An Open Letter to President Bola Tinubu on State of the Nation

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I have taken it upon myself as an obligation to help to keep your office abreast with the feelings and thoughts of the people in some quarters on sundry matters in this country.

Against the backdrop of the fact that Your Excellency is prepared to make some big and important economic decisions is one thing that became abundantly obvious in the first few days into your administration.

I am not unaware of the enormous demand of your office but as a concerned citizen, I feel like sharing the following information that can help you succeed in this new assignment of piloting the affairs of
this country. Sir, it is popularly acclaimed and believed that you are in the forefront of the progressives and this is why much is expected of you. To address certain issues that are conjoined if they are not tackled headlong together successfully the efforts of government will not only be fruitless and useless, it will equally amount to an exercise in futility.

Sir, your timely intervention is hereby solicited to save the lives of citizens of the States who are people of impeccable characters performing their legitimate duties with utmost sincerity of purpose who can similarly be discouraged by the effect of the States government policies.

Sir, while on the other hand innocent people are made to suffer for actions or problem they do not create or cause, we make bold to suggest the following steps of action if the government want to successfully carry out some radical transformation.

INSECURITY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTONOMY

If the diversion of Local Government funds is not adequately addressed and stopped, all the efforts currently put in place are just like an act of window addressing that may not yield the expected results. Some of the States Government policies are generally anti people and against the development of the local government. The channel of communication at the local government level has been adversely destroyed because of the failed system at the third-tier level.

Your Excellency, we wish that the Local Government administration is put on the right pedestal to enable the various councils effectively carry out their primary responsibilities as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Your Excellency sir, let us now examine the various channels of communication in the rural communities, one is the traditional setting, through the traditional heads, secondly, through the primary school teachers and thirdly, the personnel in the community health establishments in those communities. These channels of communication are linked up to the various heads of department onwards to the Council Chairman who will thereafter take the necessary actions to nip in the bud the perceived problems that are reported.

But unfortunately the local governments have no staff in their primary schools and Primary Health Care facilities in most of the communities today, these health facilities cannot even be called mere consulting centers because the personnel are not there, equally we cannot be talking of the provision of drugs when there are no workers in those clinics.

Your Excellency, finally on Local Government, the few scattered staff left in the Councils are not adequately paid their salaries as at when due, some are paid on percentage basis, allowances and other entitlements are not accessible by them. My submission a well funded third-tier level of government will help reduce the insecurity in our rural communities.

NNPC/ SUBSIDY REMOVAL

Your Excellency let me give a brief account of petrol subsidy and what exactly is Nigeria’s fuel subsidy?
Information gathered says about 70 million litres of fuel are consumed daily by Nigeria’s estimated 200 million people.

Nigeria’s oil is refined in Europe and imported back to Nigeria, a process that contributes to its high costs. Those costs are shouldered mostly by the Nigerian government as subsidies to reduce the costs of fuel paid by the consumers.

This retail cost determines the costs of almost every goods and services in Nigeria. The Nigerian government introduced an oil subsidy to cushion the effect of rising global oil prices in the 1970s. The Olusegun Obasanjo military regime formalised the subsidy in 1977 when it promulgated the Price Control Act which regulated prices of items including fuel.

Subsequent administrations attempted to remove the subsidy but failed to do so because they lacked the political will to do so, it is widely popular among citizens, many of whom consider it their major – or only – benefit from the federal government. It gradually became a heavy burden on the government as the cost of maintaining the subsidy increased over the years.

Your Excellency you took up the petrol subsidy issue that was hanging over Nigeria’s head from Eagle Square. You deviated from the old order and broke the jinx and announced the removal of “petrol subsidy”. On the other hand petrol subsidy is generally believed to be a scam.

Your Excellency sir, previous administrations were reluctant to jettison the subsidies policy putting up lukewarm attitude towards the petrol subsidy regime complaining that one can’t remove subsidy without offering to reduce the waste in government. You can’t be living large while the citizens bear the higher cost of living. You are the leader. You show example and you have earned the trust of the people.

On other hand the public do expect your Excellency to authorize NNPC to publish the names and companies benefitting from the payment of petrol subsidy. The NNPC is said to be the most opaque oil company in the world and we need to beam the searchlight on NNPC, it is unfortunate that the finance Ministers cannot tell us the numbers of barrels that Nigeria is selling a day , further the information gathered revealed and shows that the NNPC has not been audited in the last fifteen years, so we urged you to fix the leakages in the system, sir.

Your Excellency sir, we wish that the national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), be invited to confirm the payment and receipt of petrol subsidy. Equally sir, your administration should further probe the cabals behind the petrol subsidy regime in Nigeria.

BOKO HARAM/KIDNAPPING/BANDITRY

Your Excellency sir, discussing the issues of Boko Haram, kidnapping and banditry, I am suggesting that if the Government really wants to address this matter seriously, the most considered approach is by organizing a wide consultation with the northern elites and monarchs on charting the way forward about the entire hideous crimes. This approach the Government must be down to earth about its decision to for once, address this matter with the commitment that it requires declaring war against the entire group.

The nation has in the past been thrown into mourning moods because of the activities of Boko Haram and the insecurity everywhere, banditry, kidnapping here and there, these have since become the order of the day, what are we inflicting on ourselves, we are perpetually living in a bondage as a nation.
The Boko Haram terrorists can never repent and so there is no wisdom in what the government is doing by giving them amnesty, while the innocent Nigerians are living in Internally Displaced Camps, the terrorists are housed somewhere and claimed to be trained and later released and presumed to have repented but indirectly, it is another way to encourage them to regroup to launch deadlier attacks on Nigerians.

Your Excellency, we are calling on government to be proactive and be decisive on the group. Even while we are convinced that nemesis will catch up with everyone who is encouraging crises in the country and God will reward those who have good intention to humanity.

NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM

Your Excellency sir, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is a forum that would have assisted the governors in their performance, but today they have turned themselves into a cartel working at cross purposes against the masses of this country.

Let me briefly remind you sir, bearing in mind that you are one of the founding pioneer of the Forum in 1999.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) was said to be a non-partisan association that brings together the elected governors of the country’s 36 states to promote unity, good governance, better understanding and cooperation among the states, as well as a healthy and beneficial relationship between the states and other tiers of government.

It was established in 1999 following a multi-party conference of all the 36 democratically elected State Governors.

The long-term goal of the NGF was said to be to contribute to development by implementing pro-poor policies, programmes and projects that will bring about genuine development in the states. The NGF was equally positioned to achieve this goal by delivering:

Well-informed policy inputs that lead to greater understanding, coherence and improvements in governance at all levels. Enhanced inter-governmental relations and greater collaboration between the arms of government quick, effective and amicable resolution of disputes by Improved policy implementation at all levels, supported by high-quality research documents and institutionalisation of evidence-based policymaking. It also helps governors manage their states more effectively.

One of the key objectives of the Forum was to be inclusive development that leads to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and to poverty reduction.

The vision of the NGF was said to be amongst steers, “A strong non-partisan institution which actively and effectively promotes inclusiveness, democratic values, good governance and sustainable development.”

While their mission was as stated below, “To provide a platform for collaboration amongst the
Executive Governors on matters of public policy; to promote good governance, sharing of good practice and to enhance cooperation at state level and with other arms of government and society.”

The NGF has since lost its bearing and motives of coming together, looking at the activities of the members in their various states with few exceptions which I will not have cause to mention their names here. Some state governors do not only divert funds meant for their local government Councils, but fraudulently turn themselves to super perfectionist in the management of their states affairs running the affairs of the local government Councils less than a department in one of the ministry, imprest are giving to them like a unit under a department in the ministry.

The local government councils workers, the primary school teachers and local government retirees or pensioners have been placed on percentage salary payment for as long as you cannot imagine.

Equally, state funds are not prudently expended to justify the much money coming from the Federations account, Your Excellency, my intent is just to further draw your attention to so many atrocities at the state level some of these Governors are people who will collapse the temple after eating from it.

INSTITUTIONALIZE FEEDBACK MECHANISM IN YOUR ADMINISTRATION

Your Excellency sir, your administration should introduce a feed back mechanism to enable you obtain first hand information on your policies disseminations, roll out programmes and initiatives. At this critical stage of your administration, programmes roll out to provide surcour to the masses of this country should be adequately monitored , while advice, criticisms and appraisals are essential ingredients to evaluate policies and programmes of your government to get the adequate knowledge about how successful or useful or the resistance or opposition that follows the introduction of such policies and programmes.

However, you cannot be getting the necessary feedback without making someone angry. Those who would not comply with the directives and willfully circumvent orders.

Your Excellency Sir, for you to ascertain that your policies and programmes address the desired objectives, or reach the target beneficiaries, you must work out the performance evaluation to enable you access the impact on the targeted beneficiaries Sir.

The policy or programme performance research and evaluation is critical to measure the success of all government policies and programmes of your administration.

On the other hand sir, the image and prospect of your administration will be measured by both economic and political impacts of your administration bearing in mind that everybody in government do not have the same motives and leadership prowess like you, some are out only to benefit from the system and leave with battered images, they are not bothered neither do they think about how he or she is viewed by others.

Positive feedback on the performance of policies and programmes from the states will improve or increase the ability and desire to perform at a better level and rewards can be organized for performing states.

Finally, Your Excellency, we cannot but commend your wisdom and efforts to constitute the various committees to articulate the challenges and prospects of the Nigerian nation as an entity and your preparedness to face those challenges headlong and to tackle them frantically. We use this medium to express our sincere appreciation for all the positive decisions thus far taken by your administration.

Mr President sir, you are a man of honour, a man of character, the hero of our time and an African leader, we are proud of your personality and charisma, a leader among leaders, wishing you more success in the onerous assignment that you have committed yourself to.

To our compatriots, I urge you all to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because he means well and he his doing well, he will also balance the power equation for all of us to take pride of being Nigerians.

Your Excellency Sir, wishing you success in your effort to take Nigeria to higher heights.

Yours Sincerely,
Prince Bolarin Friday Ogungbemi
Publisher,
The Policy & Lawmakers magazine
08036797363, 08053125911


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