Opinion: Dear President Buhari, here are four ways to turn around the Nigerian economy

by Ogunyemi O.O

Dear Mr President,

I welcome you back home from your vacation in London. I am happy to see you address the nation once again; may God grant you good health to lead the nation.

Now that you are back Sir, I’ll like to share some things with you that I think can change the Nigerian economy.

Firstly, I am going to talk about our major problem which is Energy supply (Electricity).

ELECTRICITY

Nigeria is one of the most populated countries in Africa but only about 40% of the people are connected to the energy grid. Those who actually have power experience difficulties around 60% of the time (Aliyu, Ramli and Saleh 2013). They also claim that these blackouts cripple the industrial sector, a big example is the mining sector, without adequate electricity it is really hard for the mining companies to work effectively in Nigeria.

There are currently two main types of power plants operating in Nigeria:

1. Hydroelectric

2. Thermal or fossil fuel power plants

Nigeria joined other countries of the world to sign Paris Agreement on climate change so it’s not advisable for our government to generate electricity using thermal or fossil fuel system. Fossil fuels are put through a process called combustion in order to produce energy. Combustion releases pollution, such as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, which may contribute to acid rain and global warming. Mr president that is the reason why people are complaining in Delta State about black particles in the air because most of our fossil fuel generated energy are from this area. We have to consider the health of our citizen mostly the children living in that area. We can focus on two renewable sources of energy to generate electricity all over the country without harming our citizen or causing global warming.

(1) Hydro-power and (2) Wind turbines.

Wind turbines are one of the fastest growing ways to generate energy, and many countries in the world are adopting this system because it’s effective and produce clean energy, examples China, UK, USA, morocco, Kenya etc.

Nigeria only has four Hydroelectric power station in service:

(1) Kanji power station (800 MW) Built 1968

(2) Jebba power station (540 MW) Built 1985

(3) Shiroro power station (600 MW) Built 1990

(4) Zamfara power station (100 MW) 2012.

Mr President if your administration can (1) finish Mambilla power station (3050 MW) by 2018 (2) renovate and upgrade of the already working power stations (3) Build at least a new power station in each Geo-political zone (4) Invest and develop the wind turbine energy, before 2024 Nigeria will be generating clean energy without harming any of its citizen and which will help to reduce climate and global,warming.

If Nigeria energy sector is working efficiently, a lot of Industries and factory will come back to our shores because we have the workforce.

 

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture is a big branch of our economy that provides employment for 30% of the population as of 2010. In 1990, 82 million hectares out of Nigeria’s total land area of about 91 million hectares were found arable.

With our population increasing, we have a huge advantage to make more agricultural products if we make the right investment. A tribe or a geopolitical zone cannot provide agricultural needs for the nation talk less of exporting. Nigeria major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum Arabic, Kola nut, maize (corn), melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams.

Our country’s agricultural produce fall into two main groups: food crops produced for home consumption and exports.

Mr president, we can tackle our agricultural problems and restore Nigeria as one of the top exporters:

(1) According to statistics, the northern part of the country are major producers of peanuts and cotton, the south-west are major producers of Cocoa, while the south-south and the south-east produce palm oil, rubber and a bit of cocoa, the government can make investments based on the production Statistics.

(2) Empowering youths and encouraging them to go into agriculture. Over half of our population is below 30 years of age, this is a good advantage for us because we have all the workforce needed. The federal government ( ministry of Agriculture) and Bank of Agriculture can give a substantial loan to 10 best graduating students in agricultural science in each federal/state/ private universities per states, and they will invest it on what their region is producing.

(3) The middle belts is a link to every region in Nigeria, they can be producing livestock products. They can also be main producers of the country’s household food because they have river Niger and Benue, the government can help them with irrigation and channel it to their farms.

(4) A task force can be created to monitor, audit and enforce the implementation.

I am happy with your Administration’s dedication to improving our agricultural sector, especially the Rice projects. Nigeria spent $2.4bn on rice importation in 3 years, we need to put that money back to our system and feed ourselves.

If your administration can invest more in our agriculture, the effect will be good for our economy because the sector will create more jobs for people, our GDP will increase, our export will increase, and our food will be cheaper in the market.

 

EDUCATION/ SCHOOL SPORTS

According to UNESCO 2015 literacy rate (all) 59.6%, male literacy 69.2%, female literacy 49.7%, Gender difference 19.5%.

The level of illiteracy in Nigeria is high compared to other countries. We have about 65 million illiterate Nigerians. Nigeria National bureau of statistics shows that less than 35% literacy rate in some northern states (2013).

Mr president I will like your administration to do more in our education system. Nigerians are brilliant and we need to increase our literacy level. It’s a fundamental right for every child born in the country to have access to education, no matter the gender or religious belief. With our level of income all our government primary and secondary schools should be free or with a small payment which a common parent can afford no matter the level of income, this will encourage parents to send their children to school.

I am really concerned with our Technical College. While growing up in Nigeria, the technical colleges were the places for our brilliant craft men and women to learn and perfect their crafts but the school have been forgotten by the government. I will like your Administration to revive and reform NBTE, because we need our craftsmen and women to have a formal education in their professions not to be apprentices under a boss with no form of formal education.

I am pleased with our scholarship system, but we need to implement more rules for students running on scholarship. Any student the Nigerian government is sending out of the country or within have to work for the government for the period of 5 to 7 years with pay. Some students with government scholarship outside the country will finish their studies, they will either stay back in that country or come back to work in a private organisation. I think that is wrong, they have to impact the knowledge into our government ministry, not private organisations. E.g. Medical, aviation, engineering etc.

Mr President, the country of over 180 million people could only achieve 1 bronze medal in 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, this is what was written on Wikipedia about our performers, ” Nigeria left Rio de Janeiro with only a bronze medal won by the men’s football squad (Captained by Mikel), scoring a 3-2 triumph over the Hondurans and saving its pride from the continual humiliation of returning empty-handed for the second straight time”.

I think the government can improve our school sports activities in High schools and our universities, for example, the NBA league and football recruits mainly from colleges. Rome was not built in a day, if the school’s sports department under the ministry of education and with the help of Ministry of sports can make a plan to set up a huge school festival nationwide every year, it’s going to be regional and national level in both track and field sports. This will enable the ministry of sports to scout and identify potential talents in different sports because they will be gathered in a place. The government cannot do this alone, they will need help from corporate companies to help with the scholarship.

This initiative will make our youth to be more dedicated to sports, healthy lifestyle, strong physically and mentally, time management. This will help to build our sport and we will be able to produce top athletes to represent the country. This will also provide jobs for our graduates in physical and health education, sports science and other sport related courses.

Scholarships and prizes should be handed to outstanding athletes in various sports, this will be a form of encouragement for them.

 

NPF REFORM

I want to use this medium to thank all our men and women in uniforms for risking their life’s every day to make us safe, may God protect and bless them all.

Our military men and women are doing a great job in fighting the Boko haram insurgents and restoring peace back to the Northeast of Nigeria, our people can return back to their homes and live a normal life. I salute you all for your bravery.

Mr President you have kept your promises to fight Boko haram; your Administration has been successful doing that but I think we need to improve our homeland security.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) needs reform, support from the government and the masses for them to be able to perform their duties to protect lives and properties. There have been a lot of cases in which Nigeria police officers brutalise or abuse innocent citizens. Some of our police officers don’t even know the fundamental human rights of the people they are protecting.

I am proposing this reform plans:

(1) Nigeria police force needs to recruit competent officers, they need to go through mental, emotional and physical evaluations.

(2) The lowest educational qualification for our police force should be college of education graduate or OND certificate, we need police officers that can speak English fluently not pidgin English, a person that can communicate easily.

(3) we need to renovate our police colleges, police stations to make them up to standard.

(4) The Nigeria police force should be giving access to some database such as FRSC, immigration, National identity management commission. This will enable them to fight crime and have a good working relationship with all this agency. For example, FRSC is in charge of the driver’s license. If a policeman stops a drunk driver or someone that disobey traffic rules he will be able to confirm maybe the driver hold a real driver’s license and report the case immediately. They also need the immigration database because they have the largest fingerprints database in the country, this will help our police to solve a lot of cases with the help of forensics.

(5) Branded cars. The United States police vehicle are manufactured by Ford, Chevrolet, GM. The United Kingdom uses Vauxhall mostly. France uses Renault, Citroen and Peugeot. Germany uses BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

What I am trying to explain here that all these countries choose their indigenous car manufacturers to build cars for their police. I think our government should allow Innoson vehicle manufacturing company to build cars for our police force, and they can also be in charge of maintenance.

They will have to open workshops or garages all across the country, this will create a lot of jobs and also help the company’s growth. I support made in Nigeria products.

(6) The police force has to increase the number of their patrol officers, at least a police vehicle should be patrolling an area every 30 minutes.

The officers have to understand the fundamental human rights of the people they are protecting.

(7) Our highway police should be more equipped and trained. They should be the ones to safeguard our highway from thieves, drunk and over speeding drivers.

Each state boundaries should be safeguarded by the police, they should have a base in which they will have camera feeds of all the vehicle coming into the state and also search any suspected vehicle.

CONCLUSION

Mr President I will like your administration to involve Nigerian youths, to empower us because we are the leaders of tomorrow and we don’t have any other country than our beautiful Nigeria.

“The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.

” And guide our leaders right, Help our youth the truth to know”

May God bless and protect the President Federal Republic of Nigeria and God bless Nigeria my country.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Written by; Ogunyemi O.O

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