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( http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/international.cfm ).
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
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.