By Doyin Okupe
Seven maladies have plagued Nigeria for several decades. They all seem insurmountable yet if Nigeria does not kill them, they will kill Nigeria even before Religion, Ethnicity and Prebendalism kill it.
These maladies are:
1. Uncontrolled population growth in the face of malignant Poverty.
2. Disproportional distribution of resources by federal and state governments
By this I mean a situation where less than 3% of the population consume 70% to 80% of the revenue of government. For example, Ogun state has a population slightly more than 5million, but a civil service strength of 50,000(1%) consume 75% of its revenue through budget allocation. Niger state with population of 4m has a civil service strength of 40,000 that consumes 80% of its revenue.
The federal civil service including MDAs are about 12m to 15m people but they consume 70% of our annual National revenue meant for 200m.
3. Deriving directly from above it is obvious that governments at all levels must gradually, painfully downsize to less than 20% of their current sizes in a maximum of 5yrs or else they will have to borrow money yearly to pay recurrent expenditure.
4. Petroleum Subsidy.
Payment of petroleum subsidy of N1tr (10% of national budget) and above annually is not sustainable. This is equivalent to robbing the poor to pay the rich.
5. Uncontrolled executive capacity to borrow money and impose a generational debt burden on the state.
State governors, especially, must be severely constrained by appropriate legislation from just being able to borrow money anyhow and for just any purpose.
6. Electoral fraud and violence.
Inability to hold elections in a transparent and violence free atmosphere is a national disgrace and directly will dangerously undermine our democracy.
7. Crippling youth unemployment and pervasive cultism.
At least in the South West I can say with all certainty that there is no town today that does not have it’s own full compliment of the various cult groups in the country. They operate openly and brazenly. The police is fully aware. The traditional and royal fathers are also in the know. They are appeased regularly and negotiated with when important events are to take place. Most of the violence our communities experience come from these youths. The only solution is a concerted and very serious efforts by governments, private sector, wealthy individuals and successful entrepreneurs to tackle this national menace.
In the nearest future I will discuss the issue of youth employment in better details.