Setting Agenda for New President

2011-04-19
THISDAY Newspaper- Ademola Adeyemo

Stakeholders in politics, academia, and civil society have set agenda for the new president, listing out what they considered burning issues confronting the nation. And they want the president to give them priority attention.

The former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, says whoever emerges as the president must wage war on corruption, evolve programmes that would ensure rapid industrialization of the nation, which could only be achieved through improvement in power supply.

Being more specific on how he feels the nation’s leader should prosecute the anti-corruption war, Ezeife states that the president must live above board, and he must ensure that his wife, in-laws, friends, associates and all those who work with him must also not be corrupt.

“His anti-corruption strategy should be summarised simply as “do as I do.” The former governor believes that if the president could fix power, Nigeria would be on its way to industrial growth. He strongly advises that seasoned economists and industrialists should be assembled and they should come up with realistic measures on how to revamp our economy through industrialisation.

On his own part, the Coordinator, Campaign for Democracy and Rights of the People, Mr. Amitolu Shittu, harps on the need for the president to address the deplorable security situation across the country, given the spate of bombings, assassinations, armed robberies among others.

He observes that there is so much insecurity in the nation, because successful governments, either military or civilian, had failed to give adequate attention to education and the need to provide jobless Nigerians social security.

Shittu says, “In advanced countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom and even Saudi Arabia, they have social security for their unemployed youths. But here in Nigeria, despite the fact that we have the resources, there is no provision for those youths who had gone to school, and have no jobs. Even the drop-outs are also on their own.”

While he believes that the education system should be overhauled, Shittu contends that if the nation should evolve a good education system, the issues of bad roads, poor health care system, epileptic power supply etc. would be adequately addressed.

He considers it as a necessity for a nation that prides herself as the big brother of Africa to own her own national airline, and be like her peers in South Africa, Kenya among others. Shittu advocates continuity in governance, which, he argues, moves the wheel of development forward, rather than each administration fashioning out its own programmes.

Dr. Adeoye Oyewole, a lecturer and former head of Psychiatry department, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo campus, shares Ezeife’s concern for the president to revamp industrial revolution in the country once more, as was the case in the 70s and 80s.

He notes that physically and socially, Nigeria has all it takes to attract both local and international investment, but he explains that the problem of epileptic power supply should be tackled headlong.

“The government must stimulate entrepreneurship drive, so that the nation could take after the Asian Tigers,” he says.

Oyewole shares the view that the Federal Government must evolve a social security system which would take care of certain category of people in the society — socially disadvantaged children whose parents cannot afford their school fees, aged citizens and those who have served this nation.

He also lists education and health as areas of priority for the president, while suggesting that entrepreneurial training should be included in the university education curricular as being done by many private universities currently.

Ms Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, a senatorial candidate on the platform of Social Democratic Mega Party, also believes that there should be zero-tolerance for corruption at all levels of governance. In order to achieve this, she wants the president to change the leadership of the anti-corruption agencies.

“If the country could achieve zero-tolerance on corruption, then we will have efficient power supply and all other infrastructural development that we want as Nigerians.

“Power is a priority and if we could stop all those leakages that encourage corruption, we would efficiently utilise our resources,” she submits.

The executive director, Civil Liberties Organisation, Mr. Ibuchukwu Ezike, points out that the issue of security of lives and property should rank topmost in the agenda of the emerging president, as he stresses that only the living could enjoy things that life offers.

He argues that for any nation to develop, priority attention must be given to the power sector. “Power is central to any form of development. Without power, the industries cannot thrive and if the industries do not thrive, there will be massive unemployment as we are witnessing today in the country.”

 

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