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If I were mister president

By Ayo Oyoze Baje
06 May 2022   |   2:53 am
Well aware that leadership, especially in a democratic setting is meant to identify, highlight and meet the critical needs of the people by prioritizing them, the factor, to begin with

Presidency

Well aware that leadership, especially in a democratic setting is meant to identify, highlight and meet the critical needs of the people by prioritizing them, the factor, to begin with, is the workers’ welfare. That will be the focal point of my Poverty Alleviation programme.

Given the backdrop of the prevailing African extended family system, all efforts will be made in the federal, state and local council areas to ensure that the minimum wage is more than adequate to cater for the needs of the worker and his dependents.

“A worker is worthy of his wages,” says the Holy Bible. It would be, therefore, a crime on the part of the employers at all level-both public and private- to delay or even consider paying paltry percentages of their remunerations-salaries and allowances inclusive-due to them.

In fact, my administration will create an independent Salary/Wages/Pensions Board for each state, backed by enabling laws. The prompt payment of the workers’ emoluments would serve as an enduring motivation for them to give their best. With that firmly in place, the employers would have the moral ground to stand upon to castigate, criticize and even punish workers found to be engaged in dereliction of duty. Of course, this would also traverse both the public and private sectors.

And talking about the private sector, industrial productivity would be hinged on a stable electric power supply, adequate potable water supply, as well as good access roads and rails. With that, in addition to a secure environment, there will be a paradigm shift back to the good old days when the Ikeja/Ogba Industrial park was the pride of the country. Unfortunately, these have been converted to End-Time churches, with prosperity preachers holding sway over the mesmerized murmuring millions who have sold their souls to the pastors they see as their gateway to paradise. They definitely need speedy deliverance!

That brings us to the critical issue of HEALTH. My administration’s motivating mantra to propel all-around health, right from pregnant women, through the under-5 children, teenagers to adults and elders would be that prevention is wiser, cheaper and safer than cure. In that wise, I will re-introduce Sanitary Inspection Officers (SIO) as it was back in the ‘60s and empower them to collect specified punitive levies from landlords and tenants whose surroundings are only fit for the pigs!

To take the preventive measures some notches higher, Refuse Disposal Systems, incorporating the biodegradable process will be adequately funded. Natural, organic manures derivable from these are safer and more productive for the farmlands. They have recently been discovered by some scientists in the United States to conserve much more atmospheric carbon, thereby reducing global warming. The green policy of the planting of trees and flowers would be encouraged to beautify our environment as well as to supply the much-needed oxygen, to facilitate healthy living.

All these measures, added to an enabling environment buoyed with a solid infrastructure of highly equipped clinics and hospitals, as well as well-trained nurses, doctors and other health officials will go a long way to breeding citizens that are happy and healthy. For, as the wise ones say, from individuals to communities and countries, ‘’health is wealth’’.

To bring that wealth creation to the front burner of national discourse, yours truly, who happens to be an ardent lover of creativity in the fields of arts and sciences will introduce annual NATIONAL PRIZES FOR DESERVING INVENTORS and innovators in that regard.

For instance, for decades I have been making the suggestion to the powers-that-be that the government should provide a veritable avenue to bring together Nigerian-born inventors for us to maximally benefit from the products of their creative ingenuity. But not one state governor, minister or president has taken me seriously! Though Nigeria remains the proud homeland of some of the world’s most remarkable, trail-blazing inventors and innovators in the fertile fields of medicine, transportation, science and information technology, have their products impacted positively on our national economy? The answer is obvious.

We often talk about the Philip Emeagwalis, the Silas Adekunles, Saheed Adepojus, Ndubuisi Ekekwes, Cyprian EmekaUzohs, Yemi Adesokans and Brino Gilberts but there remains a lacuna between their brilliant ideas and our parlous economy.

My administration will, therefore, introduce annual laurels and mouth-watering cash incentives running into millions of naira, as well as basic tools and infrastructures to any of our inventors that come up with solutions to our current economic and technological challenges. And that will cover the vast spectrum of human endeavor; from power and energy supply, education, agriculture, and healthcare delivery through entertainment, tourism to transportation.

Beyond that, the private sector will be encouraged to invest heavily in their products for mass production, marketing and possible exports. That will not only be in the fields of science and technology but in the creative arts of writing of fiction, painting, making of sculptures as well as the fashion world of local cloth production.

That reminds me of Niki Okundaye, the Kogi State-born Nigerian cloth maker without formal education who has taught in prestigious universities in the USA and Canada including Harvard University. “Niki is a batik and Adire textile designer who has used her experience to nurture big dreams for herself” according to Google.com.

As a Nigerian author, out to promote critical thinking, my administration will partner with the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) as well as PEN International(Nigerian Chapter) to partner with the various ministries of education across the country to make available their books for adoption to benefit the students.

If all the listed were my ideas on leadership in Nigeria some 22 years ago, what would I do differently in 2022 to make the desired difference? As an unrepentant advocate of restructuring, my government will act swiftly to institute holistic political restructuring, to draw the country back from the brink of imminent collapse.

And that has to be right away before the 2023 general elections that continue to gather the stormy clouds every passing day.

To save us from self-deceit, concerned Nigerians have come to admit that virtually every thread of the fabric of the nation is tottering towards tearing into shreds. Mention national security (with the kidnappings and killing spree), the economy (with an inflation rate of 15 per cent, mass youth unemployment and job losses), education (with ASSU members still on strike while the children of political leaders are outside our shores), healthcare delivery (with top-notch politicians upping the game in medical tourism at the blink of an itchy eye), transportation (pothole-ridden roads and broken rail tracks) and the signs are crystal clear that all is not well with us, as a people!

Beyond restructuring, now is the best time for the ethnic nationalities that make up the entity called Nigeria to come together at the round table for a thorough renegotiation of the terms that should hold us together. Anything short of that is self-deceit and we have had more than enough of that!