We hear ‘’sturdy man’’, and the visage of a rotund, bumbling African dictator in Khaki and jackboots involves thoughts. However allow me to acceptable the phrase and re-contextualise it for the aim of this column. In my context, a ‘’sturdy man’’ embodies self-discipline, audacity, braveness, and character. Nigeria wants a ‘’sturdy man’’ as president in 2023 – one who will not be afraid to be unpopular by taking important reformist choices and actions.
The occasions are perilous. Nigeria wants a sanitiser, a vacuumer; one who will not be afraid to dare the undared.
Some folks say: “We need strong institutions not strong men”. I agree. In Nigeria’s case, we’d like sturdy males to construct sturdy establishments. Any dauntless chief prepared to reform Nigeria have to be able to be unpopular as a result of the established order will combat again — and can achieve this ruthlessly.
Nigeria wants a frontrunner who can take daring choices like eradicating subsidies on petroleum and electrical energy for example; vacuum the tax system and make heads roll. The argument for subsidy retention is an emotional one which reductions the filth within the system. Nigeria is a quasi-socialist nation; a extremely subsidised nation. Corruption thrives partly due to the regime of subsidies.
Just about each important commodity or service is subsidised and doesn’t mirror true worth. The subsidy regime is clearly unsustainable. Kerosene, which is the widespread power of the poor, was de-subsidised; diesel as nicely, but petrol which sells for about N600 per litre in Ghana – an oil-producing nation — is scandalously buffered. Who does this profit?
The NNPC mentioned it spent N541.65 billion inside six months in 2021 on petroleum subsidy. Between 2017 and 2020, the company is projected to have spent over N1.53 trillion on petroleum subsidy. The truth is that the present worth of petrol in Nigeria doesn’t mirror its precise worth vis-a-vis the prevailing world market worth.
But when the poor can afford a fundamental commodity like kerosene which sells for N400 per litre with out subsidy, why ought to petrol principally utilised by the center and the higher class be N165 per litre? Who does the subsidy regime serve? The lots or some trade leviathans and wolves?
Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano (2014-2020) and former governor of the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN), rightly described the subsidy regime as a rip-off. He mentioned: “The first problem is by assuming that we are an oil-rich country. This has been a big joke for me. I remember in 2011 when we were talking about the subsidy debate when President Jonathan rightfully wanted to remove fuel subsidy. I said to people, you are producing two million barrels for 160 million Nigerians. That is one barrel for 80 people. Saudi Arabia produces one barrel for three citizens. These people need education, healthcare, infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications and agriculture from that one barrel that 80 people share. Then, you decide that what they need more than anything else is cheap fuel. That doesn’t make sense. It only made sense because there are many people who control the levers of power and are making millions and billions of dollars from the scam that is called fuel subsidy.”
The Jonathan administration tinkered with the concept of eradicating petroleum subsidy however quaked beneath an avalanche of protests – presumably sponsored. The Buhari administration is dilly-dallying on the topic now, and maybe to preclude one other spherical of rebellion, it has pigeonholed de-subsidising petroleum. However for a way lengthy should we tread on this primrose path? Nigeria wants a president who will defy all odds and take motion for the widespread good even when that enterprise will end in short-term discomfort.
Additionally, the federal authorities spends N30 billion month-to-month on electrical energy subsidy. Some analysts say this is among the causes the trade gamers are reluctant to scale up their companies — due to ‘’free cash’’. Now we have to de-subsidise to outlive.
Actually, any critical Nigerian president must implement self-discipline in any respect ranges and spectrum of the social and nationwide life. Lee Kuan Yew did it in Singapore as prime minister. He was fierce, daring and unafraid to take powerful choices.
The youngsters of the established order will cry, “tyranny and oppression”. But it surely have to be carried out. We can’t make progress this fashion. Nigerians are intolerably undisciplined. Nonetheless self-discipline must begin from the highest. The ‘’sturdy man’’ who desires to steer Nigeria should himself be disciplined. He should lead by private instance. Self-discipline have to be seen in his cupboard, strategy to governance and even in his private life. We can’t compromise on self-discipline.
It’s that unhealthy. I returned from a visit to the nation a couple of week in the past, and proper from the nostril of the airport I used to be pestered for cash by almost all airport workers, together with the cleaners. It’s tragic. Nigerians are inveterately undisciplined. We would like the most effective of companies, however we don’t need to pay tax; we beat visitors stops, discard refuse on the highway, and demand and provides bribes. We’re simply ungovernable.
In 2023, Nigeria wants a ‘’sturdy man’’ as president to self-discipline the undisciplined, and to take daring choices for the widespread good.
By Fredrick Nwabufo; Nwabufo (Mr OneNigeria) is a author and journalist.