As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls in 2015, the electorate will have key aspirations and expectations in mind; top of which is security, economic prosperity and progression in all fonts of national endeavour. The fact that Nigerians seek for government’s intervention in the aforementioned issues is an understatement. The protection of the territorial integrity or the national space which ultimately guarantees the protection of life and property is a major area which Nigerians will demand improvement from government. The last five years has witnessed widespread insurgency/terrorist activities in the North particularly the North eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, undermining the political stability in those regions and also distorting economic and social activities. From the same token, it is well said that the Unity of Nigeria more than ever before, has come under intense pressure. Nigerians recognize that for the country to progress and overcome its present challenges it must be united in all fronts. The tendencies of disunity and discord must be eschewed. Let me reiterate that this is the major way by which national goals can be achieved.
The dynamics of the coming year lies not only in the electioneering process but also in the calibre, and quality of the candidates vying for various political offices. It is of utmost importance that Nigeria gets it right at the polls. This is because what is needed at this point is ‘Progressive Leadership’ founded on patriotism and inclusiveness. This can be best achieved if political parties are truly democratic in nature and practice. Nigeria does not need “power mongers” as leaders. Rather what is most important at this point in time are transformational and progressive leaders.
Going back to memory lane, the First and Second Republics in the political history of Nigeria witnessed the prominence of ethnic politics and pervasive politiking which was largely detrimental to national cohesion and development. Taking a clue from historical events, political parties in 2015 must provide issue based campaign and clear manifesto, as well as genuine indication that their proposed policies and programmes will be to further national transformation and economic development as well as provide answers to key vague issues that confront the people. Political parties must also provide clear proof of its capability to translate this programs into concrete action if given the people’s mandate. Thus, the clear point here is that we must not turn back the ticking clock of underdevelopment and pervasive politics.
The Above forms key issues that should be properly addressed:
- Government is the machinery set in place to serve the state. Security is the most paramount issue. All and sundry must come together to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria. Politicians and citizens alike most desist from fueling the embers of disunity and embrace collective desire to protect the national interest above anything else.
- In the aspect of policy making and implementation, proposed government policies should be evaluated by reasonable and serious minded non partisan groups and bodies such as think thanks, civil society and other stakeholders to make policies more people based. This will enhance the quality of the policy making process and also help in speedy implementation.
- Investment in non-oil sectors in order to boost internally generated revenue: Although Nigeria boasts of high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as rich Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), unemployment and poverty is clearly a serious consistent problem. Government’s investment in non-oil sectors will resuscitate our manufacturing sector, agricultural sector, mines, shipping, tourism etc and provide job opportunities.
- Investment and re-investment in human development constitutes a major factor in sustainable economic development. The Nigerian government in partnership with the private sector can fund Small Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Although this is a work in progress, the terms of agreement and standard of conduct should not be decreased or diminished by government and organized private sector.The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Bank of Industry and 10 Commercial banks in Nigeria to fund SMEs is a step in the right direction to boost the economy of the nation by investing in local small scale businesses.
- Accountability in government institutions, agencies, ministries and parastatals is also a very cogent issue. Moving forward the best management practices will be largely dependent on horizontal accountability within government agencies at the federal, state and local levels. This will enhance professionalism in the civil service and curb corruption and ill practices which are detrimental to progressive governance.
Finally, Development comes with sacrifice, the exhibition of servant leadership and good followership will enhance a cohesion for sustainable national development. Political and economic stability, consistency and continuity in the furtherance of national objectives will lead to sustained growth and development. I advocate for collective responsibility towards national development. Many countries of the world achieved unprecedented goals with a collaborative effort. Every Nigerian is a stakeholder, producer, consumer and beneficiary of national resources. Let us collectively make Nigeria GREAT AND PROSPEROUS.