If I were Mr. President (1) – By Clarius UgwuohaArticles, Clarius Ugwuoha, Columnists, NNP Columnists Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
By Clarius Ugwuoha, Rivers State, Nigeria – August 3, 2011 – I read with disgust the current motion for a single term of six years for both the president and the governors. Mr. President, there are more immediate issues than tenure elongation. The country is groaning under severe maladministration for which we voted you in to effect correction. I will be constructive but bluntly unmistakable in my annotations. I cannot say that I am disappointed so far, since it is too early in the day. But it is certain that you are on the wrong path and your strides so far cast you as frail and pliable. I speak for certain that you are severely strait-jacketed, your over-bloated government replete with fifth columnists.
If I were to be in your shoes, I would prune the federal executive council. There are far too many officials at the presidency. Methinks that with a twelve-man ministerial team you are better poised to perform, more so if these are technocrats, than the present contraption of Ministers, Ministers of State, Senior Special Advisers and what have you. Whatever law that stipulated that you MUST pick a minister in each state is retroactive. I would cause such laws to be repealed and replace ‘State’ with ‘geopolitical zone’. With such an overcrowded presidency as you have, it is not difficult to understand the slow pace of governance.
The next step is the closure of our national borders to importations, with the very slim exceptions of those very essential commodities. You are not encouraging the local manufacturers by opening the borders to all sorts of foreign products making Nigeria a dumping ground for cheap technologies elsewhere.
You need to think out of the box to be able to make a fresh and vivid impart on our lives. You cannot continue in the same path as your predecessors and expect a different result! If I were you, I will move for a law that creates an internal reserve which will be fed with a given percentage of the oil revenue. There will be a conscionable drive to drastically reduce the overdependence of the states on the federation account, by formulating a policy for regeneration of various moribund industries in the states. These will ensure that the Cocoa plantations, the Groundnut pyramids, Rice fields, Palm oil plantations resurface. The viability of each state would be gauged by its ability to sustainably maintain itself and non-viable states would be merged eventually. Any state financially challenged in the path of reactivating its industries could borrow from the internal reserve; and Oil producing States would continue to be catered for as in the present arrangement.
Crude oil export would be embargoed, or drastically curtailed as such raw materials would feed refineries, chemical and pharmaceutical companies to be established at the federal level with fund from the internal reserve. Wealthy individuals and corporate bodies would be given operating licenses to build these industries. The safe operating environment would be a challenge to be surmounted by aggressive zero menace policy with swift and responses to and stiff punishment for security breaches. The strategy is to make Nigeria an exporter of finished products and not raw materials, to generate employment sustainably for our teeming unemployed school leavers.
The next step is the aggressive harvest of the eggheads in the country with a view to establishing Research and Development centres in Nigeria. Every year, the brightest of students in leading secondary schools would be sent to world class institutions, with the clear-cut mandate of attaining the greatest intellectual height in their chosen specialties and the objective of imparting on the Nigerian scenario thereafter. The acumen of these quality graduates would be put into the reorientation of Nigeria technologically. They would liaise with Nigeria-born technocrats long abandoned to Western Countries (who would be lured back home with mouth watering incentives) to develop indigenous technologies such as happened in Japan under Emperor Hiro Hito, such as is presently practiced in China under the Sea Turtle scheme.
Minimum wage as presently championed is typically defective. What is needed is a seasoned restructuring of the Economy so that whatever wage one earns really counts. Once a new minimum wage is announced, the food seller next door, the cloth sellers and all others hike their fares, thus cancelling the effect of the increment. In some circumstances, one would feel a lower downward pull on the economy as an aftermath of such exercise. You are in essence carrying more money which has not enhanced your purchasing power in any way. The acceptable minimum wage is one that would improve your ability to purchase, irrespective of whether it is eighteen thousand naira or whatever. If incentives are placed on domestic food production, a glut of food stuffs in the market will draw down prices of goods, making them affordable. A revision and standardization of wages earnable in the country would be more appropriate than a blank minimum wage with some classes of workers earning a hundred times the salary of others. The situation whereby a dunce by virtue of being rigged into power by an equally illiterate godfather is earning ten times the salary of a university don or a medical doctor will continue to generate bickering. A revised and standardized wage bill will apportion salaries to all categories of workers and public office holders, depending on academic exposure, length of service and such other indices. This practice will effectively close out on the minimum wage and wage increment agitation perennially.
(to be continued)
Clarius Ugwuoha, a public affairs analyst, writes from Egbema, Nigeria.
- Between Inordinate Ambition and Good Governance -By Akintokunbo Adejumo
- What do Hobby Bloggers say Today who made Obasanjo their Punching Bag? – By Frisky Larr
- Is Gov. Orji Intending Reconciliation with the Probe of Kalu? -By Odimegwu Onwumere
- Achebe & the ‘Innocence’ of Mortuary Narratives – By Dr. Jideofor Adibe
- Terrorism & Elusive Justice in Nigeria – By Tochukwu Ezukanma
Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=11294