BY IFENYI CHUKWU NWANNAH
The president elect, General Muhammadu Buhari popularly reffered to as the “soul train” arrived to the identification of monumental corruption, insecurity, poor agricultural imputs and total economic doldrums confronting the nation as a political entity. Gen. Buhari has assured all Nigerians that he will take progress and stability in the area of human needs. According to him, he will put the nation’s economy in its proper position to alleviate the sufferings to the people, pointing out that priority will be given to mechanized methods of farming from manual to boost agricultural activities as a means of generating revenue for the country.
This was informed by the seemingly by surreptitious maneuver of agriculture by the Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s military administration when oil was discovered and the khaki man relegated agriculture to the background. Agriculture therefore ceased to be the nation’s major source of revenue. With the sudden dwindling of agriculture, political analysts began to question the possibility of revitalizing the sector especially when all attentions were being given to oil sector as the main sources of the country’s economy.
Many agricultural scientists are now calling on the president elect to x-ray the circumstances that led to abysmal wrecking of the sector which they said if the sector is revamped, it will bring back the lost glory of agriculture. This can play vital roles on the development of the nation’s shattered economy. The question from analysts is can the glory of agriculture be restored judging by the manner in which the leaders fully depend on oil for the economic growth of the country which the economic affairs were handled that gave rooms for corruption in high and low places.
It is very clear that food scarcity was occasioned by insufficient agricultural development that has been the heart of poverty in the country where majority of the people live in rural areas. It is on this ground that the Buhari’s administration should develop an approach consideration the Nigeria’s economy which demands that poverty and uncertainty, the poor masses face requires diverse financial consideration. This can help households to achieve food security and to alleviate their poverty interms of stress. For these reasons, the new administration should initiate various micro-credit programs where the Federal Government can deposit substantial amount of money as guarantor for disbursement to farmers to rehabilitate the sector and themselves.
The Buhari’s administration should initiate a program to re-structure rural environments by organizing farmers associations for the CBN Micro-credit program. It should be a process that potential beneficiaries will go to the selected participating banks where trust fund account could be operated to serve as guarantor to farmers associations. Former governor Ahmad Sani Yarima of Zamfara State did it during his tenure and succeeded when he established Zamfara Agricultural Comprehensive Revolution Program (ZACAREP). With the help of that program Former Governor Ahmad Sani Yarima sold about 50 tons of assorted grains to the Federal Government in 2006.
If the micro-credit scheme is implemented it will serve as positive avenue for self reliance and is capable of reducing over dependence on government. Again, this can be the possible touch stone for sustainable industrial growth that can ensure the revamp of the economy beyond considerable height.
When Petroleum Resources were discovered, the GOWON Administration abandoned agriculture. He rejected Lord Lugard and his Federated System of Government and introduced the unitary system of government thereby brining all the three regions under one umbrella which means that the all resources would be controlled by the central government. The 50-50 percent share between the regions and the central government was abolished. The Independence and Republic Constitutions that approved resource control was thrown overboard by Col. Yakubu Gown another Constitution or decree as the case may be, made it clear that all Natural Resources becomes the Federal Government. THE Nigerian national petroleum company (NNPC) was established as its agents.
Before then, agriculture was the main source of the nation’s economy. There were cocoa, rubbers in the western Nigeria that built healthy economy for the western Nigerian government then. With the resources, accruing from these national resources, the then leader of the region, Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo constructed the premier university otherwise known as the University of Ibadan, Western Nigerian board casting service, Wema Bank and other projects of human interest. The resources were used to finance various projects in the region.
In the East, there were abundant production of Palm Oil, Palm kernel and other resources which Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the leader of the region used in constructing the University of Nsukka, Eastern Nigerian broadcasting corporation, the defunct African Continental Bank (ACB), Nkanuagu Cement Company and so on. And in the North, Sir Ahmadu Belo, Sardunanah of Sokoto Used the resources from groundnuts, hide and skin etc to build the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Bank of the North and other projects to satisfy his people. There was no corruption as the resources were directed to economic projects. There was no panic, fear or suspicion. Those who championed the Independence of Nigeria were satisfied with the affairs of the country then.
Then, in 1979, the second republic was ushered in, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was elected as the executive president of Nigeria. Political and economic pundits said, that was the period when corruption began to reign in the country. Nigerians began to lament against hunger and starvation. That was when the transport minister under Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Umaru Dikko who was one of the defectors in Former President Shehu Shagari’s government was quoted as saying that until he saw Nigerian eaten from the dustbins that he could believe that Nigerians were hungry.
The situation remained like that until the khaki boys led by the president elect Gen. Buhari, and the late dictator, Gen. Tunde Idiagbon felt that the politicians in the second republic has failed the country as moral decadence, corruption etc reigned hence the Khaki boys strucked to redeem the image of the country. Many of the alleged corrupt leaders were detained, jailed massively where most politicians died soon after their release from prisons.
Yes, truly, Nigeria has petroleum resources but they are donkeys when it comes to local distribution; we have power supply plants, but the goddess of ignorance and corruption are disturbing the distribution. We have different ethnic groups but we cannot unite them; and more so the religions cannot worship their Gods unless they sacrifice one another.
Nigeria has spent billions of naira from the day former president Obasanjo came to power, the salaries to officers holding various political positions to check mate the increasing problems of the country; fuel scarcity is increasing, power is never constant. Therefore how can the country compensate the billions it pays in terms of salaries to politicians if they cannot address its problems. If it is a business, Nigeria is operating on lost.
There are a number of salient and sensitive issues that need to be urgently tacked. There must be a general battle to fight monumental corruption.
For Nigerians, the objectives involve cognitive, effective and psycho-motive ideas need to be adopted. It is therefore very pertinent to sensitize the general public on the basic ideas about the collective battle against corruption and insecurity, the idea of developing economic and educational program for Nigerians.
During Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure he established the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), it activities were tied to exposing corruption and corrupt officers especially the people on the corridors of power. One thing is clear that the politicians do not take any strong step towards policies and programs on sustainable management of the nation’s economy. It has been suggested that the inclusion of the concept into our tertiary institutions syllabus and the media organizations that can join the campaign to enlighten the public.
Today, the term in financial recklessness and misappropriation of public funds by greedy politicians whom opportunity brought into the corridors of power are no longer news to Nigerians. The objectives and aims of the Economics and Financial Crime Commission are yet to be realized because of the manipulations of EFCC by the powers that be. Many people have different opinions on whether the commission truly stands against corruption.
The duty of the commission to deal with corrupt public officers as integrated process with the power invested on it was neglected. It seems as if there are factors influencing corrupt practices have failed the economic growth of the nation, causing the decay of public service to create discord and woes rather than promoting the citizens, the awareness and understanding of economic development. The responsible action necessary to assure corrupt free society while improving the nation’s economy.
Gen. Buhari is therefore expected to have a clear experience about corruption and translate those experiences into actions that can offer possible solution to the problems. In addition, every sensible Nigerian ought to understand that corruption has become a property on the Nigeria’s political agenda especially during the 16 years misrule of the people democratic party. It is expected that the objectives of Gen. Buhari should include awareness, knowledge, good attitude, skill participation should be in conformity with the above that Nigerians are dedicated to pursue adequate awareness and knowledge on the concept of corruption.
Our political situation is nothing to write home about; it becomes so bastardized and as such is characterized by corruption and wanton oppression and intact fascism which bred a culture of indiscriminating bombing, kidnapping, armed robbery and assassination. Inspite of the nature’s endowed fortune, Nigeria has remained one of the least developed countries in the world. With this economic misappropriations and financial recklessness there is little or no hope, a bleak and gloomy future for the youth as both social and economic situation become unfriendly for the average Nigerian.
The possibility of securing jobs is almost not in existence, those with jobs are poorly and hardly paid and absolutely on care as their rights were not guaranteed such as water supply, heath care services are simply a nightmare for everyone who by and large depend on them. These service simply degenerated into such a low level compared to other countries like Ghana we were erstwhile better than. In all these, any sensible Nigerian cannot doubt to be justified to summaries that Nigeria was almost doomed except…
In fact, a prominent and perhaps one of the most respected Nigerian around lamented the waste of this generation. However, it would appear as if Nigeria is done for, then the almighty himself intervened by removing the main obstacle to the progress of Nigeria. Nigerian are now poised to make the country once again a milk and honey flow. The scenarios are the challenges for a great Nigeria before Gen. Muhammadu Buhari who is expected to fight unrelentingly to pursue the development of the country such that corruption and insecurity should be a thing of the past.
Another expectation is an enduring system and the need for a transparent leadership which could be allowed to monitoring, to ensure that accountability is given a chance in the leadership. If the leadership is to live up to expectation, the followers on their own part are expected to keep the bargain simultaneously. Nigerians are therefore challenged into gritting their teeth and gridding their loins to protect and fight for our hard earned democracy. The youth who are termed the leaders of tomorrow are challenged to properly and thoroughly acquire the intellectual and leadership skills, where wither to lead Nigeria well when the time comes.
It is also expected that the incoming government will make commerce to flourish so that business persons may be challenged to improve on the environmental and numerous opportunities that abound to creatively; use the resources to provide the much needed products and service practices like the hiking of fuel prices and holding of crude oil products which brings about fuel scarcity should be check mated.
All religions and ethnic clashes should be controlled because an enhanced and peaceful community encourages development bearing in mind that our agreement that Nigeria must return to its glorious position of the past.
Whatever the case may be, Nigerian leaders and followers must be responsive and responsible through the idea of unity in diversity which must be encouraged and sustained always. The challenges for a great Nigeria have gone beyond primordial sentiments that more often tarnish the progress and prosperity of any society like Nigeria with its large population of over 160 million and the various languages, traditions and culture there in.
It is believed that the common masses who are the awesome machines that propelled Gen. Buhari to victory are poised to give him all necessary support to this end. They are ready to play significant role in this direction. Many people who commended Buhari’s victory believe that there is a lot of hopes. They said that the present political and economic crises in Nigeria need a messiah like Gen. Buhari. The Daura Born General as it was gathered has the apple support of many advanced democracies in the world.