Nigerians Voted For A Change, Not For A Charade: An Open Letter To President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari And Vice-President-Elect Yemi Osinbajo

Dear President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President-Elect Yemi Osinbajo,

Congratulations again on your electoral victory. I am confident that

you recognise that your electoral victory gives you a responsibility

to reach out to those who did not support your candidacies. I hope you

will take to heart the advice given to you by former Governor Balarabe

Musa, as reported in the press, to take actions that will promote

national unity. Such actions should include the implementation of the

recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

There are some of your supporters who not only gloat over your

victory, but by press reports, are actively promoting sectional

interests as if there are spoils to be shared by the winners of the

elections. Let me remind them through this open letter that there are

no spoils to be shared, and any attempts to do this will further

polarize the nation with a risk of causing further serious instability

in a fragile democracy. On the contrary, your election gives you the

great honour, priviledge, and opportunity to serve all the Nigerian

As the leaders of the nation from May 29, I urge you, in a

demonstration of a sense of fairness to all, and to deliver on the

promise of change in Nigeria, to ensure that we have the following in

place during your regime:
1. A government executive and legislative branches that are inclusive:

For example, the Speaker and Deputy President of the Senate should

both come from the South. The North already has, or will have, the

President, Supreme Court Chief Justice, the sit of the federal

government, Abuja, and from press reports, the Senate Presidency. Any

attempt by the North to take the Speakership and Deputy Senate

Presidency will amount to unbridled greed and avarice that is

injurious to national unity and stability. There is no excuse for

2. No selective probes. A selective probe is against the rules of

natural justice, and will make you appear to be vindictive and

3. A change in Nigeria. You should ask Nigerians to pay for the change

that they want through the implementation of a policy of progressive

income taxation, and not the continuation of the current unjust and

immoral exploitation of the Southsouth peoples.
4. A progressive income tax that provides the bulk of government

revenues. This will bring Nigeria into compliance with global best

practices. For example, the 33 OECD nations, which include Great

Britain, France, US, Mexico, and many others fund their governments

with taxes( ).

These taxes provide robust revenues to these governments that are in

the range of 20% to 50% of their GDPs compared to Nigeria where income

taxes are not a significant factor in the budget of the federal

government, mainly oil revenues.
5. A new policy of government funding with a center piece of

progressive taxation of 0% to 30% of the incomes of Nigerians in place

from October 1, 2015. This will bring social justice to the oil

producing states and give Nigerians with incomes above a set minimum

the obligation to pay for the change that they clamored for.

6. A progressive income taxation policy supplemented by other taxes

that government agencies charge in their operations. Both will reduce

dramatically the need for oil revenues to fund the budget of the

federal government. As a result, the oil producing states should be

allowed to keep at least 50% of the oil revenues. This will end their

agitation for social justice and promote national unity.

7. A taxation regime extended to Nigerians in Diaspora at a lower rate

of 3% since Nigerians overseas pay a variety of taxes, including

income taxes, in their host countries.
8. An implementation of this taxation policy effective from October 1.

From my estimates, ten times more revenues annually will accrue to the

federal and state governments than revenues from oil alone. With this

enhanced revenue profile, there will be more than enough funds for

building infrastructures, providing services, and supporting social

and security networks nationwide. Such government spending will boost

aggregate demand, stimulate socio-economic growth in the nation, and

enable employment of all Nigerian youth which will improve the

security posture of the nation. Without the boost of income taxation,

oil revenues alone are neither sufficient to change the socio-economic

posture of Nigeria nor of the magnitude needed to implement the wishes

of the Nigerian people expressed in the recommendations of the 2014

National Conference.
9. An implementation of taxation that involve millions of Nigerian tax

payers worldwide to whom politicians will be accountable, not to

godfathers, which will be helpful to our democracy.

10. An implementation of total salary packages for experienced civil

servants, teachers, police officers, and others in public service that

are comparable to those of politicians, but not exceeding twenty times

the per capita income, a global best practice. This will reduce the

lure of politics, and thus serve as a filter of those who pursue

politics for the stupendous salaries that politicians currently

shamelessly pay themselves. It will also encourage people to pay their

income taxes with the understanding that politicians and others will

no longer be able to pay themselves astronomical salaries. Politicians

and other experienced public servants who cannot live on paychecks of

up to a maximum of twenty times the per capita should be encouraged to

try the private sector to see if they can do better.

The two litmus tests that will show whether there is a prospect of the

change, and not a charade, that millions of people in Nigeria want

1. Your support for the emergence of the Speaker and Deputy Senate

President/Senate President from the South.
2. Your commitment to end the exploitation of the oil producing states

in the Southsouth through the implementation of income taxation from

October 1, 2015.
I strongly urge you to take a public stance on these two litmus tests

issues as soon as possible, and definitely before you assume office on

the 29th of May, 2015. Nigerians do not want to move from the frying

pan of Boko Haram, to the fire of events in the South that may lead to

the break up of the country.
Nigeria, is a purposeful, principled, patriotic, and pragmatic

leadership away from becoming a socially just, socio-economically

prosperous, and a diversity tolerant nation with the prospect of

becoming a prosperous economy with a GDP of over a trillion US

I pray and hope that you will provide that leadership. May God grant

you wisdom, guidance, courage, and tenacity for the task ahead, amen.

Best wishes.
Abitunde Taiwo.

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Articles by Abitunde Taiwo