*My Letter Of 5-Point Observations To President Tinubu As He Assumes Office, By Kemi Olokode-Ayelabola*
Posted By Town Crier News Nigeria
Published By Fitness Network Communications
Distinctly, of all the former presidential candidates you were and still the best known, not only in Nigeria but in Sub-Saharan Africa and arguably in the entire continent. You are widely acknowledged and known for your huge capacity for hard work and delivery of purpose driven results. You are also recognised as a bridge builder whose regime will not only bring about unity and stability to Nigeria and the African continent, but also bring about economic prosperity among the generality of our people.
As you settle down to work, my prayer for you is for God to increase you in knowledge that surpasses that of Daniel and wisdom and understanding that are greater than that of Solomon to deliver Nigeria from her litany of socio-economic challenges. And my advise to you is to remain focused and deliver the mandate of your election manifesto to the people.
Your Excellency, as a firm believer in your ability, I didn’t hesitate to support your presidential aspirations with the cooperation of other Nigerians who also believe in you. This is a great opportunity for you to unite Nigerians and renew their hopes and aspirations in all facets of life.
Clearly and also with the benefit of the hindsight, it is evident that you can conveniently lead Nigeria to her economic and political Eldorado. A fresh opportunity avails itself on you, the former Lagos State Governor, believed to have been well-prepared and with requisite understanding to write your name in gold in the annals of Nigerian political history.
Laying it bare, Tinubu obviously has his work cut out for him. However, putting into account the circumstances surrounding his emergence as President, Asiwaju cannot afford to fail Nigerians as every section of the country has in some ways witnessed unbearable economic, security, social and infrastructural setbacks in recent past than it has seen at any point in its history, sadly all these regrettable vices call for urgent and immediate redressing.
We need not remind ourselves further that Tinubu is currently faced with various challenges, including widespread violence, double-digit inflation and industrial-scale oil theft, therefore the time to mitigate is now and must be speedy.
While I am aware Tinubu will be putting forward technocrats to manage the affairs of his administration which he has already started, one thing that is essential that he must not compromise in this nascent administration is that he must have milestones and benchmarks on some very important national issues that are currently screaming for attention, deservedly so. Anything his government will implement will have to be essentially done to secure Nigeria and its people.
In the spirit of patriotism and as a Nigerian, it is my wish and prayer that Tinubu’s Presidency succeeds, even as I want to see him correct all the wrongs under his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, on whose party ticket he ran.
Below are my unbiased observations which His Excellency may consider to aid his robust policies and roadmap for the good people of Nigeria:
1. I want to see President Tinubu’s administration fix the economy by building on Buhari’s public infrastructure programme to create jobs and remove legal limits on government spending.
It is worrying to see Nigeria’s revenue-to-GDP ratio to be lowest among its peers, according to the World Bank. Tinubu should use his good offices to reduce corporate tax to attract investment and plug tax loopholes to boost revenue.
A popular fuel subsidy, which cost $10 billion in 2022 which is driving up debt, needs to be cleverly and professionally addressed, and the money saved could be channelled to infrastructure, health, agricultural and social welfare programmes, whilst also cushioning the effects of its removal such that the interest of the masses will not be jeopardized.
2. Our new President will also have to revive and re-energize the entire value chain of the oil and gas sector (upstream, midstream and downstream) for the survival of domestic, industrial and commercial needs of Nigerians. At the moment, crude oil theft is the biggest headache for local and international oil companies (IOCs) , which have seen production tumble, despite giving matching orders to the security chiefs to secure our maritime corridor and prevent economic sabotage, stiffer measures have to be put in place. Oil majors are selling shallow-water projects, mainly due to the theft and vandalism of pipelines, and shifting offshore.
This new administration should start doing things differently by floating surveillance unit to protect the country’s pipelines and attract new investors with tax incentives. And more importantly all our four moribund refineries must come back to full stream in their maximum capacities and it must further review the Petroleum Industry Act to remove all grey areas serving as clog to the wheel of progress in that all important industry. Moreover Mr President also needs to key into the global shift towards renewable energy in line with Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, which must again be reviewed in the larger interest of the citizenry.
3. Mr. President will also have to deal with the scourge of insecurity head long.
Spreading insecurity is a major concern for Nigerians and foreign investors, from kidnappings for ransom in the northwest to a 13-year Islamist insurgency in the northeast, separatist violence in the southeast and decades-old ethnic tensions between herders and farmers in the north-central region.
Fresh ideas are required to tackle insecurity through use of technology and by rejiging the country’s security architecture. Similarly the intelligence community also needs to scale up their efficiency and effectiveness in intelligence gathering, monitoring, processing and management and the choice of National Security Advisor must be properly and thoroughly thought out.
4. Mr. President should mitigate human rights abuse
Asiwaju Tinubu often casts himself as a champion of human rights, pointing to his time campaigning against Nigeria’s former military rulers in the 1990s when he was forced into exile. But at a time like this when Nigeria’s profile on human rights abuse has risen astronomically, he needs to rise to the occasion and change the narrative by restoring people’s confidence.
It will be a thing of joy for me when I see the president addressing issues like, arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious abuses in a conflict, including killings, abductions, and torture of civilians; serious restrictions on free expression and media, including violence or threats against journalists and the existence of criminal libel laws; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; serious government corruption; lack of investigation and accountability for gender-based violence, including but not limited to domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, and other harmful traditional practices.
5. Mr. President will also need to reassure the people that democracy isn’t under threat.
The year 2023 general election marked nearly a quarter century of democracy in Africa’s most populous nation, and many hoped that it would be its most credible, yet thanks to an increasingly professional electoral commission and measures to curb fraudulent practices rife in many previous polls.
But malfunctions in new equipment used to verify voters’ identities and transmit results, along with instances of violence and disruption of voting in some areas, undermined confidence in the process. However, it will help a great deal if we can further review our Electoral Act to ensure that every open or hidden lacuna in it are accordingly taken care of, in another breath the mode of choosing both full time staff and adhoc staff needs to be remodeled in order to boost the sanctity of the outcome of Nigeria’s electoral process that will not be often challenged at the Court of law.
I have not, myself, ever claimed to be all-knowing or infallible, but it is my wish that Tinubu’s administration in the next four years records meritorious and indelible feats that will positively shake the world and permanently silence his vituperative critics for the greater good of Nigeria. May God bless our nation and may it also prosper and excel.
● *Kemi Olokode-Ayelabola, a resident of Ireland is the Chairperson/Convener of Asiwaju 4 Renewed Hope ’23, she wrote via email@example.com*