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Politics and the absence of philosopher-kings

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Sir: There is a lack of leadership in people who brandish themselves as leaders in Nigeria and if my memory is still agile, I’ve never heard any groundbreaking statements from them to make me portray them as great leaders.I strongly believe a modern day leader who doesn’t do wide reading will be bereft of noble ideas. The world is replete with great and inspired writers whose wisdom-laden facts will enrich and broaden one’s horizon in any field of human endeavour, leadership inclusive. The complexity of modern living calls for a deployment of sound knowledge.Whatever flows from a person’s mouth determines his depth. As the statement goes, “It’s only the deep that can call to the deep.”

Leaders without vision do not know the effects of spending decisions. Leaders without vision do not put a cap on spending and waste the country’s sovereign wealth without conscience. Pride and love for one’s country is stirred by leaders; ‪ pride and love makes people stay in their countries to help to develop it. They travel only to interact with members of the global community and not to live as second-rate citizens doing menial jobs. Proud Nigerians hold their homeland in high esteem. Research and economic prosperity in great countries take priority.

The insurgency no doubt has stalled economic prosperity of the people of the Northern region but there wasn’t an economic demarche by the government of that region before the insurgency. Unlike the Odu’a Investment Company Limited owned by five South-Western states which recorded a revenue of N4.29 billion in 2014 and N759 million profit before tax in the same year, the governors of the entire North have not managed the many companies established by the late premier of the Northern Region.

You would think that the world doesn’t make soap and does not need the residue from palm kernel anymore. Why is palm kernel cultivation left in the hands of individuals and not cultivated, large scale, by the governments of the East? You wonder why there isn’t a Versace, Armani, and many clothing plants in Nigeria like you have in South East Asia giving our people jobs and transferring technology. You wonder why there isn’t a state policy to support ordinary Nigerians.  You wonder why individuals in the East resort to self-help in the provision of almost everything.

Should the oil-producing companies take their technology away from the Niger Delta I wonder what would happen to the economic life of that region? Capacity for many businesses remains undeveloped. Today Nigeria is cash-strapped.  Tax, therefore, remains the only alternative to shore up the country’s dwindling revenue.Regrettably, no other state in Nigeria has an effective tax system in place like Lagos State.‬ However, the South-western states look up to Lagos as our oyster without developing their own oysters.

Government needs to create a stable environment for business and increase the middle class to about 80 million. Much needs to be done to make the environment safe for tourism. Business thrives in an economy that is highly diversified? Diversification does not mean protecting the interests of a few rich people by giving them tax credits and grants for the provision of few jobs without any measured impact. Diversification in my view is properly weighing the cost of labour so that workers can be ingenious enough to contribute to the growth of the economy. The rich must be taxed heavily and the poor helped to become employers of labour.
Simon Abah wrote from Abuja.


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Simon Abah
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