What we must get right | TrendyNewsReporters
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What we must get right

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In a few weeks’ time, electoral campaigns will start with Nigerians especially the youths becoming the mouthpiece of either of the BATified, ATIKUlated, OBIdient and KWANKashi groups.

It is therefore important that we, as the electorate, must task our aspiring leaders on some critical national issues facing Nigeria and Nigerians. We must set the agenda for our expectations and deliverables which should be a guide to our voting choice. Having tried to identify and analyse below some of those issues which candidates campaigning should give critical considerations and also provide concrete statements and approach and resolutions to those pertinent issues for Nigerians to be able to consider him/she worthy of being voted for. A few of the germane issues are highlighted in this discourse.

The economy is be-leagued with a lot of pertinent that must be addressed urgently. In the last seven years, the economy has been struggling to awake from its comatose state into a prosperity reality. The declining rate of productivity has greatly fuelled unemployment and youth restiveness which was partly responsible for the #EndSARS protest of the year 2020 and the wave of violence and robberies post-#EndSARS which has not abated.

The electorate should be bold enough to ask prospective candidates of their intended plans in tackling diversification of the country’s revenue base; policies on solid mineral development to revenue potentials; agricultural development policies for raw materials, employment and foreign exchange earnings; unemployment; extremely high public debts; inflation; foreign exchange policy; interest rate policy; petroleum subsidy removal.

Reviving the economy is critical at this stage of our national life as there is an urgent need to steer back Nigeria’s economy to prosperity. Any candidate who is unable to define the problem and provide a workable solution clearly has no understanding of the task ahead and is therefore unfit to occupy the exalted position in Aso rock.

Secondly, banditry, kidnapping, ethnic militia and armed men have taken over the nation. It is practically impossible now to move around Nigeria without the fear of being attacked or kidnapped. The Nigerian security architecture obviously has failed Nigerians and there is a need for a fresh injection of ideas.

Doing things the same way over and over again cannot deliver value in solving our security challenges. A more pragmatic approach without draconian laws punishing ransom payers should be adopted.

The ideal president in 2023 should be able to tell us how he will use investment in technology in providing security solutions deploying both preventive and reactive mechanisms of crime solving.

He should also not be seen shying away from adopting effective policing through the creation of state and community-based policing and alternative sources of funding security.

Third, human capital development is critical to Nigeria’s revival. Vibrant human capital can only be achieved with investment in education, healthcare and social security. Education is the backbone of any great economy; a high level of educated citizenry will guarantee a quality and productive population. With an estimated population of above 200 million Nigerians and over 60% of them not having access to quality healthcare, education and social security it is unlikely that Nigeria is ready to emerge as a strong force in the league of emerging economic powers.

What Nigerians desire now are strong and enforceable policies on education for all, quality and affordable healthcare as well as social security capable of cancelling the imbalances in economic status of Nigerians. This can be achieved by investing more in continuous training for civil servants, teachers and other professionals within the public sphere; increase infrastructural development and re-equipping the educational and health sector; mandatory but subsidised health insurance for all; encouragement of local production of medical supplies and equipment; incentivising teachers, lecturers, civil servants; provision of unemployment benefits, post-NYSC entrepreneurial grants, academic performance based scholarships in Nigerian universities; increased focus on STEM education with 100% scholarship for science based learning; national competition for junior scientist and inventors.

Fourth, without the necessary infrastructural development, Nigeria is far from becoming a regional power and will be unable to execute its industrialisation plans. Power, roads and modern rail system are critical assets which are currently lacking and have the potential to encourage manufacturing which will stimulate increased productivity, employment and export.

The ideal candidate should be able to outline strategies for either increasing power generation or introducing alternative power sources with competent hands manning the power assets. Policy on decentralisation of power generation and distribution should be a major performance focus, with Public Private Partnership being encouraged in participation in rail and road development and maintenance.

Without a doubt, the next president should be able to convince Nigerians of his ability to be transparent and accountable to the people without being seen as ethnic or religiously biased in his approach to national issues.

Given the current level of mistrust in our nation, it is important candidates must have programmes for mass orientation of Nigerians aimed at breaking the disconnect between the governed and the political leaders and instilling confidence of the possibility of a stronger united Nigeria.

With the right leadership Nigeria can easily come out of the woods and take up its place as the “Big Brother” of Africa, however, it requires the election of the right leader who will lay the foundation for the turnaround and rebirth of a new Nigeria.

By September once the campaign ban is lifted, Nigerians should have drawn their measurement parameters and should not be carried away with the catchy phrase and mantras which over the years have turned out to be sweet words and phrases with economic backwardness as end results. There is no rocket science to governance just critical thinking, trust and commitment.

  • Odewale is a Chartered Accountant residing in Lagos; 08060787730
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