In an unexpected statement, the Presidency this week revealed a plot by some people to convene an illegal national conference.Yes, a national conference, where, the Presidency alleged, the would-be conveners would pass vote of no confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari.
to the Presidency, the reason for resorting to such desperate manoeuvre by the yet-to-be-identified disgruntled elements is to overthrow the government currently headed by Buhari.The Presidency’s position is contained in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Mr Femi Adesina.In the statement, the Presidency accused some religious leaders and past political leaders, without disclosing their identities, of planning to wreak havoc on the corporate existence of the country.The statement said some disgruntled Nigerians working with foreign elements were trying to achieve what they could not during the last election.
The statement reads in part: “The Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country. Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians around the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil. The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.
“These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country.”The Presidency said that the present administration is vested with the mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, and it pledged to keep the country together, “even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.”But why should any Nigerian seek to destabilise Nigeria? Why do some Nigerians feel disgruntled?Indeed, some Nigerians are sad and unhappy, not necessarily with Buhari, a man of integrity and someone who keeps his promises, but with the way and manner majority of government officials run the affairs of the different sectors of the country’s economy. In fact, in Nigeria today, majority of the people would say they are not happy with the level of insecurity, manifested in the forms of banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery, economic downturn, typified by mass youth unemployment, naira devaluation and loss of jobs, and political exclusion.Therefore, many Nigerians are disgruntled, because they have the right to be, but most are not disgruntled enough to think of and or act to bring down the Buhari-led administration.Nigeria is endowed with enormous natural and human resources sufficient to place it among the first 20 developed countries of the world. It is Africa’s largest producer of oil and the sixth-largest oil-producing country in the world. With a population of reportedly over 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy.Coupled with the possession of over 100 tertiary institutions producing more than 200,000 graduates per annum, the country possesses abundant human capital critical for national development.
Yet, despite its huge resource endowment, the majority of its population wallow in abject poverty while unemployment and insecurity are growing. The country’s economic fortune has been dwindling due to corruption and a fall in the global price of crude oil. The result is that the country has been caught in between affluence and affliction. Undoubtedly, bad leadership is a major factor why Nigeria has been reduced to a giant with clay feet. Agreed, the challenges facing Buhari are as huge and diverse as the country itself. There is no doubt that Buhari is aware of these and many other challenges that have hindered economic prosperity, sustainable security and overall national development in Nigeria.He highlighted some of these challenges times without number. However, a few of the very critical security, economic and political challenges that the current administration needs to give urgent attention to are not being attended to as they should be, making some Nigerians feel sad and unhappy.
Perhaps, it is against this background that some people call for a focused political leadership to rescue Nigeria from the depth of chronic insecurity and economic misfortune. Of course, there are several challenges that stand in the way of progress in Nigeria. However, many believe that Buhari’s administration must begin with tackling pervasive corruption and the huge cost of living and governance.Corruption, undoubtedly, is at the root of many of Nigeria’s problems. It has permeated through public and private life in Nigeria, with degenerative effect on the national value, institutions of governance and the rule of law. For instance, out of the $60 billion being illegally siphoned out of Africa annually, Nigeria accounts for over 68% of the figure.
Consequently, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index over the years.The high cost of governance is caused by the running of bogus Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that perform overlapping functions, wasteful spending by government officials and jumbo pay for some elected officials.The Economist once reported that Nigerian lawmakers received the highest basic salary of about US$189,500, amounting to 166 times the GDP per capita, while British lawmakers receive basic salaries amounting to about 2.7 times the country’s GDP per capita.With dwindling economic fortune, the Buhari-led administration needs to take drastic measures to cut down the huge cost of governance in order to conserve resources to pursue development programmes that could lift millions of people out of poverty.The failure of the political leadership to harness Nigeria’s huge potential has created very serious security, economic and political challenges that have prevented the country from becoming strong, stable and prosperous.The desire for genuine transformation of Nigeria partly accounted for the thumping victory of Buhari polls. For Buhari to make a success of his avowed intentions to bring the change that Nigeria needs, he must put in place the right policies, programmes and personnel.Henceforth, the president’s effort should aim at strengthening security and galvanise all segments of the Nigerian society and regional bodies and the international community to deal with the Boko Haram threat.The government needs to better equip the military, police and security agencies through a transparent and centralised procurement process to enhance their capacity to deal with the security challenges. Ultimately, the government needs to diversify the economy. Economic diversification holds the key to the emergence of a robust economy that is capable of creating jobs and reducing poverty and unemployment. The administration needs to diversify the Nigerian economy, leveraging sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality, tourism and ICT to boost productive activities and revenue generation.The government, ideally, should liberalise the entire downstream sector of the petroleum industry and intensify efforts to encourage private sector participation in the refining of petroleum products in Nigeria.Also, the government’s effort to encourage the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region will contribute to job creation, harnessing the indigenous capacity of petroleum refining and reduce the spate of pipeline vandalism.No doubt, Nigeria’s near-total reliance on gas for power supply is a major hindrance to economic growth. The Buhari-led administration should consider a total reform of the energy sector in Nigeria, with a view to investing in infrastructure for tapping renewable energy sources. This will enhance the diversification of energy sources like coal, wind, hydro and solar in order to boost industrial productivity for enhanced job creation and poverty reduction.
Ideally, too, the government should make deliberate efforts to strengthen and reposition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to vigorously prosecute all cases of corruption.The right calibre of persons needs to be charged with the responsibility to ensure diligent prosecution of corrupt officials, total recovery of looted funds and end the pillaging of the public treasury, a practice that gave birth to many problems in Nigeria.