No doubt, so many Nigerians batted eyelids on the outcome of the presidential election that took place on 25th February, 2023. Consequently, there was uncertainty about the possibility of the swearing – in of the President- elect. However, whether there are issues about the election or contestation that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should or shouldn’t be sworn-in is another kettle of fish entirely. Now that he has been sworn- in, Tinubu must now face the onerous task of establishing legitimacy for his government. Below are some of the proposals for the new government:
GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY
In order for the Tinubu’s government to enjoy legitimacy it must rid itself off the lure to seek selfish ambition and select men and women across political, ethnic and religious divide who will be totally dedicated to providing social services to the people. Therefore, Tinubu must form a government of national unity, which suggests he must be magnanimous in his administration by involving people who are dedicated to see Nigeria work in spite of their political affiliations. This would no doubt bring about reconciliation amongst the different political divides that have engaged in vitriol electioneering. Tinubu must now begin to reconcile, reunite and reconstruct.
The Tinubu superintendent government must provide solid national security. Nigerians live in fear nowadays in the midst of high-headed terrorism and banditry. Farmers cannot go to their farms; Nigerians cannot ply the roads confidently anymore and enjoy the comfort of safe and pleasurable travels. This government must secure Nigerians, their lives and properties. One veritable way to do this is the establishment of state police. The Nigerian Police that is centralized and concentrated should be decentralized and removed from the exclusive list. In fact, security should be contained in the residual list which will afford the states and local governments the opportunity to control their own police. The Nigeria police trust fund should be well funded in order to recruit and train police adequately and also be able to procure security machinery and equipment.
Trailing behind the need for solid national security is food security. Tinubu has boasted in his campaigns that he would provide food in abundance for Nigerians. At a certain campaign he promised to make agbado, ewa, cassava, available in quantum. This speech made so much headlines that a meme was carved out therefrom that is now used by most Nigerian comedy skit makers as soundtrack. This is the time to show that he was not gaffing, he must now ensure that his team puts all hands on deck to de-terrorise the entire geopolitical regions where farmers have been driven out of their farm lands by terrorists and bandits in order for these farmers to back and begin their work of providing food for Nigerians. This government must provide incentives for farmers in the form of loan to purchase farming apparatuses, chemical substances and every other farming implement to boost agricultural production. The bank of Agriculture should be made to provide easy access to obtaining loans and should be devoid of any form of bureaucracy.
The roads in Nigeria to a very large extent are still deplorable. The new government must consolidate, in a more intense degree, on the Buhari- led- government’s attempt to construct roads and rails. There are many towns and villages that are cut off from modernity because no accessible road. Transportation in Nigeria is a hassle because there are no sufficient good motor able roads and road transportation is heavily concentrated. It is not just enough for this government to construct roads, it must provide the enabling environment to diversify transportation. While we urge the new government to interface with states governments, give approval for the construction of federal roads within states and thereafter reimburse such expenses, Government should invest in and diversify transportation- invest in all means of transportation and run transportation parastatals.
Nigeria’s education system needs total overhauling. There should be provision of compulsory and free Universal Basic Primary Education. This should be made mandatory, especially in the Northern parts of Nigeria where illiteracy is exacerbated. Nigeria’s tertiary institutions should be incentivized by increasing their annual budgetary allocation in order to take care of the learning environment, procure modern learning technology and facilities and improve working conditions of staff. It would be very elating for students to be given bursaries to students. A nation with the kind of Nigeria’s education system is doomed to scientific cum technological mediocrity, economic and political instability, socio-cultural upheavals, religious bigotry and a deep sense of collective poverty and inferiority complex.
Nigeria’s healthcare sector should be among the least in the world. This is the reason Nigeria’s ‘’Upper Class’’ – politicians, high rank government officials, rich business tycoons, celebrities and church hierarchies- go for medical tourism abroad. Punch News Paper recently carried out a survey that estimated Nigeria’s medical tourism for the last six years to be over 7 billion dollars. Approximately, 1.2 billion dollars go out of Nigeria yearly for medical reasons because government has refused to bolster the healthcare sector. Just imagine the humongous amount of money that leaves our economy for medical tourism! Tinubu must bolter the healthcare sector by investing huge amount of money into it, healthcare workers must be well remunerated, the era of paying five thousand naira as hazard allowance to Doctors should be jettisoned. The Japa syndrome that is worrisome to all is majorly experienced in the healthcare sector because of government nonchalant attitude towards this sector. Also, this government must have the courage to place a ban on medical tourism for government officials, so that due attention will be given to Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
The necessity of power in any economy cannot be overemphasized. The Asiwaju led government must seek concrete ways of making power available, affordable and consistent in Nigeria. Power is the success behind every economic growth and prosperity of any nation. It is a shame that Nigeria cannot boast of steady power supply at this age and time. Bola Ahmed Tinubu berated the Peoples’ Democratic Party for not been able to solve the issue of power for over sixteen years in power during one of his campaign speeches. Thus he said ‘’the PDP ‘’couldn’t make a down payment for a roasted corn,’’ in way to say, as little as electricity, PDP couldn’t solve it, in spite of the huge amount of money they claimed to have pushed into it. We look forward to ‘Uncle’ Bola Ahmed making a ‘’down payment for a roasted corn’’. He must seek to increase the output of the megawatts produced by the hydro and gas- fired power plants by providing enabling environment for all stake-holders in this regard.
The crises of fuel scarcity and exorbitant price have plunged most Nigerians into frenzy. To make matters worse, this came on the heels of Naira scarcity. The average Nigerian today lives from hand to mouth. These policies that remind Nigerians of the vestiges of the Buhari’s administration must be obliterated within a twinkle of an eye in order for this government to be accepted. This government must be able to solve the fuel issues ranging from its subsidy to the now ununiformed pump prices across the nation. The common man must be given preferential option in all decisions to be made in these regard. Appropriate forex laws and policies should be made and enacted to make Naira compete with the dollar healthily. To do this, this government must revive our moribund refineries, our steel companies in Ajaokuta and Warri respectively. This government should not entertain any form of consumerism but be seen to take concrete steps in improving its production capacity that would ginger export.
Nigerians want Nigeria to work for all. Nigerians want to be employed and be paid good enough salary and allowances, they want to live in good homes, go to good schools where they will be taught to compete globally. Nigerians want to access good transport system as their counterparts in Europe and America; they want to live in homes lit by uninterrupted power supply; Nigerians want to eat good food, drink portable water, have access to good healthcare facilities, they want to travel and be safe. Nigerians are yearning for security in all sphere of their lives. This is the function of government! Tinubu’s government must do just these for Nigerians and nothing more!
Father Timothy Etsenamhe, is the Deputy Director of Social Communications, Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria