Yorubas in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, please use your God-given talents and resources to develop the Southwest.

The world needs to see the Yorubas in Nigeria and in Diaspora use their God-given intelligence and resources to develop the Southwest.

No excuses suffice, blaming Abuja will not do, and certainly no propaganda or deception can paper over the responsibility of the Yoruba people to unite to solve the problems in the Southwest region of Nigeria.

The monthly distributions from Abuja, a product of the corrupt exploitation of the Southsouth oil rich region, and other factors cannot be used as excuses for the conditions in the region. It is time to ignore the shameful and deceptive propaganda in the electioneering campaigns.

As God has blessed the Yoruba people with abilities, capabilities, resources, global exposure, and knowledge, there is no excuse for the Yoruba people not to take responsibility for developing their region!

Neither is there any excuse for the region to be held hostage by political godfathers! Nigeria is a democracy, and the people should rule, not political godfathers! The development of the Southwest should not be outsourced to the Southsouth via the monthly oil distributions in Abuja! The Yoruba people should take full responsibility for funding the operations of the state governments in the region without a dependence on the oil revenues of the Southsouth.

The promise of the re-election of President Jonathan hinges only on the implementation of the recommendations of the National Conference, which he has begun to do, and which he is bound to complete if he is re-elected, as the momentum to implement all the remaining recommendations will be irreversible.

It is time for Yoruba people to use vision, effort, unity, and financial sacrifice to transform the Southwest. The whole world is waiting and watching to see the Yoruba people demonstrate the value of their education and international exposure, the nature of their character, and the measure of their resourcefulness as a people!

Today, the Southwest is the second largest economy in Africa, as far as the GDP goes. But the infrastructures, services provided to the people, and the deplorable conditions of living of the overwhelming majority of the people do not reflect this statistic.

We estimate that the wealth in the region is concentrated in the hands of less than 5% of the people who control 95% of the resources in the region. The rich Yorubas need to be asked to pay significantly more in taxes to support the region, and the responsibility of taxation should also be extended to Diaspora Yorubas.

With estimate than in 2014, the internally generated revenue in the Southwest was only about 1% of the total income in the region, less than 1% of the GDP of the region, and approximately one-half of 1% of the total annual income of Yorubas in Nigeria and overseas!

Nowhere in the developed world are the ratios this astonishingly low.

In each of France, Great Britain, and Western Germany, the internally generated revenue profile is around 40% of the GDP as a result of a robust progressive income tax structure. In each of these countries, the rich pay most of the taxes, the poor are excused from taxation and are even given grants through a comprehensive social security system, with the spending of these grants boosting the economies of these nations.

The governors in the Southwest should learn from this, and implement a progressive taxation system in which the well-to-do in the region pay progressive income taxes of up to a maximum of 20% of their annual incomes. Taxation should also be extended to Yorubas abroad at a lower tax rate of 2% because of the tax obligations of Diaspora Yorubas in their host countries. Revenues of up to N10 trillion naira can be raised through these measures which should be spent wisely, with input of the people and the DAWN Commission, for services, government operations, social security, and intra-regional infrastructures for socio-economic development and prosperity in the Southwest.

Propaganda will not bring development and prosperity to the Southwest, neither will blaming Abuja do, nor waiting for a spike in the oil prices. Neither will the empty promises of rhetorical and cosmetic progressives in the Southwest do, who incidentally have been in power for so long with very little to show for it.

Yoruba people should learn from history. General Buhari did not perform as a military ruler. He toppled a duly elected civilian regime, the economy plummeted under his rule, and he bungled his opportunity at the helm of affairs in the country. He should not be given an opportunity for a second bungle! Also, the root of corruption in Nigeria is the exploitation of the resources of the Southsouth which the National Conference has addressed with useful recommendations, but which General Buhari and his party have not embraced. President Jonathan, on the other hand, initiated the conference, embraced its recommendations, and has started to implement them.

Yoruba people should ignore the propaganda of the opposition party and vote for President Jonathan for a second term to finish the job of implementing the recommendations of the National Conference.

In conclusion, for emphasis, the development of the Southwest should not be outsourced to the Southsouth via the monthly oil distributions in Abuja! The Yoruba people worldwide should take full responsibility for funding the operations of the state governments and the development of the region without a dependence on the oil revenues of the Southsouth! A second term of President Jonathan will afford the Yoruba people in Nigeria and in the Diaspora the opportunity to take responsibility for the socio-economic development of the Southwest and demonstrate to the whole world the character, exposure to global best practices, and the God-given abilities of the Yoruba people.

Abitunde Taiwo

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Articles by Abitunde Taiwo