By Yusuph Olaniyonu
Today, the most important element that a troubled country like Nigeria needs is stability. The polity needs stability so that policies, programmes and projects aimed at bringing about genuine and sustainable development can be formulated, executed, monitored and nurtured. The economy needs stability to get the citizenry out of poverty, deprivation, unemployment/underemployment, inflationary effects of currency devaluation, and macro-economic instability.
The social system also needs stability for the restoration of national values, for people to live in peace with each other, to douse separatist agitations, for the school system, the health sector, and other social services to have enhanced government investment and attention. It also involves having a stable environment where people can worship God as a private activity without any violent outcome.
We need a stable system where so many factors will become predictable, or at least, provide a basis for planning and projection. We need stability to enable us to win all the wars that non-state actors and the evil ones amongst us have waged against the rest of society. Stable planning by security agencies will help us win the wars against insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers, violent separatists, and those who now specialise in using fellow human beings for money rituals.
We need a stable political environment in which all actors abide by the law and work for the country to have peaceful, free, fair, and credible elections that will produce the leadership without any violence or form of bloodletting. This represents political stability.
We require a stable environment to attract investments from within and abroad. Money, they say, goes to where it feels safe. Stable macroeconomic indices will encourage investment. Also, when there is a stable environment and inflow of investments, people will have jobs. They will contribute to the country’s GDP, they will be dragged into the tax net as a taxpayer and the government will have more money to invest in social welfare services for the benefit of the people. The expected outcome of such a positive development is an improved standard of living for the people.
The country needs stability to defeat the problem of food insecurity. In a volatile environment in which farmers cannot go to their farms for fear of being kidnapped or attacked, where the farmers-herders conflict continues to rage, where some unregistered foreign herdsmen continue to provoke violence in the farming regions by invading farms with cows who wreak destruction on farms, instability in food production continues to plague our country.
These problems of multi-faceted instability however have combined to put the country in a blind alley. There seems to be no solution in sight. Nigeria is now characterized as a country that has slipped from the category of safe states to weak states, then slid down to become a failing state, descended further to the category of failed states, and further degenerated, moving to the level of a collapsed state.
The collapsed state is the lowest of the ranks. It is a point of no return. It is a point where the country faces the possibility of ceasing to exist. The Fund for Peace Initiative characterises a collapsed country as one whose government is not in total control of the entire territory, in which the legitimate authority of the state to make collective decisions has been eroded and where the government is unable to provide public services.
This is the situation we have found ourselves in Nigeria. Still, the problem is largely that of leadership. The country needs a leadership that is determined to make history as the greatest turnaround team in the continent this century. The ability of the leadership can only be deciphered from the characters, antecedents, and values of the team leader, the team captain. We have an opportunity to make a difference and save our country. The 2023 election is a golden opportunity for us to get a great, bold leader who can initiate great reforms, follow them through and ensure there are positive changes.
Among the many aspirants across all the various political parties seeking to be President, I can recommend Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the perfect crisis period leader, the turn-around leader, and the leader who is not only brilliant in terms of policy formulation but also obstinate and courageous enough to make positive changes.
Saraki by his antecedent, experience, record, and background is a strong symbol of stability. As a top private sector player who then came into the public sector to excel, he sure understands the economy and what needs to be done to achieve stability. His economic blueprint is comprehensive and should provide a good basis for discourse as we move gradually towards February 2023 when a new President will be elected. He has promised to focus on macro-economic stability, creation of enabling environment that will encourage investment, solve the power problems, review the process to encourage Nigerians to produce for export by expanding the ports and making their process take less time as well as addressing the challenges confronting the mining sector.
He has also vowed to create a safe and secured Nigeria where there is stability in terms of people’s ability to live, work, produce, and play in Nigeria without any fear of any harm coming to them or their investment. He plans to provide the armed forces with all the necessary equipment and training to neutralise security threats, enforce transparency in the utilization of resources provided for the forces, ensure police are properly funded, trained, and motivated to get them to take over police duties currently being performed by the armed forces.
Part of the plan is also to create a 3-tier security architecture to incorporate all village, district, and ward levels for the collection of security information, develop the Office of the Coordinator of Counter-Terrorism into a full-fledged Counter-Terrorism C street to enable it to meet the challenges of the multi-faceted security threats. He has also canvassed the need to leverage ICT and the opportunities afforded by social media to enhance security and national unity. These represent a viable way to bring stability to the polity.
Other areas that Saraki plans to focus on in other to bring stability to Nigeria include achieving a restructured country, reviewing the position of rule of law in Nigeria, and putting emphasis on national planning and good governance. With his antecedent as a cosmopolitan leader, a man who has roots in major parts of the country, the real bridge between the north and the south by the virtue of his family background and represents all the major religions. At 59, he represents the link between the old and the youths, a bridge between the private and public sectors, and enjoys the confidence of both key sections of the society.
Saraki has served as a presidential aide, Governor, chairman of the governors’ forum, senator, and President of the Senate. His record in all these positions shows that he is an achiever, a man of ideas, a solution finder, and a man who talks less but fixes the problems. He has vowed to fix the economic, security, unemployment, and systemic problems bedeviling Nigeria. I believe him. I urge other Nigerians to Talk Less, Let’s Fix Nigeria by voting for a courageous leader who knows what to do, how to do it, and is strong enough to act, no matter the challenges.
Olaniyonu writes from Abuja.