Corruption in Nigeria is no surprise. As of 2017, Nigeria ranked 148 out of 180 in the Corruption Perception Index. Nigeria’s consistent performance however is a sad news. We have been known to consistently invent new ways to cleverly take from others what doesn’t belong to us. On a recent trip back from Ghana, I was stopped at the border by Nigeria’s immigration officials because I looked everything like a fraudster. After a few minutes of interrogation and with nothing of note to charge me with, they asked to see my laptop. On finding Wind-scribe installed, they asked that I ‘settle them’ before I could be allowed into Nigeria. I had no money on me and was not going to withdraw the few thousands that would take me back to school. I had my mind already made up that if push comes to shove, I would eventually call home to get everything sorted out. Luckily for me, they lost interest in me when they found a fellow traveler who confessed to being a fraudster and was willing to pay them if they agree not to search his bag.
Constituted authority has always been blamed for all that is wrong with Nigeria. Bad leadership, terrible governance and the people’s lack of will to fight for their liberty all closely follow behind. Few weeks ago, my team found out that some of the efforts put into raising money for a concert in school was jeopardized by a fellow student in a position of power. The student, who never actively took part in the fundraising phase of events, did us the huge favour of sabotaging our efforts. With the notion that nothing else could top this terrible update, a few days to the gubernatorial election, the majority leader of the House of Assembly in Osun state was caught having a ritual bath in public. The police via its very effective PR team, sold Nigerians on the notion that the majority leader was being blackmailed and would never resort to fetishism for the sake of politics.
Events leading up to the election clearly made for a very tense atmosphere. From policemen shooting sporadically to scare civilians and would-be hooligans, to the governorship candidate of the opposition party making an obvious absence from the gubernatorial debate and my flat-mate offering to buy my vote for $27.78 are a few indicators of how fiercely contested this particular election was going to be.
A few hours after the casting of votes, violence erupted with unemployed and underemployed youths wielding dangerous weapons and exchanging gunshots with armed policemen. These are youths that have been neglected for the better part of 8 years and yet, for a paltry sum, are willing to serve the purpose of the selfish lot.
The state of recent has had to bear the moniker of being ‘blessed’ with the worst performing governor since 1999. The architect of their recent fortune is the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, whose comical act of blaming past President Goodluck Jonathan for the failure of his own government is an episode that the people of Osun are happy to quickly forget. His time in office has been nothing short of disappointing.
Four years into his second term, the present administration has not fared any better, hence the need for the people of Osun to vote right. For the past 8 years, the state has been plagued with bad leadership and terrible execution of exemplary governance. The people of Osun and Nigeria at large deserves leadership that is devoid of selfishness, and bereft of incompetence and failures.
The incumbent administration’s continued claim of ‘paucity of funds’ as the mitigating factor for its numerous failures, and the opposition party flag-bearer incessant dancing spree offers little to no hope for the people of Osun state. The people of Osun are being made to choose among the lesser of many evils.
None of the leading candidates have a concrete plan to make the state of Osun, a civil service and federal government allocation-dependent state, to a state that is self-sufficient and not solely dependent on federal allocations. Osun state’s arable lands that ought to experience improved mechanized farming that will provide jobs, generate revenues and plenty of foods for all and sundry are in a state of neglect and underutilization.
Below are a few strategies I believe will re-position the state of Osun as a powerhouse in Nigeria.
The youths of Osun state who till date have been neglected should be at the center of all innovative projects. Projects that will be bankrolled by foreign investors and will re-position Osun state as an educational and technological powerhouse in Nigeria should be prioritized.
Proper planning and implementation
The best in their respective fields who has shown integrity and also share in the state of Osun’s vision should been identified and recruited. They will hit the ground running on assumption of office. Leaders that are enthusiastic about leading the transformation of their home state are what Osun needs.
Realistically achievable objectives should be set as well as vetted by top economists across the nation to ensure that the next four years is the most memorable in the history of Osun State.
For the past 7 years, billions of naira have gone into statutory monthly allocation with no visible evidence of development in the local government. Total transparency should be practiced and enforced in government from the state to the local level. Outlined developmental plans with set timelines should be made available to the general public and channels of feedback should be opened to aid the government in the execution of its duties.
Paid Salaries and Reduced Debts
It is no longer news that Osun state was dubbed the worst performing state due to the backlog of salaries owed its civil servants. Despite the harsh reality staring the government in the face, its leadership is notorious for embarking on elephant projects that has dragged the state into more and more debts.
The state has promised to repay by 2019 N30 billion in conventional loan and N11.9 billion Susuki loan by 2020 without a specified plan on how it will generate funds specifically for it. A gesture that will put succeeding administration in debts.
Provision of enabling environment for investments should be implemented on a very large scale to erase the pending debts and raise much-needed funds for the state.
I believe if properly prioritised, the following strategies can be replicated in most parts of Nigeria which in the long run will benefit the nation. But I have to be very honest at this point, Nigeria has never been known to take to progressive ideas which could mean that my effort at contributing to the progress of my current state of residence will most likely fall on deaf ears.