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Opinions of Thursday, 19 May 2022

Columnist: Rufai Oseni

EUREKA: What Nigeria’s leaders must do in 2023

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Nigeria is in dire straits! And this is not time to beat around the bush and challenge data and say everyone is lying because you want to spare their blushes.

This is the time for serious and pertinent interactions.

The economic indices are stacked against us, and the blue whale of corruption is vigorously disturbing our ship of state.

Nigeria with much potential has just remained the same, it’s like running a relay in reverse.

It is incumbent on the next president to understand the challenges he will have to deal with and find ways to tackle them.

The next President must deal with the subsidy issue and make a decision once and for all. We all agree that the subsidy bill is terrible, this year, we will pay 4 trillion for monies we don’t have. I have argued repeatedly that paying subsidies is like making a bonfire with your life savings and singing “let it be" by the Beatles for good measure.

The next President must be straight on what he will do as regards the subsidy issue.

The next President must also work on the oronsaye report and bring about civil service reform. The era of a high cost of government and recurrent expenditure will only send the government down an abyss of no return.

The debt keeps piling in administrative costs when we can reduce costs with e-governance and for this to happen, we must make investments in training and upscaling the civil service to make it fit for purpose.

The Next President of Nigeria must target SME growth and development presently with over 40 million SMEs, the government must think of ways to support the small businesses as they are the real drivers of the economy.

General Park helped the chaebols grow in the 60s and today they have created growth in the Korean economy.

The next President of Nigeria must help spur economic growth and liberalization-He must ensure that the business parameters always favour businesses.

The Next President must use the fight against poverty to tackle insecurity. In Nigeria, there are too many have nots and they see people stealing from the government they get devastated. So the next president must tackle poverty and fight insecurity in every part of the country.

In a country with over 40 per cent poverty rate, it becomes problematic to do anything meaningful and substantive. We must open up many sectors like the manufacturing and Agriculture sector to provide jobs for a lot of people-we must encourage research and development and help our nation stabilize.

The next President of Nigeria must restructure, this concept of Abuja money must stop, it is an anathema to development and it is the reason for a lot of strife. It is incumbent on the next president to help decentralize the country, but I know he would face troubles from the hegemony that the Abuja structure favour, but he must weigh the options of continuing agitations and see how to balance things out, but a reversal to the 63 constitutions will lift a lot of burden off Abuja and give power to the people, but it is also incumbent on the people to demand accountability.

The big question is, How can the people make their leaders accountable? My fear is, I hope partisan politicians don’t hijack the regions akin to the squabble of Akintola and Awolowo in the 60s.

I think the next President of Nigeria must really get up and be counted once he gets in because the challenges are enormous.