Nigeria Matters

Open Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan

Dear Mr. President,

“If not for tribalism Jonathan can not run a wasteful government” is a portion of my article published inside “Nigeriansinamerica.com” on 3rd December 2009 entitled “RESIGNATION PRESSURE ON VP JONATHAN: To Squat or Squash Nigeria’s Democracy, was a herald of things to come for you. Paragraph six of that article goes “if not for tribalism Jonathan can not run a wasteful government rather can push for fair and responsible lawmaking. He believes in Limited government, Principles of our founding fathers, Constitutional adherence, Traditional value, air and honest government and Personal responsibility .Running a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, I see this Doctor leave himself free to regulate the national pursuits for industry and improvement, who may not take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned”

Having written all these for your enthronement, I believe your government will prove Nigerians of which I am one of your supporters right; the call to declare you the president of Nigeria of which, I and the people in “nigeriansinamerica.com” as well as “nigeria4betterrule” received as a dream come true in writing and action would not be undermined-: you will govern to prove us right.

From that assumption; You may understand that today Nigerians of which you and I are one of them including our well-wishers chatter about democracy and how it is the national goal, but it appears a mere talk. We were probably most democratic in pre-October 1960 under the British Colony when the people were more in participation with the national integration but soon after that our journey has always been in the valleys of various non-democracies, all of course installed in our name. Since it’s a failure from birth, shouldn’t we consider the possibility that the search for democracy is futile because the political system won’t allow it?

It is assumed that every government comes to power on the wings of a plethora promises, especially with regard to rural development – infrastructure and otherwise. It is hence understandable that every political government would seek to spend budgetary allocation for the projects and programmes that it has promised to the electorate. The successive governments have reserved the local government, rural development and cooperatives portfolio for the general secretary of the party in power, especially since Nigeria returned to the democratic system of governance in 1999.It is also understandable why the ruling party prefers its rotational government, so to speak, is to hold the unity and diversity of the state; after all, as the president we demand unity of you and your ruling party leaders and activists at the grassroots requires your support while coordinating national development works. Such an arrangement can help the ruling party to keep abreast of the responses and reactions to the government’s plans and programmes among the masses and the party rank and file.

Again sir, it is obviously a forward thinking one especially for a poverty ridden and developing country like Nigeria. Each and every sector of a society should be interconnected through ICT. Connecting people and ensuring good governance is core prerequisite of every people-oriented government. Good governance includes different indicators like accountability of the government, transparency of the government, effective parliament, effective democratic system, freedom of print and mass media, independence of the judiciary, rule of law, and access to information etc. Effective implementation of the above indicators can be possible when society gets adaptation with ICT. Information should be exposed to mass people that can only ensure true communication. Connecting people depends on open access of information.

Mr. President, It is truly our dream to see digital Nigeria by the year 2021. To me education is the top most requirement of digital Nigeria. In Nigeria education rate is definitely low than other developed countries. Our government has taken different policies in order to provide light of education to every sphere of people in our society. English literacy rate is comparatively poorer that certainly deserves top priority to see our country digitalized.

Our country is a rural based one. Only few people of our country know how to use computer and the Internet. High digital distance exists between rural and urban areas. Internet facility is merely seen in some organizations in urban areas. Digital Nigeria must ensure Internet facility to all organizations in our society so that people could do their daily activities like banking, shopping, paying income tax, electricity bill, water bill, paper bill etc via internet. Everyday activities need to be digitalized and technology driven. If people wants to know any information relating to any sector they just need computer and Internet. So, all information needs to be available on web-page. Thus good governance and e-governance can be ensured which is compulsory to achieve the millennium development goal.

Again sir, it should, perhaps, not take more than a cursory glance for one to discern the inherent inequity in the pay structure for Nigeria’s public servants. The pay package for government officials and employees is generally poor; that the 7th Pay Commission is likely to recommend an 80 per cent increase in salary across could be taken as a testimony to that effect. The inequity, however, runs deeper – between the different categories that the bureaucracy has. Currently, an employee in the lowest rung of the public service gets a monthly pay of N14,310, including a basic salary of N 8,400. Even if, as the pay commission has recommended, his or her basic salary is increased to N 4,000 and the take-home pay doubles, it might still be as inadequate to run a family as it currently is. If year-on-year inflation and the ever-increasing prices of essential commodities are factored in, the raise could very well appear to be a cruel joke. On the other hand, the recommended increase at the other end of the spectrum, although at the same rate, would result in a substantive raise in real terms – at least N 32,000.

State-run Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and the Port Harcourt, Kaduna and the Warri Refineries deserve raised capacity by three times to reduce import cost and its reliance on foreign countries for petroleum products. At a cost of more than $1 billion, the refinery’s capacity will be raised to 4.5 million tones a year from 1.5 million tonnes.

Your government will find the plan viable after completion of the additional three proposed Refineries study .Almost the entire demand we will meet from our own capacity, which will save cost and time.
Nigeria imports up to 3.8 million tonnes of oil having produced more than 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil yearly.

Mr. President, our image abroad will need your fine-tuning hands. One would have thought that Nigerians settling abroad would get closer to one another through a sense of national identity. Indeed, that is not how matters have largely worked out for our people, meaning those who have left their own countries to make their homes abroad. Unfortunately, in the case of Nigeria’s expatriate, politically-oriented people, there does not appear to be any hint that much has changed in their attitudes to life in their adopted countries. The problem is not only one of the privileged Nigerians squabbling with one another on foreign soil. There is too the very clear picture of a number of factions arising out of one and the same alliance, to a point where visiting ministers and lawmakers from Nigeria find it hugely embarrassing when they realize they have been forced into quite a tough situation. The demands that are then made on such visitors to assist the quarrelling activists in settling their problems are big. The overall result is that the visitors are often found expending time on dea

ling with their own people rather than engaging with the leadership of the countries they happen to be visiting.

Unfortunately though, nearly 50 years after our Federal Republic of Nigeria emerged as an independent nation – winning the decolonized war of liberation in 1960- –yet we have not been able to give democracy an institutional shape. All these years, the nation’s quest for democracy became tied on severed bondage; floundered on a bumpy and turbulent path, hovering intermittently between a mere semblance of democracy and military rule.

Mr. President Sir, if we will seek to build Nigeria’s democracy, understands the assertion that democracy and rule of law always go together. Flawed system of democracy can rather jeopardize rule of law and rule of bad law can impede democracy. Many faulty democracies all around the world have demonstrated how rule of law can be exploited to deny human rights, breed inequality and foster discrimination and finally defeat the true spirit of democracy. In legal history of even some very advanced countries we have seen that the revolution of law in the early 1900s had predominantly facilitated and protected the interest of a tiny section of people comprising the industrialists, landlords and corporate powers.

Sir, on energy sector; if the cost and the level of development which is still incipient are taken into consideration, solar power and wind power can at best supplement the supply of power from hydrocarbon. Solar power and wind power may be energy of the future but it would be unwise to wait too long for their optimum exploitation. There are two main reasons why Nigeria, and the whole world, should go all out for tapping alternative sources of energy. One is the need for renewable source of supply, considering that the reserves of oil and coal are apt to be depleted in the future. Another reason is the paramount need to contain emission. Solar energy is not only renewable; it is also clean, green and environment-friendly. Fuel can be got from sources other than coal and oil, for example ethanol from corn but this energy will also burn and contribute to global warming.

Currently, Nigeria is experiencing the acutest load shedding in its history. The country has a requirement of about 6,000 megawatts electricity but production at present hovers around 4,000 megawatts. The time has come for a breakthrough in alternative energy. In what may be called an inspiring move, the Obasanjo regime has set up a 20.3kw solar power system to meet partly or fully its own electricity need. A call has been made by that regime to install solar power system which he said would be regarded as corporate responsibility. Nigeria can now be said to have entered the age of renewable energy. But to make alternative energy a viable option the pace of progress has to be vastly quickened. The horse of horsepower should not trot or canter but gallop.

Every time a new government takes office, it laments how its predecessor has ravaged the utility sector throughout its tenure and has done absolutely nothing. While castigating of the previous regime goes on, the incumbent government very conveniently forgets to do its own bit to make the situation better. Those PDP-led government has not been any exception, but barely few months since your assumption of office, it has given indication that you are trying to bring about positive changes in the Nigeria’s way to prosperity. While everyday we learn from news reports how people are demonstrating at different corners of the country demanding uninterrupted supply of power, affordable education and available fuel, how small scale entrepreneurs especially those in rural communities cannot concentrate in their production because of routine power outages, how power failure is hampering industrialization , how production in Nigerian factories has declined almost 30 per cent lately due to gas and power shortage, the people at the helm of affairs appear hardly moved and perturbed.

Admittedly, the power and gas supply situation cannot be improved overnight; the people do not expect it, either. Nigerians are aware that even if your government decides to commission a new power plant or initiate exploration for gas, it would take a while before they start getting benefits of such initiatives. What the people of Nigeria expect, however, is that your government would come up with public disclosure of the state of affairs in the power and petroleum sectors of the Nigerian economy and what you plan to do to redress the situation. What they expect most is for your government to be responsive to their miseries and sincere in its efforts to mitigate their hardship. It is certainly time for your government to tell the Nigerian people in clear terms where the country stands in terms of its needed subsidized education, electricity and petroleum supply situation. Nigerians will love to retain you beyond 2011 should your government present them with a plan of action that it intends to follow in the days to come to improve the situation.
our government will find the plan viable after completion of the additional three proposed Refineries study .Almost the entire demand we will meet from our own capacity, which will save cost and time. Nigeria imports up to 3.8 million tonnes of oil having produced more than 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil yearly.

Mr. President, our image abroad will need your fine-tuning hands. One would have thought that Nigerians settling abroad would get closer to one another through a sense of national identity. Indeed, that is not how matters have largely worked out for our people, meaning those who have left their own countries to make their homes abroad. Unfortunately, in the case of Nigeria’s expatriate, politically-oriented people, there does not appear to be any hint that much has changed in their attitudes to life in their adopted countries. The problem is not only one of the privileged Nigerians squabbling with one another on foreign soil. There is too the very clear picture of a number of factions arising out of one and the same alliance, to a point where visiting ministers and lawmakers from Nigeria find it hugely embarrassing when they realize they have been forced into quite a tough situation. The demands that are then made on such visitors to assist the quarrelling activists in settling their problems are big. The overall result is that the visitors are often found expending time on dealing with their own people rather than engaging with the leadership of the countries they happen to be visiting.

Unfortunately though, nearly 50 years after our Federal Republic of Nigeria emerged as an independent nation – winning the decolonized war of liberation in 1960- –yet we have not been able to give democracy an institutional shape. All these years, the nation’s quest for democracy became tied on severed bondage; floundered on a bumpy and turbulent path, hovering intermittently between a mere semblance of democracy and military rule.

If we will seek to build Nigeria’s democracy, understand the assertion that democracy and rule of law always go together. Flawed system of democracy can rather jeopardize rule of law and rule of bad law can impede democracy. Many faulty democracies all around the world have demonstrated how rule of law can be exploited to deny human rights, breed inequality and foster discrimination and finally defeat the true spirit of democracy. In legal history of even some very advanced countries we have seen that the revolution of law in the early 1900s had predominantly facilitated and protected the interest of a tiny section of people comprising the industrialists, landlords and corporate powers.

Solar power and wind power may be energy of the future but it would be unwise to wait too long for their optimum exploitation. There are two main reasons why Nigeria, and the whole world, should go all out for tapping alternative sources of energy. One is the need for renewable source of supply, considering that the reserves of

oil and coal are apt to be depleted in the future. Another reason is the paramount need to contain emission. Solar energy is not only renewable; it is also clean, green and environment-friendly. Fuel can be got from sources other than coal and oil, for example ethanol from corn but this energy will also burn and contribute to global warming.

Currently, Nigeria is experiencing the acutest load shedding in its history. The country has a requirement of about 6,000 megawatts electricity but production at present hovers around 4,000 megawatts. The time has come for a breakthrough in alternative energy. In what may be called an inspiring move, the Obasanjo regime has set up a 20.3kw solar power system to meet partly or fully its own electricity need. A call has been made by that regime to install solar power system which he said would be regarded as corporate responsibility. Nigeria can now be said to have entered the age of renewable energy. But to make alternative energy a viable option the pace of progress has to be vastly quickened. The horse of horsepower should not trot or canter but gallop.

Every time a new government takes office, it laments how its predecessor has ravaged the utility sector throughout its tenure and has done absolutely nothing. While castigating of the previous regime goes on, the incumbent government very conveniently forgets to do its own bit to make the situation better. Those PDP-led government has not been any exception, but barely few months since your assumption of office, it has given indication that you are trying to bring about positive changes in the Nigeria’s way to prosperity. While everyday we learn from news reports how people are demonstrating at different corners of the country demanding uninterrupted supply of power, affordable education and available fuel, how small scale entrpreneurs especially those in rural communities cannot concentrate in their production because of routine power outages, how power failure is hampering industrialization , how production in Nigerian factories has declined almost 30 per cent lately due to gas and power shortage, the people at the helm of affairs appear hardly moved and perturbed.

Admittedly, the power and gas supply situation cannot be improved overnight; the people do not expect it, either. Nigerians are aware that even if your government decides to commission a new power plant or initiate exploration for gas, it would take a while before they start getting benefits of such initiatives. What the people of Nigeria expect, however, is that your government would come up with public disclosure of the state of affairs in the power and petroleum sectors of the Nigerian economy and what you plan to do to redress the situation.

What they expect most is for your government to be responsive to their miseries and sincere in its efforts to mitigate their hardship. It is certainly time for your government to tell the Nigerian people in clear terms where the country stands in terms of its needed subsidized education, electricity and petroleum supply situation. Nigerians will love to retain you beyond 2011 should your government present them with a plan of action that it intends to follow in the days to come to improve the situation.

One Comment

  1. attention to education, electricity/energy will obvious give mr. president the needed credit for reelection

    Reply

Post Comment