Since the call from ‘The Nigerian Front’ to the organs of government and to Nigerian electorate, the Presidency has moved to reduce the excessive monetary allowances, which the members of the National Assembly voted for themselves. This is a good and commendable development.
We believe that patriotic Nigerians must remain engaged with the government at all levels to ensure that this issue does not die. We understand that it is not enough for savings to be made from slashing the National Assembly members’ benefits, only for those and other resources to be mismanaged. We would in due course offer an outline of the priority policy areas, which we feel the government should address as a matter of urgency.
Our initiative shall place relentless pressure on all organs of government to ensure that we do not remain on the same path to failure that we have travelled since independence. We urge all Nigerians of goodwill to come together to create a value-based vision upon a simple promise; which can be at the heart of the ‘Nigerian idea’, a Nigerian dream that was articulated by President Goodluck Jonathan in his declaration for presidency; we must continue to insist that Nigeria can be a place where everyone has a chance to make it if he or she can work very hard and play by the rules.
However, we realise that we remain a nation deeply traumatised and inhabited by cynicism at various levels as demonstrated by a response to the emergence of The Front, stating:
“We have seen this in the past. We must understand the core problem of Nigeria, which has to do with restructuring of the country. Anything out of this context, no matter how novel, will fizzle out in few months. I advice you to organise along regional lines, you will disagree with this, but praxis will teach you greater lessons.”
While the chattering classes are pre-occupied with their own ambitions, inhibitions and anxieties, we wish to restate with uttermost confidence:
That we of ‘The Nigerian Front’ are bound together, not by filthily lucre, temporary political advantage, electoral opportunism or posturing but by deeply held ties, which were nurtured in our classrooms in our early youth, where we learnt to cherish chivalry and truth. We have over the years learnt to pull together each one with the rest, playing up and striving each to do his best. Therefore, whatever, the context that may be presented today, we are here to stay as a permanent fixture on the firmament and shall not fizzle out.
As the President considers the composition of his cabinet, there is the usual inclination to interprete this prerogative simply as one of patronage, limited to rewarding personal loyalty, settling of political debts and accumulating political capital.
We have heard the names of some out-going governors with questionable legacies being touted as possible ministers and advisers in the incoming cabinet. This is precisely the route that past leaders have taken, the same route that has brought us to where we are today. We urge Mr. President not to waste this opportunity to make a break with the past and chart a new course for our nation. We cannot, as a serious nation, be seen to reward incompetence and mis-governance nor can we recycle failed politicians and persons of dubious pedigree all in the name of settling party debts or cementing party unity. Mr. President and indeed the National Assembly should insist that any politician or individual with questionable antecedents must render due account before being entrusted with public office again.
The President must use the goodwill he currently enjoys to forge a government that will make a difference in the lives of Nigerian citizens. We urge the President to choose only the most capable and honest Nigerians as ministers and advisers and his choice must not be limited by the membership of any political party but must take into account the fact that some of the best and brightest of our people now live beyond our shores.
The new cabinet must reflect the many patriotic technocrats and the quiet achievers who have remained at home, steadfast and committed, holding together the fraying fabrics of our society against all odds.
Therefore the government constructed from this process must be built to deliver good governance over the next four years. It must be composed of good men and women who are able to contribute their energies in a new spirit of public service to make our nation what it should be.
The President needs to be aware of the political reality that a government with a four-year term barely has a 24-month window of opportunity to make its mark. The rest of the term would be used up political maneuvering and running for elections.
We also suggest that the President ensures that his Chief of Staff is capable of being trusted with enough clout to control access to his office and knock heads together. The office must be pivotal in ensuring actions of the Presidential staff are overseen, the President’s schedule is managed and decisions upon access to the President are made efficiently and effectively, so that this term of office is focused on delivery from day one.
This is not a time to reside on the sidelines or to adopt ‘siddon look’ posture, we urge the electorate to write directly to the President, through the facebook or alternative means with names of men and women who you feel can be worthy of a government of all talents and also to petition to the National Assembly against any dubious appointments that may fall through the cracks.
Dr. Olu Ojedokun writes on behalf of The Nigerian Front.
Signed by the following Representatives of The Nigerian Front:
Mr. Remi Jibowu
Dr. Onochie Okoye
Alh Ismaila Zakari
Mr. Bashar Dankaro
Mr. Derrick Kentebe