In 1945, precisely the 7th of December,the Japanese kamikaze pilots had bombed pearl Harbour, when President Roosevelt was told, he summoned his cabinet. Obviously everyone was shattered and hurt and he needed to inspire confidence. Mr Roosevelt rose from his chair; in great pain, (Roosevelt had suffered polio and was paralyzed) and muttered “America must rise”.
Leaders shine through in the darkest times. Winston Churchill was prominent during the second world, hence after the war, the British people did not re-elect him. This shows you that leaders are situation based. I had a conversation with a friend that stated to me that the over-liberalism of Barack Obama was precursor to Donald trump elections because the conservative voice was terribly silenced under Obama.
This begs the question: what leader does Nigeria need? First, what are the country’s issues?
The unemployment numbers in recent times have been staggering, a rise from 8% to 23% in the space of 5 years would lead to massive protests in some climes. The rate is also very scary due to underemployment. We have seen too many graduates becoming security guards and earning less than minimum wage value in some cases.
The National bureau of statistics puts the number at 18.2million as underemployed. The first visible evidence of this was the immigration jobs test of 2014. These numbers are quite scary and call for a leader that can truly incentivize the economy, a leader with the boldness for capital injection this happened when Harry Truman had to inject the European economy with 13 billion dollars after the Second World War.
GDP and population growth
The current level of GDP growth calls for leadership, when the GDP growth rate doesn’t commensurate with population growth rate, then there is a problem. It affects every part of the economy. According to the Philip curve, an econometric model describing a historical inverse relationship between rates of unemployment and corresponding rates of rises in wages that result within an economy. The stunted GDP growth impacting on unemployment definitely would lead to lower wages, hence the pervasive lower wages in society. The current GDP rate of 2.4% and Population growth rate of 2.6% brings its attendant problems and we must get a leader that can solve this challenge.
Tax to GDP ratio
A tax to GDP ratio of less than 10% in Nigeria is abysmal for development, hence the need for a leader to deepen the tax net. Neighboring Benin Republic does a better number in tax inclusion. The European Union has a threshold of over 45% tax to GDP ratio. Greece started to suffer because they have one of the least percentile of tax to GDP ratio in Europe. We need a leader that can find the solutions to the tax issues and increase the tax net. Taxes are panaceas to national development and no nation can effectively develop without a strong tax base.
With over 2 million people displaced in the north east and disruption of farming activities in Benue due to the farmer-herder crisis, the security situation calls for leadership. Nigeria needs a leader who can truly solve the security situation.The funds spent on security so far have been dumped in the well of corruption with little or no impact. There is a need for true solutions with intensive intelligence gathering and sincerity of operations.
The dismal rate of 13.1 million pupils out of school and less than 50 percent primary school complication rate is a ticking time bomb. We need leaders who can build schools and chart a roadmap for education of its citizenry. It is shocking that Nigeria has failed on all its targets towards educating its citizenry. We all remember vision 2010 and other botched visions. It behoves a great deal of pertinence in solving these problems.
In 1906, Walter Egerton, the colonial governor of Lagos and the southern protectorate had proposed pipe borne water across Lagos but today, there no pervasive pipe borne water in Lagos. A friend built his house in 1992 in Omole phase 1 estate in Lagos, and at that time, he had pipe borne water but in 2019, there is no pipe-borne water. This is a vivid indication of the dearth of infrastructure. A rail line to Ibadan is still a big deal in 2019, but in 1906 the Lagos-Ibadan rail line was extended to Osogbo. This shows that we need a leader who can truly develop infrastructure in Nigeria.
National unity is key for Nigeria to succeed. The civil war further heightened this discord amongst Nigerians. Hence the need for a leader who is de-tribalistic with political parties that should stop zoning. The leadership of every nation should be based on competence. America does not have a zoning system. Despite the fact that the United Kingdom is made up of three countries, the Prime Ministerial role isn’t zoned. We need to fully pursue national integration with an intent of true social inclusion and that’s what the next president of Nigeria should do. The current dearth of fiscal discipline in the Nigerian system leaves much to be desired. The current recurrent expenditure rate of over 60 percent is quite scary and the current debt to service ratio of close to 70 percent is indicative of a deeper fiscal insensitivity that needs to be nipped-in the bud.
Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement
This is the agreement between 49 African Union member states with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single currency union. It is poised to open up African possibilities and address the dismal inter-African trade status. It should be said, we need a leader who will sign and ratify this act quickly in a bid to position Nigeria properly with its vast potential. After negotiations for 15 years, China finally joining the world trade organization shores up their economy.
We need a leader who understands the mammoth potential of African trade and is ready to do business. Many people may bring in the brexit argument, but the UK is now understanding the importance of trading blocs. Joining the intergovernmental blocs are imperative for national development and the argument against these unions by anti-globalists reminds me of the arguments of the Luddites in industrial England.
In truth, Nigeria needs a president who can bring inclusion, make Nigeria a beehive of positive purposeful economic activities sautéed with peace, justice, social integration and governance.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect News Central’s editorial stance.
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