Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, last Friday, admitted that the present governance structure is expensive and unsustainable.
He disclosed this while fielding questions by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and immediate past Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, during a webinar organized by the Emmanuel Chapel, entitled, ‘Economic stability beyond COVID-19’.
Osinbajo added that Nigeria needed a national debate to examine the issues around the size and cost of governance. He, however, admitted that it could be difficult for the government to do something about its cost by itself but that it is something that must be done.
Osinbajo said: “There is no question that we are dealing with large and expensive government, but as you know, given the current constitutional structure, those who would have to vote to reduce (the size of) government, especially to become part-time legislators, are the very legislators themselves.
So, you can imagine that we may not get very much traction if they are asked to vote themselves, as it were, out of their current relatively decent circumstances.”
The Vice President’s statement reignites the call for an honest review of how the country is conducting its affairs.
There is, perhaps, nothing more to add except to state that no other person, body or institution is better placed to initiate action towards ensuring that Nigeria and its citizens live within their means than the presidency.
It is hypocritical to point fingers elsewhere. Did the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) not promise change in every ramification of the word? What manner of sacrifices have been made beyond taking symbolic pay cuts?
Indeed, speaking of national debate, why has the APC refused to look into the merits of some decisions reached at the last constitutional conference? Or, why has the presidency refused to initiate another if it considered outcomes of the previous conference not far reaching?
More importantly, should the point not be made that what confronts the country in the immediate is not how to share resources or save costs but how to allow federating units to explore their natural resources and run a competitive economy.
The Vice President, if not being dodgy, will do well to explain what has become of the recommendations of the El-Rufai committee on restructuring.
Having a total reorganisation of the governance system remains the sure way to see this come to fruition. The ball is in the presidency’s court.
Two other talking points
When rebuke is not enough
President Muhammadu Buhari is obviously fed up with the inability of his security chiefs to tackle the horrible security situation in Nigeria, especially in the North.
During a security meeting with the heads of security agencies, including the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, last Thursday, in the State House, the President sternly warned that he would no longer tolerate further worsening security condition in the country.
Expressing his dissatisfaction, he told them pointedly that “their best was not enough.”
The rising wave of killings, kidnapping and wanton destruction of property occasioned by the never-ending banditry and terrorism in several States in the North are no longer worrisome, but overly embarrassing.
On June 10, reports went viral that Boko Haram insurgents killed at least 81 people in an attack at Foduma Kolomdi community of Borno State. Also, on May 28, news filtered in that bandits had killed over 70 people in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State. And, this is as Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Zamfara, Benue and Niger States are now breeding nests of insecurity.
Calls on Mr President to act more decisively have become very rife. It is either he has deliberately refused to lend a listening ear or that he is convinced that the country’s security chiefs have more than acquitted themselves.
Either way, the fact on ground clearly suggests that Nigeria is facing one its worst internal security challenges ever.
Perhaps, the President needs to be reminded that provision of security was, and is still is, a cardinal pursuit of his administration.
As it stands, a striking point is that the people in his home State of Katsina have grown weary of his ability to handle the security problems bedeviling them and other States.
This weariness became an item of national discussion on June 9 when protesters in Yantumaki town, Danmusa Local Government Area of his State (Katsina) burnt down a billboard bearing the picture of the President and logo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while protesting against the insecurity.
It should be clear at the moment that the solution to Nigeria’s ravaging security challenges lie not in mere rebuke of the security chiefs but a radical rejig of its security architecture to help breathe life into their operations.
It would seem at present that the country’s service chiefs are only enjoying a golden handshake.
Result, not assurances, Mr. President!
The security challenges in the country are giving President Muhammadu Buhari the jumps. This has seen him reminding Nigerians that the nation’s armed forces are capable of arresting the security gaps created by the growing banditry and terrorism in northern Nigeria.
The President issued this reminder in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, last Tuesday. “Nigeria’s military has displayed its capabilities in the past and will show it again by dealing with the current challenges,” the he assured.
Buhari also disclosed that he had approved a joint military and Police operation specifically targeted at combing Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina States to rid the areas of bandits.
He promised that Operation Accord which was launched three weeks ago to tackle banditry in the States will be enhanced with more surveillance.
While it is proper to commend the President for lifting the spirit of Nigerians with this assurance, one cannot but reiterate the call of many for a more radical response and need to reassess the contribution of the current set of service chiefs go in the face of poor performance.
It is acknowledged that the military is under staffed, under funded, under equipped and spread thin by the number of engagements they are currently involved in all over the country. However, the President, as the Commander-in- Chief, must realize that the buck stops on his table.
It is not for him to find justification for the many slips but to exercise viable initiatives to contain the burgeoning security crisis.
Enough of the assurances. Countries do not elect leaders for a decorative essence but to ensure that peace and meaningful development takes place.
Author: John Chukwu…