No president can save Nigeria, but together, we can salvage what is left, and fix it!
Today I spent the day writing what i would do if I was president. It wasn’t till late in the night that I figured that even with all my good intentions, I can’t do it: and neither can you. Here is why…
The biggest problem we have in Nigeria is not the president, it is the governors.
While it is easy to point fingers and criticize the current government for doing little or nothing, the truth is that the president can’t and shouldn’t do it all.
The good roads you crave…not really the job of the president.
The pipe borne water you need…not really the job of the president.
The good schools you desire…not really the job of the president.
The standard hospitals you want…not really the job of the president.
I could go on and on, but I know you have gotten the idea. Some of these things can be provided on the federal level by the federal government, but it wouldn’t reach the 160million Nigerians, this is why we practice a federal system of government. We have three tiers of government that are designed to bring development to the grassroots. The local government is the most important of all as it is directly in touch with the people and can solve their issues the fastest. The problem remains that these people can not function or act because the governors refuse to let them do their job.
We have had instances in the past where governors forcefully removed democratically elected Chairmen/Councilors. Often, they appoint ‘transitional managing or caretaker committees’ that oversee stuff and are given a stipend. There are other times that the Governors simply refuse to give them their constitutional allowance because they feel they will be ‘corrupt’. Believe me, the irony is not lost on me. The money allocated monthly from the federation account is usually squandered by the governor ‘in the interest of the people’
This is where you and I come in. If we spend all our time criticizing the president, we will miss the rare opportunity to bring change where it is really needed: at the grassroots. We have to put pressure on our respective governors to do what is right and let their tight grip on control loose just a little.
Another common problem we have is that even when the election are conducted, there is the issue of the state and LG account. Section 162 (6) of the Constitution provides that “Each state shall maintain a special account to be called state and local government councils’ joint account. This means that even after the elections, they don’t have access to use the money for development except if the governor allows them. So until this provision is deleted/altered, we have our work cut out for us.
Presently, a bill is before the national assembly to amend S. 7 and S. 162 of the constitution that permits the governors access to Local Government funds. The bills were sponsored by Mrs Uche Ekwunife of Anambra (APGA) and Mohammed Shamsidin Ango Abdulahi of Kaduna (CPC). In the senate Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman Kogi (PDP) sponsored a similar bill. It has passed first and second reading at the national assembly BUT (and this is a BIG but) according to the Constitution, after passing the bill at the National Assembly, two-third of state assemblies must approve for it to stand.
The truth is that state governors might influence the state assemblies against endorsing the local government autonomy. This is because of selfish interest and a certain feeling they harbor that they know best. There is also an aspect of greed as no one wants to release control of so much money.
So this leads me back to the tittle of this article: NO PRESIDENT CAN SAVE NIGERIA unless we get up and play our own part. If we don’t collectively put pressure at the right place i.e. State government and state houses of assembly, another opportunity to change Nigeria may just pass us by while we stare and reign curses on the president.
The governors should not be allowed to decide what is good or bad for us. Open the polls, have us choose our preferred candidates, and LET US KEEP THEM ACCOUNTABLE. A governor is not a super hero, he shouldn’t give himself that role. Let the job trickle down…it takes a bigger man to accept he can’t do it all. Do you job and let us do ours!
While researching this article I found out that the 3 national assembly members are 42, 45, and 41 years respectively. This further adds weight to my article about people who are over 50 having no business in ruling us (read it HERE). For the time being, they are my heroes for daring to change the status-quo.
Apparently, only Jigawa, Sokoto, Enugu, Kwara. Taraba, Lagos and Ogun have conducted Local Government elections. Please feel free to point out if I have let any state out.