By Dele Ogunrinde
n the first part of this article, the author assessed the performance of theMuhammaduBuhari administration on its tackling of corruption and maintenance of national security. He was also forthcoming with suggestions as to what needs to be done to win the battles on these two fronts. In this second and final instalment, he focuses on the delivery of infrastructure and the management of the economy over the past two years in the context of dwindling revenues from petroleum oil resources and frayed tribal/ethnic nerves. On the political terrain, posits that restructuring of the political landscape is a challenge that the Buhari administration cannot run away from.
Beyond recovery of illicitly acquired funds, not much can be said to have been achieved in the improvement of the economy. Some have been willing to concede that the economy had been battered to a most serious state before the advent of the administration. Whatever its approach to restoring the economy back to good health, it must put food on the table of millions of hungry Nigerians. It is a task that must be accomplished fast. If this is achieved it is going to be a plus to the government.
However, attention must be drawn to the reality that the idea of dependency on oil forever is now a mirage. We will soon realize that oil is not worth the do-or-die battle that we are wont to fight over it. It is now clear to us that our dependence on and fight over oil in the past was misplaced. We should not have been to the potential of other resources – mineral, agricultural, etc. –, which abound in each of the state, and enough quantities to sustain each state without oil. Now, with indications that, within the next 10 decades, the importance of oil as a source of energy will be significantly diminished.
Power, Housing and Road Infrastructure
These three sectors are now on the shoulders of the former Governor of Lagos State,BabatundeFashola, one of the wonderful ex- governors. Every Nigerian knows how successful he was in the development of Lagos State during his time. It was in appreciation of his laudable achievements in Lagos State that that the Federal Government assigned him the three sensitive ministries whose activities touch every Nigerian positively and effectively. However, not much seems to be happening in these sectors. Therefore, MrFashola should please wake up and rise up to the billing. Electricity should be fixed and made workable, thereby making closed industries re-open and create job opportunities. Road infrastructure should be improved. Transportation should not only be comfortable but very safe and secured. And housing should be made affordable and available to most Nigerians irrespective of their income. These are basic expectations from government. If it provides these, it would have won the heart of every Nigerian.
President Buhari is lucky to have a faithful and loyal Vice President in the person of Prof YemiOsinbajo to fulfil his campaign promises. In my opinion, Osinbajo, is the first Vice President of Nigeria, through divine intervention, to be chosen by the president to act on his behalf. He has performed with maximum patriotism, dedication, devotion, commitment, high intelligence, patience and understanding without playing politics. He has discharged his duties without bias or undue sentimentality to stabilize the polity. With Buhari and Osinbajo working together, Nigeria is moving forward.
Restructuring the Nigerian nation
A decisive response to recent calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian nation is better late than never. Failure to restructure the country has been one of the problems of the past leaders, which has led us to where we are today. It is a welcome news that some of these past leaders of the country are now singing a new song of repentance and contrition of sort by calling for the restructuring of the country, even as there are dissenting views on the matter. Like the biblical teaching, an injunction which says: “ God wants everybody to repent from his/her sins before death so as to make heaven not minding when the repentance is made even if at the last hour before death”.
It is hoped that, from the divergent calls both by the old and new leaders, Nigerians will reach a consensus on the way forward. The government should not postpone its decisive response to the debate. Whether anyone likes it or not, restructuring Nigeria into true federalism is a task that must be done, as this is the only way that this country can be truly liberated and be highly placed and respected in the committee of nations.
At this point, I am appealing to all Nigerians both old and young to stand in support of the restructuring of the Nigerian nation and total freedom. I hereby wish to appeal to the federal government headed by Buhari to listen to the present calls and take the bull by the horn and do the needful by starting the process that will bring about the reality of restructuring the country under this present regime. The process must start now. The opportunity is now at his doorstep and I hope he, the president, will not allow it to slip off his fingers, only to be remembered as the president who had the excellent opportunity to restructure the nation but allowed it to pass him by. The coming generations will judge him harshly for that if he fails to do so. Should the present government be in doubt as to where and what side most Nigerians are on this present call for restructuring the country, it should please call for a general referendum for all Nigerians.
We can now sit and workout how restructuring and true federalism can be effected and oil is no more a factor so, therefore, each state will have to grow and develop to produce a more worthy and United States of Nigeria to compete with the committee of nations. Therefore, restructuring of Nigeria in order to produce true federalism and a united Nigeria is a task that must be done. Long live Nigeria Concluded.
– Ogunrinde, an educationist, is based in Lagos. He can be reached on 08039581055.