The elephant in the discourse of who should be the president of Nigeria in 2015!

By Abitunde Taiwo

Today, Nigeria is artificially broke!
None of the two major contestants for the presidency has addressed this comprehensively as I have. Both major contestants for the presidency representing the major parties, PDP and APC, are still stuck with dependency on oil revenues. I am not. Major discussions online and in the print media have focused on the personalities of the two major contestants for the presidency in 2015 instead of on their vision, policies, and programs necessary for progress and performance in government.

How can one run an economy and a government of a complex nation, Nigeria, of 170 million people with a shoestring budget of $22 billion US dollars in 2015, and $30 billion US dollars in 2014?

This is less than one-half of the budget of Singapore, a small island nation of about 6 million people!

What can a president, no matter how highly skilled, do with $22 billion US dollars or $30 billion US dollars in a nation with so many people and with so many challenges? Is it any wonder that salaries of public servants are not regularly paid and infrastructures are in the state of disrepair?

It does not help matters that the salaries of politicians of both major parties are astronomical and that corruption is widespread and involves politicians of both parties.

What does Nigeria's GDP of over $500 billion US dollars mean? Norway, with a GDP of $500 billion US dollars is able to raise a revenue from income tax and other taxes of $300 billion US dollars!

What Nigeria needs is a paradigm shift from a reliance on oil revenues to taxation of the income of Nigerians worldwide for the government budget, a global best practice.

I have demonstrated how the federal government can have a budget of up to $200 billion US dollars or N37 trillion naira, almost an order of magnitude greater than the proposed budget of the incumbent president for 2015. I am not aware of any budget proposal of the major opposition party presidential candidate.

Politicians of the two major political parties, it appears, are afraid of making income tax the principal instrument to use to fund the government as they know this will empower the people to demand accountability, performance, probity, and significant pay cut from them, the politicians. I am not.

Nigeria cannot make any notable progress without the significant revenues that the sacrifice and civic responsibility of taxation of the income of the people and politicians will bring to the coffers of government and the decisive involvement and oversight of the people in the affairs of government that their financial sacrifice will motivate.

Nigerians must choose wisely in 2015 from not only the two major party candidates for the presidency and other positions, but from independent candidates who should present their vision and programs, as I have, to the Nigerian people for scrutiny!

Abitunde Taiwo

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