A people centered independent presidency will enable Nigeria tofulfill her promise of progress and prosperity

By Abitunde Taiwo

My fellow compatriots around the world, Nigeria is in a state of serfdom and insecurity. Most Nigerians live in fear and penury whilst many of our plutocratic politicians and their associates live in spectacular opulence in highly fortified mansions! Minimal services, instead of comprehensive services that include robust security, are provided to citizens across the nation, in rural areas, in riverine areas, and in our sprawling cities.

A democratic government exists primarily to serve the interests of all its peoples under the rule of law with equality of its citizens before the law, and the supreme law of a democratic nation is the constitution. Also, the primary duty of government, and indeed the reason for the existence of a democratic government is to protect and promote the welfare of its citizens.

In these and other counts, Nigeria falls short of what a democratic nation should be:

1. Nigeria does not serve the interests of the majority of its citizens, but the interests of plutocratic politicians and their associates using the oil revenues from one of the six geopolitical regions.

2. Nigeria operates a constitution that is disregarded in some parts of the nation.

3. Elections do not involve a sizable 20 million Nigerians in Diaspora.

4. There are serious security challenges facing the nation in all parts of the nation with inadequate resources allocated to tackle them.

The signature of the state of serfdom in Nigeria:

5. Over 50% youth unemployment and extreme poverty, hunger, and starvation in the population.

6. Lawlessness, anarchy, armed robberies, kidnappings, insurgency, and a widespread state of insecurity exacerbated by the concentration of enormous wealth in the hands of a few people, plutocratic politicians and their associates.

7. Accidents on bad roads and lost productivity from long delays on poor roads due to traffic congestion.

8. Inadequate water and power supply causing relocation of some industries to other countries.

9. Tension and resentment between communities exacerbated by the struggle for inadequate resources.

To overcome this appalling state of affairs will be a challenge. Members of the plutocratic political class are fully entrenched in society, are artful manipulators of the people, and use state funds to buy influence and subvert justice. They manipulate the diversity in the nation to their advantage.

The state of serfdom and insecurity in Nigeria today is decidedly unacceptable. It screams for an end in 2015!

A global alliance of informed and involved Nigerians that is inspired by my run for the presidency can help to bring a change to the status quo of serfdom in Nigeria.

Reforms that will take place with your help under my presidency:

10. Reform in the award and execution procedures of government contracts to proscribe corruption and conflict of interest, but include due process, transparency, accountability, monitoring, and review. Politicians and civil servants will be prohibited from bidding for government contracts directly or through proxies.

11. Elimination of the astronomical salaries, allowances, including estacode of political plutocrats.

12. Restoration of the middle class in Nigeria by making the pay of experienced public servants such as teachers, civil servants, police officers, security agents, and others comparable to those of politicians.

13. Enforcement of the citizenship rights of the Nigerian people, the overwhelming majority of whom are currently virtual serfs. Nigerians have rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy.

That there can be no socio-economic development in a serfdom is evident in Nigeria today. Socio-economic development in a serfdom is an impossibility because there is an extremely low aggregate demand since the commonwealth is concentrated in a few hands.

Fellow Nigerians around the world, let us take the destiny of Nigeria in our own hands, and not leave it in the hands of plutocratic politicians and their cronies who are less than one-tenth of 1 percent of our population.

Again, please join me in a global alliance for action by informed and involved Nigerians to change the status quo of serfdom in our nation.

Our shared values

14. We believe that the sole purpose of government in a democracy is to serve the people and not politicians and their cronies.

15. We believe, very strongly, that no one is above the law, and that all Nigerians are equal before the law under the constitution.

16. We believe that most of our current politicians have lost the respect of the people by their conduct and performance in office.

17. We believe that transparency, accountability, probity, and performance are essential in government to inspire the confidence of the people.

18. We believe that all tiers of government must operate under fiscal discipline within the limits of their revenues.

19. We believe that politicians are public servants with remuneration that should be comparable to that of other experienced public servants, and within the means of the local governments, states, and the federal government's capacity to pay, with a maximum salary of not more than 20 times the per capita.

20. We believe that in a democracy, empowered citizens' wishes are to be reflected in the plans, priorities, and policies of government.

Our vision

With the active involvement of our fellow Nigerians around the world, we aspire to build a prosperous, inclusive, and democratic nation under the rule of law.

Our mission

We would employ all available resources to make all units of government fully functional to meet the socio-economic and security needs of our people and to create opportunities for employment, investment, and business start-ups for Nigerians and others.

Our goals and objectives

Our overall goal is to employ proven global best practices to build a competitive nation leveraging the God-given talents of Nigerians worldwide and our abundant God-given natural resources.

21. We will improve the functionality of all units of government, local, state, and the federal leveraging the talents of our people worldwide and all relevant institutions and universities nationwide.

22. We will ensure that each unit of government operates within a budget that will include a template of taxation and resource revenue, which includes taxation of 80 million working Nigerians at home and abroad. To limit the impact of double taxation jeopardy of Diaspora Nigerians, we will enter into bilateral taxation agreements with countries in which Nigerians reside.

23. We will improve on revenue collection methods from corporations, small and medium enterprises, and customs, etc.

Our spending plan will reflect our values, priorities, and goals. We will employ global best practices. Nations who desire to develop spend money wisely to achieve their goals. So would we.

We will build a better climate for business.

We will upgrade the infrastructures, including security infrastructures, in the nation for the benefit of our people and business.

We will invest in the welfare of our people. We will invest heavily in youth, special and adult education, and in the health care needs of our people.

We will leverage the talents, human capital, and participation of our people worldwide in government, community, business, tourism, and industry.

The 2014 federal budget was around $30 billion US dollars from the sale of oil.

In the new paradigm we will adopt, taxation, a moral, civic, and socio-economic imperative in a democracy, will supplement oil revenues. Our strategy will bring relief to, and do socio-economic justice to the oil producing areas, drive the diversification of the economy from oil, and enable the socio-economic and socio-political influence in the nation by the tax paying people of Nigeria.

We anticipate a revenue of $100 billion US dollars from taxation of Nigerian workers in Nigeria and overseas! This will include taxation of the incomes of Nigerians abroad at a tax-rate in the range of 2% to 5% and a taxation of the incomes of Nigerians at home at a tax-rate in the range of 15% to 45%. Since Nigerians in the Diaspora already pay taxes of over 40% in their host countries, measures will be taken to ameliorate their double taxation jeopardy!

We anticipate revenues from customs, VAT, sundry revenues from government agencies, and business taxation to approach $50 billion US US dollars.

With an anticipated total revenue of $200 billion US dollars, our strategy will be to boost aggregate demand through spending on robust security and physical infrastructure networks nationwide, and to provide comprehensive financial support for human capacity building, research and development, agriculture, industry, and the service sectors. We will through this process diversify the economy from oil and provide employment, internship, work-study, and support for all Nigerian youth. With a multiplier effect from our spending plan, the current vicious cycle of poverty will come to an end, and an era of prosperity will begin.

24. We will engage all 20 million unemployed youth. We will turn the NYSC into a youth employment and job training agency, and include non-graduates, vocational, and technical graduates, and establish it in all local government areas. Every youth registered with the agency will receive a monthly internship or job training stipend. The youth employment agency will also serve as a recruiting center for employers, industrialists, road and infrastructure building contractors, and serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs.

25. We will build road networks linking rural to urban areas to bring development to our rural areas nationwide and increase opportunities for our youth and entrepreneurs.

26. We will invest heavily in power, telecommunications, information technology, water supply, and transportation infrastructures nationwide.

27. We will invest in inland and coastal ports, water resources, and water basin infrastructures.

28. We will invest in environmental and sanitation infrastructures.

29. We will undertake robust educational and health infrastructure investments.

30. We will make investments in robust tri-level security infrastructures: local, state, and federal and seek the assistance of the G7 nations, the United Nations, and NATO to end genocide in certain parts of Nigeria.

31. We will make solid investments in trade, agriculture, forestry, mining, oil prospecting, animal husbandry, industry, finance and banking industries, and tourism

32. We will implement a social security program and a national health Insurance scheme.

33. Our policies and investments will attract private, local, and foreign investments in the financial, industrial, agricultural, housing, and tourism sectors, etc.

Our policies represent a contract with the Nigerian people worldwide. We fully understand that Nigerians around the world whose taxation will contribute significantly to fund government at all levels will monitor our compliance and performance in order to continue to pay taxes. Nigerians will also have the opportunities to exercise influence and provide guidance on government operations.

35. In line with global best practices, public servants, which includes politicians, will receive remuneration packages that will not exceed a maximum of 20 times the per capital GDP(PPP).

36. We will restore the Nigerian Airways under a world-class management agency to encourage more Nigerians in Diaspora to come home frequently to invest, work, teach, do research, interact with government officials or business leaders, or for vacation.

37. All government procurements will be done using a sunshine policy of transparency, accountability, and probity. Payments will be made after contracts are satisfactorily completed, and no mobilization fees will be paid.

38. A robust reform of financial institutions, the security and exchange commission, and banks will be undertaken to protect the public and share holders. We will seek help from G7 nations on these matters.

39. A zero-tolerance of corruption in, but robust support of, the vital public sector will be our policy. To mitigate the temptation of corruption, but improve morale and productivity in the vital public sector, we will adopt a twin policy: a life-time employment for all public servants at full pay up to the age of 65, and a flexible part-time consultancy role at half pay afterwards; dismissal from public service and mandatory criminal prosecution of culprits of corruption and any accomplices will take place.

Projected federal revenue in billions of US dollars

40. $50 billion US dollars from oil. This is one-half of oil revenues, the other half will go to the oil producing states.

41. $10 billion US dollars from customs and excise taxes.

42. $10 billion US dollars from value added tax.

43. $10 billion US dollars from sundry fees from Nigerian embassies, government parastatals and agencies.

44. $20 billion US dollars from business taxes.

45. $100 billion US dollars from taxation of the income of 80 million working Nigerians in Nigeria and overseas, but with amelioration of double taxation jeopardy of Diaspora Nigerians through bilateral taxation agreements with foreign governments.

46. Total projected federal revenue is $200 billion US dollars all of which will be included in the federal budget, a significantly larger budget than the $30 billion US dollars of the federal budget for 2014!

Projected expenditures

47. $30 billion US dollars for the non-oil producing states plus FCT, which is approximately what they currently get from oil distributions.

48. $20 billion US dollars for the 18 new states recommended by the national conference and for the restoration of Nigerian Airways under a world-class management agency.

49. $10 billion US dollars for the recurring expenditure of the federal government which is comparable to the current year's spending plan on that budget category.

50. $40 billion US dollars for various infrastructure projects: robust security, hospitals, educational infrastructures, power, roads, water, telecommunications, information technology, inland and sea ports, etc.

51. $40 billion US dollars for education: kindergarten, primary, secondary, vocational, technical, university, research, security training, internship/work-study, adult education, special education, health education, and support for public/private professional development. Since education is an investment in the development of vital human capacity, free tuition will be provided to all students at all levels, in all public institutions, from kindergarten to the university.

52. $20 billion US dollars for health care insurance system.

53. $10 billion US dollars for social security system.

54. $10 billion US dollars for environmental remediation.

55. $10 billion US dollars for afforestation, rehabilitation of ecological, zoological parks, game reserves, and restoration projects including Lake Chad.

56. $10 billion US dollars for disaster relief.

For decades, political plutocrats and the military rulers before them, have not been able to provide the leadership that Nigeria needs to end the state of serfdom in Nigeria!

We urge all Nigerians worldwide to rise up to the challenge and responsibility of citizenship of a democracy that we seek to restore in Nigeria, and become engaged, and to also become actively involved in spreading the word to our fellow citizens using all available means, print, electronic, Internet, social media, telecommunications, etc.

Please join, in a global alliance for action by informed and involved Nigerians, to work hard to bring unrelenting local and international pressure to bear on the serf masters of Nigeria to implement the recommendations of the recent national conference that include an allowance for independent presidential candidacy! In addition to this, please put pressure on the speaker, senate president, and Inec chairman to conduct democratic elections in 2015 that include 20 million Diaspora Nigerians. An election in the 21st century without 20 million citizens of Nigeria in the Diaspora, and under the current military inspired constitution will not be a democratic election, and is unacceptable! Also, Diaspora Nigerians cannot be expected to pay taxes to the Nigerian government if they are not allowed to vote!

Our independent presidency will comprise an inclusive team of men and women who reflect the diversity in our nation, but have in common a passion to serve you our people, and a disdain for, and a determination to end, the status quo of serfdom. We will serve you with honour, integrity, competence, professionalism, dedication, and distinction. Members of our team will serve you with excellence in leadership roles in ministries, parastatals, embassies, a new social security department, a new national health insurance organization, revenue collecting agencies, and in security agencies.

We will lead by example and with vision, focus, purpose, and determination, and with the help of God, and the support of you, our fellow Nigerians, who we will be honored to serve, end the state of serfdom in Nigeria, reach our goals, and realize our vision.

Thank you very much for your help to change the status quo of serfdom in Nigeria. Together, with the help of God, we will build a prosperous nation with liberty, justice, security, and equality before the law for all citizens under the constitution.

May God bless and magnify our joint effort. May God bless Nigeria and Nigerians worldwide.


Abitunde Taiwo

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