wins and a foundation for future agitations. It has been in practice since first republic but it has not helped. The system of focusing on the major tribes in Nigeria is even more of a provocation to the minorities.
A new course to chart is to allow the president to come from anywhere. An open ticket from all the parties would have been good but is not practicable with the present situation where everyone knows politics is a game of number and we are already divided in many lines (religion, ethnicity, language, the north and south etc). The way out at the moment for me is to bar the North and West from fielding presidential candidates because they have had a fair share of power in Nigeria.

Let the presidential contestants be from East, South South and Middle Belt for a change and so that the question of North having numbers that will support a northern candidate does not arise. Besides, with candidates coming from these zones, there will be fair competition to bring out a responsible and candidate of character rather than the imposition we’ve always had. Moreover, these are the regions we currently have secessionists threatening Nigeria’s unity and who truly have not had a fair share of Nigerian leadership at high executive level.

Certainly, if this happens, agitations for break up will drop. People will have a voice to challenge any misrule from whoever is eventually elected with less attacks and counter attacks. Also, apart from the leaders sitting up, they will create room for a system where future presidential candidates can either be zoned or discontinued zoning.

It is established that Nigeria electoral system is skewed and fraud. Who wins presidential election is usually pre-determined by so-called king makers rather than electorates, hence there is so much divisions, different camps and heavy scheming at party primaries; What you see at the party primaries is what is reproduced during the main election.

The electoral reform that will address this is the one that is all- inclusive open and transparent and allows all intending participants to compete. Moreover, where leadership is tied to responsibility rather than money sharing avenue, many will withdraw and these scheming will be eliminated.

The frustration of a compromised security system

Injustice and corruption at all spheres are no doubt a major cause of the insecurity in Nigeria and it is fuelled by politics of winners take all and loose big. Certainly, arrogating the fuel of the crises to any one of the government functionaries is myopic but all 3 tiers of government at federal state and local levels even traditional rulers and the ordinary citizen are culpable.

The crave for power and limited economic opportunity has created avenue for those who have the funds to finance any kind of criminal group to succeed. Many young people had made themselves available to be used for negative purposes because they have nothing to lose. The citizens due to lack of faith in the system that is causing them untold pain too cannot easily support the process to holistically address insecurity. Many will not report or fight criminals they know for the fear of likely backlash through the same security systems that has been badly compromised.

In some cases, when the security agents are involved who will the ordinary citizen seek help from? And when politicians are involved, it takes guts or a security officer on the side of the ruling class to apprehend or confront the criminal. Invariably all will depend on a strong legal system and reformed society to address.

Rescuing the failing economy through currency valuation

“The type of long-term investment that will halt falling currency will be local production and consumption. If we have food, boost local manufacturing to a level that people can rely on local products, our money will gain value.

There can be no quick fix certainly not soon on the dwindling Nigerian economy. Even when investment is made to boost production, that can’t stop high exchange rate. In fact exchange will rise more as we engage in international trade because we are mostly consumers of foreign goods and services. The type of long-term investment that will halt falling currency will be local production and consumption. If we have food, boost local manufacturing to a level that people can rely on local products, our money will gain value.
People must be convinced of availability and trustworthy local products and services before they can avoid foreign ones. The worse is when obnoxious laws, taxes etc. are made to coerce people to stop importation whereas there are no available competitive local production. This aspect rests mainly on the government, the land is under government, infrastructure etc. are government responsibilities. As long as such encroachments are not aborted or carefully put in place, local production cannot be strengthened. 

For example, why do Nigerians have to wait for farm produce from local farmers only? Why is the ministry of agriculture not turning out products to the market to give buyer options and leverage the price? The fertilizers that the government gives to farmers serves whose interest other than corruption?

The quality of local products and services will sell themselves. The concentration should be on the government doing something tangible that will arouse the interest of the average Nigerian.

Trust me, Nigerians are frequent travellers and enterprising if there are public goods and services to sell to the outer world, the average Nigerian will sell it fast before you know it. 

What our public media has done most times is propaganda that has often misled the outer world of investors community which has also encouraged unnecessary financial wastes and corruption by some international corporations that needs to stop if we must improve the economy and increase the value of the Naira.

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