Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If I Were State 2012

Listening to the various budgets proposals of state governments for 2012, it comforts to see some clear movement towards capital projects. The devil of course is in both the details and implementation. Over the next 12 months, there is time enough.

The mood of the nation today asks for good governance and sustainable development. The surest way to attain both is for governors and local council chairmen to deliver the dividends of democracy in utmost transparency and full accountability. Not a tall order at all. The starting point of course is to be the people's hand - take away their pains, this excruciating penury, this burgeoning spectre of pauperization of the masses. And to do so with the people's money, the people's resources. Chikena.

If I were Nigerian State Governors, I will pitch with the people. I will pick attainable goals and target areas of most-needs. Why will it not be in my interest to create the infrastructure for life and livelihood? Why will it not be fun to build houses - mass housing - with burnt brisks and other local building materials? Why will foods and drinks not be available and affordable when we can farm all-year-round, and we have hordes of capable but idle hands? Why won't I go for solar energy: to power street lights, boreholes, primary health centres and schools, to liberalize and decentralize domestic consumption, and make things happen in 2012?

If I were Nigerian Governors, I will build one world class health-care complex per senatorial zone in my state - complete with diagnostic, surgical and recovery facilities; complete with human and material resources, including foreign experts where needed.

If I were a State Governor in 2012, I will cut down on the bloated bureaucracy and right-size political and technocratic appointees as well as the wasteful official delegations and government convoys.

From now on, I will look at my worthy peers (ahem... *Babatunde Fashola, Peter Obi, Jonah Jang, Godswill Akpabio, Sule Lamido, Rotimi Amaechi*, I'm eyeing you) and aim to match or surpass them --- pro-rata, of course.

Four years, dear Governor, be not forever!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

If I Were President Jonathan...on Fuel Subsidy

Knowing how tough it can be to lead Nigeria, we should bear with the president as he wades through the  murky waters of  our "government vs citizens" imbroglio over fuel subsidy. I pity this president.

There was a basic mismanagement in the whole saga: government was not ready! No compelling data. No convincing argument. Bad ambassadors. Bad timing. And some hubris. So far, therefore, the administration has been unable to win parliamentary support. Nor public sympathy.

Then the big spoiler: fuel subsidy benefits a cabal, it says. Really? But the constitution says NO to that. And the government MUST obey the constitution. And defend the constitution. Non?

Then the recycled joke: government agents are polluting the airwaves with poor adverts. Very poor adverts on how all our problems will be solved with the N1.5trillion cash savings from subsidy removal. Really? Where are our 2010 and 2011 budget performance videos - despite all the trillions? Mirage. Stories. Queries.

Now, the polity is polarized. But we must move on. And we must help our president.

If I were Goodluck Jonathan, I'll suspend the matter forthwith and return to reality. Do the maths. Crush the cabal. Deliver on the 2012 and 2013 budgets. Create viable and sustainable alternatives (especially transport and energy sectors). Win back the enthusiasm that heralded the Jonathan-Sambo presidency. Regain the people's confidence. Betray not the trust.

And revisit the issue come 2014.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If I Were African Leaders...on DEMOCRACY

The wind of democracy is beating all barriers and breaking strangleholds across the Arab and African worlds even as it will soon take its toll on other nations. No question. So, leaders beware!

But we focus on Africa. The AU being virtually absent in all the seismic happenings must now fully reengage if it should become relevant in the new dispensation. The past is the past only when we learn from it. Have we? Not many will say yes to that.

If I were African leaders, therefore, this is the time to face facts and embrace the truth: sit-tight syndrome is bad for all nations. All. Democracy is not a family affair, passed from father to child, to the brutal or benevolent exclusion of other contenders and the electorate. We must follow the lead of ECOWAS in confronting despots and defending democracy. Nothing less. (Thank you, patriots).

If I were African leaders, now is the time to give real bite to the peer review mechanism by asking all leaders to pledge to their nations a total commitment to democracy - in a live broadcast. They should keep fidelity with the law and obey, not manipulate, their nation's constitution.

African leaders must speak out, and promptly act - as one and all - against any violator.

2012 should keep the ugly past away!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

If I Were Nigeria's Political Leaders...on Cabinet Size

Even the most optimistic political jobber knows that there can't be government jobs for everyone! And will not begrudge the appointed. We preach it to our youths, don't we? We say, "Get Entrepreneurial - it is the future!" Pray, we are right.

Now everyone knows how expensive running governments (at all levels) has been in this land - simply insane, period. And we all talk about it, moan about it, decry it, want it stopped. Well, until we get into power!

Our political leaders must cut down the size of government cabinets and infrastructure. There are too many appointees, too many institutions, too many drain-pipes, too many ghost workers! Again, simply insane.

To do so quickly and fully requires some constitutional changes - size of the federal cabinet, for example. And political will. Thankfully, the nation is ready and calling for BOTH. Let's get on with it, and cut the crap!

If I were Nigeria's political leaders - president, governors, LG chairmen, legislators, party chairmen, ministers and commissioners - I will ACT today, as we did with the ELECTORAL ACT!

Our Goal? 60 % Rightsizing of Government and its obscene costs, FREEING resources for REAL Development for Country & Citizens. Overdue.

Less than 1% consuming more than 80% of any nation's resources is simply insane. Let's cut the crap!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If I Were Wealthy Nigerians...on NUJ's HQ Fundraiser

There is something about the rich or money-bag class in this country: Very few of its members back the right causes. Even fewer do so timeously! Most prefer fanfare and a media blitz when they do give, despite how good this country has been to them.

Key Note: Hey, no bi dem money? Haba, dem fit spend or hide am - wetin concern you? No matter. Just that charity is core to humanity, and native to Africa. It is a central bead in our Extended Family beauty - the cherished code of all faiths. Kwo?

Considering what the media means to this land - from independence through military misadventures to civilian shenanigans to anti-corruption crusade to keeping Nigeria one - it is meet that we all support the Nigerian Union of Journalists comprehensively. It recently launched a One Billion Naira appeal fund to build its headquarters and  international training institute in Abuja. It barely raised 100m Naira! Pity. Shame.

Were it a political party (you know which!), our money-bags will be falling over themselves to out-bid and out-donate each other, and hugging the media blitz/limelight to boot! No matter. Just that the media outlives all. Note.

If I were the rich in Nigeria, I will write the NUJ a fat cheque tonight - yes, tonight.

Friday, June 10, 2011

If I Were NYSC Authorities...on Violence and Insecurity of Corpers

The National Youth Service Scheme will be reviewed, revamped and restructured. No question. We should all join and/or follow the process.

Meanwhile, any state that cannot or will not guarantee our children's safety during their service year must be excused or exempted - for now. QED.

If I were the NYSC authorities, this subject will be non-negotiable - not after what parents, guardians and the nation have experienced and endured in the last 12 months.

To Whom It May Concern: Make no mistake about it, the NYSC stays! QED.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Religious Leaders and 2011 Elections

Blessed be the truth-sayers for they shall be in Nigerian Pantheon. Be they clergy or laity, especially CLERGY.

We have seen unbelievable scenes of religious perfidy and spiritual iniquities in this land, including lies, frauds, distemper, heresies and hegemony. We have endured murderous teachings and outright murders, incitements and  indictments, provocations and invocations, to our utter dismay and disgust.  We don see plenty for this kontry!

But see the beauty-in-the-beast: The truth-sayers never gave up! There they were in the minority, but they mattered to justice and God' Deal for the land. So, they stood for the masses, with the masses, by the masses. We thank them. Those who thought truth will never rise are now witnessing the big surprise. They must now arise and bear witness, become witnesses of the TRUTH: God do descend for Nigeria and Nigerians o - no magomago, no wuruwuru again! The truth-sayers are being justified, soon to be edified and publicly robed in "pantheonic glory"! Yes.

If I were Nigeria's religious leaders therefore, I will root for free and fair ballots and give my congregation the education, castigation and motivation they need to choose right. They must troop out and exercise their civic and democratic right to vote. They must take this duty seriously and perform it dutifully.

If I were these revered clerics, I will preach and protest against CORRUPTION - the core problem of the land. I will join in the crusade positively, privately and publicly. I will stand up to be counted, to be known and noted on the side of The PEOPLE!

If that be so, I will urge the clergy concaves to do same...PUBLICLY. What better time than 2011? And these ELECTIONS?