Buhari’s way forward and his legacy (I)
If I were PMB, I would worry about my legacy fifty or hundred years from now and not just the next election as most ordinary leaders do for PMB is no ordinary leader and that is why most Nigerians voted for him.
So what does he want Nigeria to be in the next fifty or hundred years from now? In short what is his vision for Nigeria? Does he want Nigeria to be industrialised producing most of what it consumes, solving its security problems without resorting to begging any nation to assist, solving its energy and fuel problems without resorting to importation, ensuring full employment for its citizens, turning the majority of Nigerians into middle-class that can afford decent lives, good but affordable health and education for the majority of its ordinary citizens, etc. etc.
To achieve that, what does he need to do now? These are big issues and this is the time to start tackling them. And he, more than anybody else in Nigeria today, has the golden opportunity to do so. Of course he alone cannot achieve such feat. But then he is not alone. The whole country is behind him requiring only his guidance, his incorruptible leadership.
This guidance can be reduced into his philosophy or ideology which has several pillars; discipline, integrity, transparency, accountability, leadership by example and the fear of God among others. This ideology is what he needs to sell to ordinary Nigerians so that they will stand by him through thick and thin to prevent any individual or group from hijacking his efforts. It is the backing of the masses more than anyone else that can make his ideology endure. Once this ideology permeates down the masses, they will lay down their lives to support it and ensure that the changes he brings will outlive him many years to come. `
The first step in the effort to sell his ideology to the masses is to ensure that all the people around him, the people he appoints and the people elected at various levels and arms of government he has to work with share this ideology. It is easy to know and judge if any agent of government shares this ideology by his/her actions and utterances. Unless they share this philosophy they should have no place in government. One of the simplest ways to judge is that such an agent publicly declares his/her assets preferably before or soon after assuming duty and every year for the duration of his/her tenure. This way we are sure that the agent is not in government to enrich himself/herself. In this period of change, only those that truly want to offer selfless service should be engaged in government.
The biggest cause of corruption is money politics and the quickest way to abolish it is the strict enforcement of the assets declaration policy. As it is now, most of the elected officials in all levels and arms of government got where they are through money politics. We need to weed out those who are still planning and hoping to ‘recoup their investment’ through dubious means and would do all they can to avoid having to declare their assets publicly as witnessed recently in the Customs Department.
In order to strictly enforce the assets declaration policy as outlined above, there is the urgent need to strengthen the CCB and its sister organisation, the CCT. This requires them to be fully operational at all levels right down to all Local Government wards. For now we can concentrate on extending them down to states and Local Government levels. This is a gargantuan task and may take time and money to accomplish but it will be very necessary if we are to eventually abolish money politics.
Other agencies that need to be strengthened and extended down the political and administrative units of government are EFCC, ICPC, NOA, Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMFC), The Office of AuditorGeneral, Federal Road Safety Commission, DPR, NSDC, etc. These agencies should be manned as much as possible by patriotic, incorruptible and selfless Nigerians.
One way to replace money politics is for Government to encourage the setting up of Political Action Committees (PACs) by public-spirited individuals and groups nationwide that would identify and encourage patriotic individuals to join active politics and run for political office. There may be the need for a law to be enacted by the National Assembly guiding the formation and operation of such PACs.
In the pursuit of change, it is necessary to fight the oxygen without which corruption cannot exist and that is impunity. If PMB can concentrate on fighting impunity and achieve zero impunity, the fight against corruption would have been largely won. And it is easier to fight impunity than to fight corruption itself for all that is required is to ensure that all law breakers are brought to book. Right now there are currently two cases that all change-loving Nigerians are keenly watching: Senator Saraki’s case at the CCT and the on-going investigations on and eventual prosecution in court of Ret. Colonel Sambo Dasuki’s role in the botchedup weapons’ procurement in the dying days of Jonathan administration. If PMB’s administration or government allows any of these two cases to be bungled then we should forget about change and any hope of turning Nigeria into the Giant of Africa that it should have been a long time ago.
As suggested by some social commentators one way of fighting corruption is the establishment of a Truth Commission as exemplified by a similarly named body in South Africa set up by President Nelson Mandela in the postapartheid era to deal with the criminal acts committed against the black peoples by all previous supremacist governments and its agents in that country. All those who committed racial abuses against both blacks and whites were pardoned provided they gave full disclosures on such abuses and asked for pardon. The proposed Truth Commission in Nigeria is to receive admission of theft of funds or other assets provided the culprits fully disclose the details of such thefts and return to government the stolen money or assets. In return, government will issue to such culprits full pardon and will be saved from being imprisoned. Failure to make such disclosure, anyone caught will be made to face the full legal consequences including confiscation of assets and appropriate jail terms.
Now that GMB has become PMB and his cabinet has been formed, what next? This is the subject of next paper.
Engr. S. I. Sodangi firstname.lastname@example.org