Last night, I became aware of the fact that Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has been elected the PDP presidential candidate. Atiku has campaigned that he will privatize the major companies that define economic life in Nigeria – the oil and gas industries. On surface value, such a political statement may come across as refreshing, especially in a country where poverty has come to define the very fabric of social life.
However, the crisis our world is experiencing today is one invented by neoliberal capitalism that has failed woefully. Neoliberalism argues for the takeover of national economic structures by the economic elite in the name of a free-market economy. Nothing is free about this type of economic system. It argues for the survival of the fittest, economically, but secretly positions itself to benefit the very rich who are the direct stakeholders and decision-makers of such an economic system. Look at what this type of economic system has done to all the countries that adopted it; from Latin America to Asia; from Europe to North America. Neoliberalism has widened the wealth gap between the poor and the rich and has progressively wiped off the middle class from the global economic map.
Privatization of national economies, as being advocated by Atiku, will facilitate the end of what we all know today to be Nigeria. Poverty will skyrocket in the country as the very rich become richer. Neoliberalism, in a basic economy as that of Nigeria, where there are no checks and balances, will be a total embrace of endemic corruption. Nigerians will all lose at the end of the day.
Nigeria does not need to embrace an economic system that all reasonable countries are now running away from. Yes, Nigeria has been governed by thieves and liars, but it cannot allow itself to be murdered for good by its unethical politicians. Yes, we all need food on the table, but that does not mean that we have to embrace national suicidal tendencies. Neoliberalism is national suicide.
Nigeria needs the following if it hopes to survive: one, systems that facilitate transparency. Go digital all the way. By this, I mean, have credible records in place that can trace transactions and the sources attached to them. Most of Nigeria’s corruption occurs in the vague areas defining transactions. Because there are no record-keeping going on in the country, it is difficult to track down correctly all transactions. Two, Nigeria needs to simplify all governmental transactions. For example, there is too much double keeping going on in Nigeria that are avenues for stealing public funds. Why must one do fingerprinting every five years to renew their passport? Fingerprints are unique to each human being. Capturing it once is enough. Yet, the Nigerian government wants you to do it in their agencies that are monopolized by individuals so that whoever is in office steals those revenues. Three, Nigeria needs to adopt very strong antitrust laws. It is economically dangerous to have monopolies in a country, especially when those monopolies are linked to the survival of the nation. Four, Nigeria needs to endow its state and federal universities, and then move away from running such universities. Each university ought to now be able to fend for itself. A strict policy of having health insurance and capital base for its institutions should be enforced. This will ensure that those institutions that are themselves no longer sustainable ought to be allowed to shut down. Nigerian billionaires ought to play prominent roles in endowing these institutions. Take a cue from institutions in the western world on how to endow your respective programs. Five, Nigeria needs infrastructures. Roads, electricity, clean water, and access to good food ought to be the focus of the next government. Nigeria which was once called the food basket of West Africa is today unable to feed its citizens. A country that cannot feed its citizens is a failed state. Period!
Nigerians, no need to forget how you all got duped. Today, you are at the mercy of those who have duped you. Atiku is one of those who duped Nigeria. Buhari is one of those who duped Nigeria. Tinubu is one of those who duped Nigeria. Oshiomole is one of those who duped Nigeria. Obasanjo is one of those who duped Nigeria. No politician running for office today is free from corruption. They are all corrupt. They have put in place a system that caters to the agenda of the corrupt. How can an honest Nigerian find 100 Million Naira to pay for the presidential ticket? This is a clear sign that Nigeria has embraced oligarchic rule. Nigerians need to revolt against this and fight it all the way to its Supreme Court. A presidential ticket for all parties should not cost more than N1.00. I said it, one Naira. As citizens of the nation, it is your right to run for office. Money ought not to be an obstacle. A vote for any of the current presidential candidates is a vote for self-destruction as a nation. Nigeria can do better. I encourage the younger generation who have a clear sense of political philosophy to rise up to the occasion and run for office.
Nigerians, insist on the candidates running for office to define their political philosophies. Insist that the political parties explain their political philosophies. A simple question you ought to ask these politicians is this: What makes PDP philosophically different from APC or APGA? Because there is no political philosophy, that is why you find these politicians jumping from one party to another as the wind blows. The only philosophy operating in Nigeria is that of stealing national funds. If you vote for any of these thieves, you are giving electoral validation to their agenda to steal national funds. You are poor today because you allowed thieves to define your future. Shake them off. Refuse to settle for mediocrity anymore. Nigeria has a promising future with the right leaders in place. Cultivate the culture of good leadership and let your voices be heard by the people and not by the thieves who today govern the nation.
Finally, Atiku is not the saviour you are expecting. Ask him how he made his wealth. He has many unanswered questions before him. The man is corrupt to his bone marrow. Never forget that. Nigeria, do not allow 2023 to surprise you anymore. Work towards freeing yourself from this marriage to thieves that you have found yourself in since you became independent in 1960. Enjoy!