Nigeria Transiting

by E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq

On the other hand, FDR in 1932 stirred the spirit of America and enterprise with these words:

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly, nor need we shrink from honestly facing the condition of our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself ” nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance?

As an aside, FDR came to power in 1932 during the “Great Depression” in the USA after the stock market crash of 1929. Because FDR knew how to work a democracy, with the aid of his “Brain Trust” the first 100 days were full of legislative activity to get legal backing for his political rhetoric. [3] Fifteen major emergency Acts were passed by congress within the first 100 days, without any scandal. Every American then saw and felt the results of his activity. The USA still enjoys the benefits of FDR’s government initiative. Government is still about results.

Special Projects, Roads and Mass Transit

Some persons inclusive of a retired Supreme Court Justice has described the times we live in unflattering terms. The best time to exercise power is a time of emergency when the people are despondent and thus in need of action, any action. It is time for an inspired leadership to seize the moment and perform. The time to act decisively could not be better than NOW. The time of massive unemployment is also the best time to build; to put the people to work to help build certain infrastructure like roads and clean the cities of dirt. If mass transit train tracks were planned now, they could easily be laid cheaper, while putting the unemployed to work. A massive design of mass transit railway system crisscrossing Nigeria that would work would be an attractive project for multilateral agencies and foreign investors to invest in if the country is truly serious about progress. It was reported that contracts or Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for the Railways Project. A team needs to start reviewing what it is all about and what time-line has been sketched.

Electricity/other sources of Energy

Everyone knows that in order for Nigeria to move from the Stone Age economy, there is an urgent need for not only cheap but also a steady power generation and supply. Spinning-off Corporate Departments of NEPA and the change of nomenclature is not bad. It shows that some action is being taken, but to what effect? While efficient Business management is really needed in every specter, regarding power, if the bulbs stay on for 24 continuous hours in every part of Nigeria would be proof that we are on the way to Eldorado.

However, in spite of the colossal amount sank into electricity projects that we have read about, the report of those who have traveled Nigeria recently is that the bulbs are not staying on. If electricity is taken to the villages, the urban cities with all of its squalor would be less attractive to the better organized rural folk. Much may be yet at the planning stage, but if the power generation contracts are given to cronies and political jobbers instead of men with a track record of honesty and concrete deliverables in the sector, we shall continue to have the same story of abandoned projects when OBJ leaves office. The President-Elect has identified this as one of his priority areas. One may suggest that he needs to have an immediate as well as a long term plan in this area, again with set ascertainable time-lines for monitoring and evaluation.

Courts and Judiciary

All of the courtrooms of Nigeria can and should not only be electrified whatever that may cost, but the recording must also be enhanced to electronic and computerized transcripts if the nation is serious about expeditious dispensation of justice. If there is an electronic recording of proceeding in every court, it would be easier to get transcripts, harder to manipulate justice and faster to give rulings and to also finish the appeal process in a timely manner. This can be done, if we have the men with the will to do so. This will be a great boost to the rule of law; and there would be much help from our strategic partners if we show some willingness to improve in this area to expedite the trial of all the corrupt accused parties in Nigeria. We need a new chapter in the Rule of law.

We concede that there has been established some institutional framework to fight corruption, the question is, has it been effective? Has it lived up to the promise that ‘there shall be no sacred cows’? Has the state investigated in a clear and transparent manner all the newspaper allegation of graft and houses in foreign lands by public officers? Could there exist a conflict of interest in Public officers starting Universities while still on the public payroll? Could the systems be oiled and allowed to function without any appearance of interference from the Executive?

Dual Lagos Roads to the East

We recall reading of the contract signing ceremony regarding the dualization of the roads from Lagos to the east by the government of OBJ. We are yet to hear of a commissioning event. We rather heard of the N400 Billion that was expended on the contracts without any visible results. Who took the money (if any was spent) and were the roads constructed? If not who can tell us about the roads? There were other roads too to all the various rural areas. Was any made to account for their completion? This might be an issue the EFCC should be interested in.

What about the Delta

The President-elect wisely chose to make the Delta Development Master Plan one of his top priorities. With all the Presidential attention given to the Delta area, the people ought to be smiling regarding Federal presence and the multiple promises of multinationals. Do they have paved roads, electricity, and water? These are concrete goals that can be set mobilized and achieved within the first 100 days of inauguration.Shell and others have taken so much out of the ground, how much have they put into the communities? What would be the conflict prevention/resolution policy of the government for the region? There should be an aggressive drive to better the condition of the residents (if only as an interim palliative) even before the major issues are addressed. One company alone can build up a model village for the villagers within one month if it wills to do it. The Conference Center in Abuja was built in record time when it suited the government to do so. The Delta issues are not better served by tough rhetoric. Jonathan Goodluck’s assertion that the kidnappers would be treated as terrorists might send a signal to the international oil community to he must know that he is elected to find creative proactive solutions to the plight of his people and not to protect the investment interest of foreigners.

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