By Akinbobola Akinfe
I hereby congratulate you on your success at the 2023 Presidential Election and your emergence as the President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 1 know that the job of the President of Nigeria is enormous and while you are up to the task, I wish to remind you that the multi-tribal, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural nature of Nigeria makes the job very demanding and intriguing, against the backdrop of many people who are eager for the position.
Nigeria comprises many disparate tribal and ethnicconstituents, without ‘the glue’ of commonly-held noble values that normally cement people together as a nation. The president, unless he is careful, may be disoriented by the numerous agitations by each constituent group and individuals who are struggling to have a share of the national cake. Thus, the president requires sincere and capable people to join hands with him to lift the nation from the current position to a level that is comparable to those of developed nations, or at least, surpass those of the “developed” third world nations who were behind Nigeria many decades ago but are now far ahead of Nigeria in technological and industrial development. My humble suggestions, which are inexhaustive, are the following:
A SEVEN-YEAR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN.
There is the usual Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), a three-year expenditure framework.
However, A Seven-Year Strategic Development Plan with stages of achievement along the way, with an annual rolling and reviewable plan, should be established for the nation, to incorporate projects and plans which may be impossible to accomplish within a three-year period. The Strategic Development Plan should be evolved through’ a comprehensive analysis of our current level of development-economic, social, industrial and technological-taking cognizance of the current needs of the country, and having in mind development indices of global industrialized nations and future development plans.
For example, the sorry state of our hospitals is not encouraging. Many decades ago, people from Europe and Asian countries used to come to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, for medical care. It’s now an irony that those who can afford the bill now leave Nigeria and go to those countries for medical treatment. Surely, with the necessary will and resources, we can reverse the ugly trend.
The nations such as United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and Indonesia who were behind Nigeria in development many years ago, are now far ahead of Nigeria. UAE is now going into space exploration and India now has nuclear power. We may borrow, not follow rigidly, some aspects from other developed countries, to fashion out our own development plan.
The Seven-Year Strategic Development Plan should, as emphasis, cover the following areas of our economy: Electric Power Generation and Distribution, Technology, Security, Agriculture, Education, Health etc.
THE STRATEGIC PLAN: A versatile management tool could be deployed to analyse the current situation in the country from which to derive corresponding and relevant STRATEGlES, followed by ACTION PLANS with “SMART” GOALS, giving realizable execution and completion dates.
The Committee or Team to facilitate fashioning out the Strategic Plan may serve as Monitoring or Technical Team to ensure that action is taken and the agreed projects completed on schedule. The purpose of the Technical Team is not to control, but to always present to the President, the current level of achievement in data, charts or maps, and also to equally remind the Ministries and Departments on their current level of achievements, and the next agreed projects for implementation, with the same data, charts and maps, so that it will not be “Business As Usual “I wish to reiterate that it’s often easy to state what is desired or good to achieve, but the problem has always been HOW and the Lack of WILL, to execute planned actions and projects to completion.
POWER GENERATION AND DISTRIBUTION: Electric power is very crucial to national development. Full Rural Electrification greatly boosted the economy of United States (US) so much so that by 1950, Rural Electrification had transformed Agriculture and life in rural America into productivity and prosperity. I suggest that we take a paradigm shift towards solar energy. We are so much near the Equator that we have at least twelve-hour sunlight daily throughout the year whereas those countries with sometimes less than twelve-hour sunlight utilize the solar energy. We need the mechanism with which to harness this natural energy, and to distribute the power to achieve full and rural electrification. When successfully achieved, businesses in Nigeria, small and big, will have power to function at full capacity.
FINANCE: This is a very important arm of government that is also crucial for development. There should be a Finance Management Team that should have as one of its responsibilities the reduction in bank unreasonable charges on depositors’ accounts which make depositors-to be overcharged. The banking industry as an arm of government has as one of its responsibilities the injection of fund as loans for businesses to grow and from which to earn interest as income. But it seems banks have settled for numerous untoward charges from millions of depositors’ accounts which are sufficient to produce huge end-of-year revenues in billions, in our banking system. The banking sector should be restructured with appropriate guidelines to be monitored and offenders given appropriate sanctions.
SECURITY OF LIFE AND PROPERTY: Security is next after food in the hierarchy of importance to economic and social life. Surveillance of our cities, farms and forests should be enforced to ensure security of life and property from armed robbers, kidnappers, hit-and-run drivers, all of who have made our environment a nightmare to families, travelers and farmers. Most importantly, surveillance of our oil and solid mineral mining installations to enable us earn maximum revenue from our exports should be enforced. The installation of CCTV in our cities should be established. The CCTV and central monitoring station in Nairobi, Kenya, is a good reference.
FOREIGN POLICY: Our foreign policy should focus more on African nations and developing countries and less on developed countries who are parasitic on Africa. To be honest with ourselves, developed countries do not respect us, Africans. They want us only for the purpose of extorting our resources for their own welfare.
MANAGEMENT TEAMS: We should have many Management Teams: Economic Management Team, Strategic Technical Team, Security Management Team, Power Management Team, Health Management Team etc, with Occasional Retreats.
Building Enduring and Lasting Institutional Frameworks: Lastly, building Institutional Frameworks that can withstand tribal and political instability, though difficult in the midst of numerous disparate ethnic groups, will be a good legacy for the present and future Nigeria.
CONCLUSION: The above humble suggestions are based on the areas 1 have concerned myself with and so, are in exhaustive, but should assist in enhancing the nation’s progress.
May your tenure as President be divinely guided and may it experience excellent development, peace and prosperity and renewed hope for Nigerians so that those still thinking of leaving the country for work overseas can have confidence staying in their country which is blessed with abundance, that is not available in those foreign countries.
Akinbobola Akinfe writes from Araromi-Obu, Odigbo Local Government, Ondo State.