Disclaimer below the post
Forget #OccupyNigeria for a minute. Let us not get too emotional about our national challenges. Emotion and sentiments have failed us over and again as a people and are still failing us. What I see on Facebook and on twitter as reasons for the #OccupyNigeria movement are still based on emotion. No man has ever succeeded based on emotions alone. We need to engage our minds. We must set our head in order. We want to #OccupyNigeria? Why? The why will give you the purpose and the objective of occupation. If your “why?” is so we can kill all the rulers and take over leadership, then your end is that you will eventually get killed too because that is how it works. Nigeria has a myriad of problems. The biggest and most costly of which is leadership. Nigeria has no leadership whatsoever! This piece is not about our failing sorry failed leadership, it is about us so called young people…Youths of Nigeria.
The time has come. The time has come for us to forget our differences and preferences and look at ourselves in the face and ask…will it matter or make a difference to this country I for the first time in our lives, we all come out and speak for ONE cause? If your answer is No! thank you for your sincerity. This is where my musing ends for you…
If your answer is Yes! We should talk because you are right, we as a people speaking in harmony as one voice we can change this country. We need a place to start and the proposed fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government is a very good place to start. In starting, we are not going to be chanting “All we are sayinnnnnnnnng, leave subsidyyyyyyyy. All we are sayinnnnnnnnnng, leave subsidy….” No we won’t do the usual thing because that will get us the usual result – nothing. We can do better and this is what we ought to do.
What informed the plan to remove the subsidy in the first place? Simple, the government is broke and government cannot run on anything but money. In fact, the only reason Nigeria is still running is because we have enough money to keep it running, otherwise our rulers haven’t done much to keep Nigeria running. Government wants to raise about $6billion per year from subsidy removal. They have promised that they will then use the money to invest in health and infrastructure. That sounds good enough, especially the promise part but apart from the fact that promises by the Nigerian government are nothing but words offered to keep Nigerians perpetually hoping for a tomorrow that will never com, the government has said it will reduce recurrent expenditure by 1% every year from next year for the four year duration of the government. With recurrent expenditure at 75 per cent this year, it means that at best recurrent expenditure will be 70 per cent by 2015. Guess what that means? It means the money raised from subsidy will still be funding salaries and emoluments of political office holders and intangible wastes in government. But that is not the end of the argument. Government also says that there is so much corruption in the subsidy set up it has to stop the process in its entirety. That sounds really cool until you ask, why can’t the government having discovered corruption in its own system not cut out the corruption if the cannot go a step further to bring the perpetrators to book. Let us not even consider the argument about the fact that there is no subsidy but a ruse of lies and scams. Let us for a minute forget the fact that we export about the world’s best quality of crude but import the worst type of fuel imaginable. It has been written elsewhere on this blog how Nigerian business men and indeed government shortchange the country in the whole process of petroleum exploration and consumption. It goes from exploitation to confusion. Okay, these are complex issues so we need to pick out what is clear-cut and deal with them.
Government needs money and we know without money government cannot function. This is how we will help them raise money. They will not need to raise money from 150 million Nigerians and they will still raise about $20billion! 744 Local Governments have 744 Local Government Chairmen. How much do they earn? Imagine if we clamour for a 70 per cent reduction in their salaries. Multiply that amount by 744 and by 12 months. Don’t forget the councillors. How many councillors are in each Local Government? How much do they earn? How many of them do we have nationwide? How much can we save for a year if we reduce the salaries by 70 per cent?
Remember the 36 states and their Governors? How much do they really earn per month? How much can Nigeria save per month if we cut their salaries by 70 per cent? How much per year?
Look at the House of Representatives where 90 per cent of them represent nobody but their bank accounts. 360 men earn $1.2 million/year/person. What if we reduce their pay by 70 per cent? We will raise $840,000.00 per Legislator. Multiply that by 360 people you get $302,400,000.00! think of the 55 or so ministers, have that number reduced by 25 and have the remaining have their salaries halved, what do you get? Money into government’s coffers for capital projects. I could go on…
As far as corruption in the subsidy process goes, identify the loopholes and fix them. Nigeria is subsidising its neighbours, we cut out that delusion and subsidise only what our people consume. What happens the little petroleum refined here? It is of far higher quality than the petrol we import. The government should release a timeline and action that states with dates the liberalisation calendar of the downstream sector. What is so difficult about this/
We will never have to occupy if the Nigerian government does the above as I now state categorically.
• Retain the subsidy
• Cut out the corruption in that system and stop subsidising our neighbours’ petrol consumption.
• Reduce the pay of public officers across the board by 70 per cent to generate money and reduce the number of ministers and aides.
• Release a timeline and action plan for the downstream sector for the eventual liberalisation of the downstream sector especially in terms of having private investors refine our petroleum so that we don’t just have enough for our people but we also export petrol and petroleum products.
Is this too much to ask for?
Yes WE WILL #OCCUPYNIGERIA and these are our demands!!! We will not go and march if all of these get done at the point of engagement, where engagements fail, we will sleep and dine on the streets of Nigeria. We are not mad people, we are reasonable young Nigerians and irrespective of where you stand, what you want to see is a better Nigeria where life matters. Get on the #OccupyNigeria train, it will be peaceful and we will achieve results Nigeria and Nigerians will be proud of
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