Fellow Nigerians, today’s discourse will dwell on the Nigeria of our dreams. Let us visualise what we have been missing and where our journey to nationhood will take us. Imagine the possibilities, the new scenarios, wealth, glamour, pride, self-fulfillment and probabilities that will come with a new Nigeria. A new Nigeria led by our first 11 of knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated men and women who are committed to the common good, with the nobility of vision and mission to move Nigeria from the Fourth World to the First World. This will be a Nigeria flowing with milk and honey, the pride of Africa, and a nation that uplifts the Black Race.
It will start with well-organised political parties where there are no moneybags and godfathers who anoint candidates without the input of the majority. Real and proper primaries will precede the emergence of candidates and the politics will be without bitterness. The electoral commission will do its job thoroughly and the results will be acceptable to all or at least the majority. There will be no post-election violence. Government at all levels will settle down to governance as soon as the elections are over. A national development framework will unleash a new spirit, a new energy and commitment to the common good. Government ministers will be few and will be the best in class while the perks of office will be reasonable and not the excess of today. The power sector reforms would have ensured 24-hour uninterrupted power supply while public and private infrastructure investments would have improved the quality and availability of transport networks including rail, road, water and air.
First, we will revive our agriculture, feed the nation and have surplus for export and for food aid. We will produce enough of rice, wheat, cassava, corn, cocoa, groundnut, palm produce, rubber, millet, sorghum, etc. The lands in the northern part of the country, with the support of dams and irrigation will deliver abundant meat and dairy produce etc. Cattle ranches will be the norm and the Fulani herdsman will be settled; they will no longer be nomadic. We will not export the surplus in its raw form but add value to them before export thereby earning increased foreign exchange. Factories processing agricultural produce into finished products will abound and many young men and women will gain new jobs.
Nigeria’s manufacturing sector will grow in leaps and bounds. We will be building cars, buses and other automobiles sufficient for our needs and export to some African countries at the starting point. The vehicles will be in use at all levels of government starting from the Presidency that will change all imported vehicles in its convoy to the locally made ones. The country will become a hub for the design and value added of various vehicle components while the tyre companies will be back. The food and beverage component of manufacturing will grow to new heights turning our agricultural raw materials into new foods and wines. The electronics and electrical component will begin to produce household items including televisions, fridges, washing machines, cookers, etc. There will be a link between the universities and research centres to industry and students will be taking practical attachments and refresher courses in industries. Nigeria will stop the export of crude petroleum products and instead build large refineries and petrochemical complexes. We will produce enough for the local market and for export. Over N1.5tn ploughed annually to fuel subsidy will be saved and invested in capital expenditure. The large tank farms will be storing products for export instead of being stores for imported products.
The future will be sure that the Nigerian governments will no longer be in a haste to establish new tertiary educational institutions; they will rather concentrate on improving the quality of existing ones through increased investments that will improve learning outcomes. To increase intakes, the carrying capacity of existing institutions will be improved. Individuals and corporations will be motivated to build endowments for academic institutions running into billions of naira. Our universities will be in the league of the best in the world and start attracting students and scholars from around the world. Learning outcomes at the primary and secondary levels will improve. Indigent students will have access to loans repayable after graduation through income from assured jobs. Nigeria will build, manage and maintain health institutions delivering cutting-edge services in virtually all spheres of medicine. Public and private investments in health will increase through a compulsory health insurance scheme for all taxable adults and a special fund dedicated to health funded by very small deductions from GSM tariffs. We will reverse the brain drain in the sector to brain gain and will become the centre point of medical tourism.
By this time, our culture industry, especially in film and music, will not just be dominating the African space but will become a very strong contender globally employing millions of Nigerians. It will be operating within the context of strong and enforced intellectual property laws, reduced piracy and a strong domestic and international distribution network. We will excel in different sport engagements, from football to swimming; our countrymen from the high altitudes of Jos and Adamawa will start competing with the Kenyans and the Ethiopians who are the best in the long distance race class.
With so much accountability, service delivery and honour in governance, the citizens will be voluntarily and honestly declaring and paying their tax. Our court system will be up delivering justice on a timely and principled basis, thereby reducing impunity in the system. Judges will no longer be appointed by a cabal as presently done but through a process that permits popular participation especially of professional brethren of good repute and competency. Everyone seriously accused of malfeasance in the public life will honourably resign to clear his name; as such, aspirants to public office who have prima facie cases of corruption and other crimes hanging on their neck will drop their ambition until they clear their name.
The dream can go on and on. But a new Nigeria is possible where the foregoing will not only be possible but probable. The realisation of this dream can start in 2015 only if we the voters are objective, reasonable and give our votes to men and women of conscience; stop demanding money and other resources before voting and refuse to accept even if we are gratuitously offered. This will be possible of we can mobilise for change, not a change to a party run by men and women who have amassed so much wealth from public office but have no clear and visible legal means of livelihood supporting the incredible wealth. It will be possible if we demand accountability from those put in positions of authority; and the legal profession stops the “stomach infrastructure” approach to justice, putting away technicalities and doing justice to all manner of men without discrimination. Nigerians, the ball is on our court, we can dream dreams, take steps towards them, work hard enough that the dreams will have no alternative but to materialise in our lifetime.
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