Restructuring As Panacea For Corruption, By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

President Buhari should know that the only solution to the present unfortunate situation of our economy is in dismissing the politicians he appointed to head various ministries, replacing them with experts, overhauling his economic team by appointing competent hands..and as a matter of urgency initiating a bill that will seek the restructuring of Nigeria…

The hopes of Nigerians were high when Muhammadu Buhari was announced as the winner of the 2015 presidential election. Citizens believed that Buhari’s emergence as the number one citizen would bring the sixteen years of massive corruption, poor infrastructure, negligence, and politicisation of governance to an end in the world’s most populous black nation. Many believed that with the change over of power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), there would be no more a big gap between the rich and the poor, and that citizens would at least be able to have three square meals per day.

Before I go further, I will like to state that I was one of the numerous writers and activists who before the 2015 presidential election, believed that the best option for Nigeria was for another political party to take over the mantle of leadership from the massively and shamelessly corrupt PDP, but unfortunately, the choice was limited to only two political parties who fielded candidates that put many into confusion. The administration of former President Jonathan was characterised by massive corruption and the only alternative fielded by the then opposition APC was a no nonsense dictator whose military regime, despite fighting corruption and indiscipline heavily, was not perfect in the management of the economy. The two candidates presented by the two major political parties put many Nigerians into confusion. Many were confused about whether to continue with a corrupt, failed president or to trust a former dictator. However, the majority went with the later option because it was widely believed that since corruption remained a big problem for Nigeria, empowering a disciplinarian, even though a dictator, with leadership would be a better option. Also, Nigerians believed that if leadership remained with the PDP, Zimbabwe will be better than us in the near future.

Before his election as president, Muhammadu Buhari and his party the APC promised Nigerians that he was a converted democrat and that with them in power, corruption, poverty, hunger, unemployment, negligence, and greed will be history. Has the president justified or betrayed the trust of Nigerians on his ability and willingness to fulfill such promises? Nigerians will answer that sooner or later.

President Buhari may be an upright man and a patriot that loves the unity and progress of this country but his approaches to governance so far are worrisome. Nigerians expected that after delaying the appointment of his cabinet members, the president would ultimately be surrounded by technocrats and professionals but reverse has been the case. What Nigerians rather saw were situations where experts were neglected and in areas where they received appointments, they were forced to work under inexperienced politicians that lack the primary knowledge of administering those offices professionally, and this has created room for incompetence and confusion in the design and implementation of government policies. I can accept the petroleum ministry being chaired by the president due to the massive corruption that took place there during the past administration, but a situation where critical ministries like Education, Works and Power, Transportation, and even Agriculture are headed by politicians who lack the basic knowledge such ministries require for professional services is not acceptable.

Also, it was expected that a renowned financial expert would be appointed to head the finance ministry but instead of that, a smart speaker who appears to lack the basic knowledge on how to run the ministry was appointed. These wrong appointments have created confusion and incompetence in the administration of those ministries and that must be the reason why till now, Nigerians are yet to see and understand the policies and programmes of those ministries. To make things worse, the media team of the president delights in keeping Nigerians in the dark, especially on the outcomes of federal executive council meetings, unlike in the previous administrations. The information ministry only keeps giving assurances of performance without telling the citizens what government has on ground to realise such, and recently government reportedly decided to begin a “Change Begins With Me Campaign”, which is not only ridiculous but a slap on the face of Nigerians because the same government that promised to effect change in every sector of our national life has chosen to shift the responsibility of change to citizens. Change ought to begin with President Buhari and his cabinet.

The President should also know that restructuring is the greatest way to fight corruption because the current structure is faulty and fraudulent, and to clean such a system, its foundation and structure should be the first targets, otherwise the whole efforts will end up as a wild goose chase.

Moreover, instead of living their lives happily, Nigerians have been forced to starve and suffer. Also, business men and women can no longer transact their businesses with confidence as the exchange rates keep running up at the forex market on a daily basis and this keeps happening despite the claim by the country’s apex bank that it has implemented policies that will make forex available in various banks. It is true that the PDP’s government ran our country like an ATM machine but the present APC government should be innovative instead of relaxing and always blaming the previous administrations for its woes.

President Buhari should know that the only solution to the present unfortunate situation of our economy is in dismissing the politicians he appointed to head various ministries, replacing them with experts, overhauling his economic team by appointing competent hands, even if they served in the past PDP administrations, and as a matter of urgency initiating a bill that will seek the restructuring of Nigeria so that each region can be able to sustain itself from its resources, instead of focusing on the monthly revenue allocations from the federal government. This will enable the various states to be fully responsible for their progress or failure. It will also make the administration of the centre less cumbersome.

Equally, the restructuring policy should encourage part-time legislature at the centre, as such will discourage rogues and criminals from seeking senatorial or house elections, and will also enable the Federal Government to focus more on its primary responsibility, which is the security of lives and property, as well as protecting the territorial integrity of the federation. The Federal Government should know that restructuring Nigeria does not necessarily relate to secession. It will only create a more united Nigeria, as it will automatically reduce or even eradicate tribalism, religious crises, and inequality in the system. This is because various regions will be in charge of their resources and economy, and the fear of marginalisation will be history.

The President should also know that restructuring is the greatest way to fight corruption because the current structure is faulty and fraudulent, and to clean such a system, its foundation and structure should be the first targets, otherwise the whole efforts will end up as a wild goose chase.

May God empower the president with more wisdom and protection. God bless Nigeria.

Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu writes from Awka, Anambra State.

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