The Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, recently decided to throw his hat in the ring to contest the presidency. At a forum with members of the public, civil societies and journalists, he spoke about his vision for a new nation if elected president. MUYIWA ADEYEMI was there.
On the wave of impunity in the regime
It is a very serious problem. There are several dimensions to the impunity that reigns in our country. I always say something that as a leader it is not enough to be competent especially in Nigeria; nor is it enough to be engaged and compassionate. What is also lacking in Nigeria is leadership, the courage to do what is right. Some people think of themselves as principalities, that they own this country, and can do whatever they want. They also believe that the law cannot catch up with them. We will not be arbitrary, but we will be very, very sneaky about upholding the rule of law and access to justice for all Nigerians.
There are different levels of impunity. We also need to make sure that we don’t leave our people tempted to do the wrong thing under the guise of religion, culture, etc. We must at all times be the defenders of citizens’ rights, as well as responsibilities, because when you have rights, you also have responsibilities as a citizen of the country and we must uphold it.
Impunity reigns because our justice system is paralyzing and the whole justice system of our country is problematic. If we look at the journey from the investigation of the crime to the conviction of the crime, you would have forgotten that the person actually committed the crime. I think the prompt delivery of justice, access to justice, accountability in society are areas that we need to pay attention to. We must also support our judicial officers, so as not to tempt them again to have recourse to other abuses because the State has not taken charge of its own responsibility in terms of remuneration, support for bailiffs of righteousness.
On the preferred mode of the primaries
The constitution of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stipulates that the model of the primaries can be either direct, indirect or consensual. Now, we now have an electoral law that says that in order for us to have a consensus, all the players must sign. For me, yes, we have a lot of people who have shown interest and I think we have to commend the party for being so popular in attracting this caliber of Nigerians offering their services to the country. I think for me, Nigerians who also want to contest for the President of Nigeria must be citizens of the country. I believe from all my travels across the country over the past month, I believe both inside and outside the party, the sentiments will seem to be anything but consensus. It’s because people want to have a say and remember we have a president, who has been an advocate of bottom-up political practices. President Buhari is known for his passion for every member of the party having a say in the decision that affects the party, so in that sense I have no problem advocating for a primary process whether indirect or direct . I don’t have a problem with that.
The government does a lot of things it can’t talk about sometimes. There are also obstacles that we must tackle quickly. Our senior officers in the security sector, given my experience that I have spoken with, have shared with us some of the challenges they face. I am still talking about Egypt and this country was able to recruit urgently in 1967. It went from an army of 10,000 to 250,000 in the space of a year. Today, there are all sorts of bureaucratic obstacles that do not allow us to increase the number of men and women we have in the armed forces and in the police. Now we have to do it quickly. If we are unable to do this as soon as possible, eliminating the bureaucratic hindrances of the windows, we must embark our reserved elements, which are still in service. Our soldiers, even retired, are in service: Major Generals, Colonels, Brigadier, they are everywhere. Many of them would like to serve and help solve this problem probably as soon as possible because it is, in the first place, the problem of men. We don’t have enough people in uniform, and even the ones we have, they do police duties.
There isn’t a single state in this country today where you don’t have military officers and soldiers patrolling homeland security matters. This is not a soldier’s job. Yes, sometimes you may need soldiers to act in civil authority, these are exceptional circumstances. We need to populate our security agencies. Egypt is no match for half of our population. We are told that Egypt has 1 million policemen. In Nigeria, we have, we always tell ourselves that we have 350,000 police officers. But 150,000 of them do VIP homework. So not only do we have to expand and transform our schools during the holidays into training centers, because part of the problems we have are the training centers.
We may need to turn our schools over the holidays into training camps for those we want to bring to these causes so we can get more men in the force. As I was talking about operating in a new environment, a new order of battle, a new force posture must be developed by our military because we are not fighting conventional warfare. What we are dealing with now is unconventional; more often than not, you don’t even see the people you’re fighting. So you need to design counterinsurgency and counterterrorism measures that go beyond infantry and other extreme approaches to warfare. We are at war. What happened on the train is an indication that we need to take immediate action. In the suburbs of Abuja, I hear some of these things are also starting to happen.
And we really have to look and I believe the president that you know is not a man of many words. It does too many steps that some of us may not be able to talk about. It also prevents a lot of things that they also can’t mention and say yes, yesterday we stopped the bandits’ attempts to destroy this particular community. It’s ongoing, and it’s a continuous work in progress. We really have to have confidence, but we have to take the right steps in terms of intelligence, better recruitment and equipment in order to solve the problem.
Near Absence Of Electricity Supply
I think the solution is this, it’s time to get rid of a national network. We now need to start looking seriously in the direction of zonal or regional grids or even micro or mini-grids outside of the formal national energy grid mainstream. This is the only way to solve this problem. We should also focus on new energies, on renewable energies as well. This national grid is completely broken and fixing it every day is a problem that we cannot easily tackle.
Appalling level of unemployment
To me, it’s not the government’s job to start focusing on jobs. But it is our job to provide a living environment for the private sector to thrive; for the agricultural sector to thrive; for the infrastructure sector which should create jobs; and there are so many jobs related to these various critical segments of our economy. That’s what we have to do. In addition to addressing the issue of skills, because we talked about jobs, the majority of young people do not have the skills required to do the work that is needed. We need innovation, we need creativity, we need technology and we need skills in addition to providing an enabling environment for that to happen.
Considerable work is already underway on modernizing and expanding our infrastructure and one of my main objectives would be to accelerate this through both public investment and partnerships with the private sector while simultaneously ensuring that that we apply responsibility and get better value for money. Likewise, a major rescue and investment program for the education sector, health system, civil service and local government system will be launched to reorient each of them towards the task of comprehensive national development, of progress and prosperity. . Each of these areas can benefit much more from a deliberate and systematic deployment of digital technologies according to its context; opportunities will be followed up as part of our revival program.
I fully understand that we cannot ensure our prosperity without ensuring that our agricultural sector is able to ensure self-sufficiency in critical food markets, to feed our agro-allied industrialization efforts and thus to enable transforming the unemployed into gainful employment, revitalizing rural areas, fostering the coordinated expansion of commodity exchanges and stimulating the flow of foreign currency into the economy. We will prioritize the sector for the multiple benefits it can bring to the agenda of national prosperity and transformation which we will pursue with relentless vigor. As part of this commitment, the issues of streamlined and transparent access to agricultural finance and the widespread adoption of agricultural technology by farming populations will feature prominently among priority areas of focus.
No vision of national prosperity, no matter how flawless, nor no program for national transformation, no matter how comprehensive, can produce the desired results without paying attention to the government’s planning system as a whole. We must build on recent successes in restoring our national planning system and statistical capacity to open up new, forward-looking approaches to development management that are research- and data-driven. This will be an integral part of the new impetus we will bring to governance as a whole, guided by a philosophy of effective service delivery, the enthronement of a civic culture and the encouragement of an empowered citizenry to engage in understanding of public affairs. that he is the repository of power. As part of this commitment, a holistic approach to decentralization will be adopted and institutionalized so that government and its services are closer to the people.
Our decentralization program will also contribute to the goals of a stronger, more united and stable Nigeria, outcomes that are not only good for our national prospects, but will also benefit West Africa, the rest of the African continent and to a struggling international community. multilateral system.