Eastern Governors-‘The Peoples Terrorist(S)’ Not IPOB.
Few months ago, i wrote an open letter to our South Eastern Governors, suggesting practical ways to move south eastern economy out of the wood. I personally sent my free professional advice to the email boxes of these Governors. But, what did i receive? No response!! Are we cursed? Or Are we the cause of our problem?
Nnamdi Kanu is being celebrated today all over the world. Like him or hate him. It is not important. I have personally disagreed with Nnamdi Kanu on his methodology. The last time i visited him in Kuje with Chinedu Asuzu,i told Kanu that he has made a name for himself and should change strategy goingforward. We discussed on how to adopt political strategy to further our quest for self determination which is our inalienable rights as human.I told Kanu that he has the ordinary people behind him and that no force could stop him if he goes political but to him, they will use state machinery to frustrate him.Kanu told us that Nigeria Politicians should not be trusted and that he preferred civil disobedience within the law than got his men into Nigeria politics. We tried to convince him to see the futility of being on the other side but he advised us to go home and think.
The second encounter was when he paid homage to Dr Ikedife at Nnewi.He was advised to adopt the Customary Government model so as to operate within the law and that the issue of no election would not be viable option for the struggle but the masses behind Kanu always had their ways. As at today thousands of young people are ready to put down their young and productive lives for Nnamdi Kanu.The question is : What has actually gone wrong? Nnamdi Kanu is an orator and he delivers his points though vulgar sometimes with utmost precision!! He is a genius in public speech presentation. He has a global voice-Radio Biafra.Unfortunately; our Governors with Billions of taxpayers’ money at their disposal could develop an alternate template to lure the ordinary people to their sides. The Governors develop programs to make the masses poor and beggarly so as to buy the people with N2000 during election. In Kanu message, people saw hope! As far as millions of IPOB members, Kanu is a messiah that has come to set the ordinary people free, free from economic enslavement and free from every difficult situation.
Below is the open letter i sent to South Eastern Governors months ago.
This is time to think outside the box. This is no time for conferences or seminars. You have no time for long proposals or signing of MOUs without financial commitment. The present economic situation in Nigeria calls for the application of common and village senses. Let me remind you that about 89% of projected revenue for 2016 budget is expected from crude oil proceeds. The hostility ongoing in Niger Delta will come with severe negative consequences. There is no doubt that the hostility will be sustained for several reasons. The major reason being the glaring inequalities that have existed among the different classes in Nigeria for decades most especially in the oil producing communities and the level of awareness already created in the social media.
It is expected that the monthly revenue allocation to State Government(s) will nosedive in the subsequent months with dire consequences on salary payment(s).With the dwindling revenue allocation from the powerful centre; the State Government(s) are left with one option- internal generated revenue. Unfortunately, many States in the east depend on federal allocation for survival. The structure of revenue sharing gave so much power to the federal government. The task before us now is how to raise fund from the businesses within the State. This is where the problem lies!! How many factories are producing in the entire 10 old eastern region (excluding oil related companies)? What do we do to inject money into the eastern economy? What do we do to put money into the hands of households? Gen Ojukwu was able to work with the people during the Biafra war. During the war,Ojukwu ran a closed economy depending on local production and self help for survival. We may face the same situation now though in a different circumstances. How do we survive as a people without Abuja support should be bothering our 10 former eastern governors right now?
This is where simple economic model will be applied. We need to study the behaviour of income(y), savings(s),consumption(c) and investment(i).
Put in equation form: Y=S+C+I
I want you to know that about 10 million youths are jobless in all your states. Another 10 million youths under the age of 45 that work in private companies earn salaries not enough to take them home.Most workers in private companies receive monthly salaries less than N15,000.
Let me give you the economic implication(s) of the above scenario to your State economy .Western States like Lagos and Ogun have invested wisely to increase their internal generated revenue and this will induce consumption, savings and investment.
If you have 500,000 jobless youths in your State,the implication is that they earn zero income which means zero consumption ,zero savings and zero investment. If workers are underpaid in your states,it means that they will close the month with zero savings and zero investment with limited consumption. When Y is 0, automatically=0.The relationship between income and consumption is positive. When households are not earning income, ofcourse they do not consume. Low consumption affects savings and investment. This picture comes with negative consequence on volume of company sales, profitability, expansion and hiring of labour.
Right now business is at standstill in the entire eastern region because of delay in budget implementation and dwindling revenue allocation. What do we do to put money back to circulation? The recommendation(s) below should be considered:
1.Each State in the East should automate the process of issuing land title document and reduce the process time to 2 weeks maximum. The cost of processing and issuing C of O and re-certification should be reduced to less than N50,000 .Lagos ,Ogun,Abuja are all smiling to the banks because of efficiency recorded in processing title document(s).Banks in Nigeria are not playing their traditional role of market inter-mediation and this is why income is not evenly redistributed.However,State Government can guarantee loan to corporative societies and citizens with CofO with good business plan and well defined value chain. Efficient management of land title document(s) will increase State revenue and force Banks to lend money to the businesses within the States. This singular action will ensure circular flow of income within the state economy.
- State Government should select one microfinance Bank from each Local Government in the State, keep 50% of security vault monthly provision in the Banks or any other fund. Instruct the microfinance Banks to do cash –back lending to organised corporative societies with value chain arrangement. Each local government will be trained to go into a specialized form of farming like snail value chain corporative, fish value chain corporative, cassava value chain corporative, tomato value chain corporative, Igbo cow rearing value chain corporative etc.Injection of fund into this value chain with strict monitoring will put a lot of money back to the system and households will commence normal consumptions which comes with multipliers effects. I know that the Governor of Anambra State has a fish value chain arrangement though has not been funded. All the primary schools and secondary schools including Churches will be encouraged to key into the value chain arrangement to keep everybody busy. A state with surplus food productions will always pay salaries and have enough to fund infrastructural development. Note that economy is driven by households and small businesses.
- Cut cost of running Government: This is where i have issues with our politicians. Why should a Governor be moving around with 15 vehicles at this period of economic recession? This is irrational behaviour!!! There are so many political appointees that are not adding any value but just for political patronage. Any Governor that wants to go for second tenure should get close to the people, to the communities through projects. You do not need to share money during election if you can get your State working. Governance is not about building roads or bridges but the number of people you can put smiles on their faces through policies. I will recommend that all these special assistant following Governors, Governors wives should be sent to manage farm settlement (s)with defined targets. The game is changing now that there is no free money any place.
- Each State should establish price control board and marketing board: We still operate mixed economy.Governnment should always intervene in the market forces for the purpose of stabilization and to discourage primitive accumulation .I know that Nigeria does not have reliable database to achieve effective monitoring of individual players in the economy but the State Governors can be proactive to achieve set desired results. I also know that the present political and economic structure of Nigeria do not encourage competition like the days of Okpalla when the eastern economy was the fastest growing economy in the entire west Africa but we can still manipulate the fiscal policies to attract our people home. Governors should try to narrow the communication gap that existed between the masses and those inside the government houses. A town hall meeting and bi-weekly media chat/phoning program with Chief Executives should be introduced by all the Eastern Governors. I have a problem when government agencies want to maximize profit for every public service rendered yet they impose heavy tax on the same poor masses. African Leaders have not understood the core obligation of government which is maximization of social welfare.Ojukwu was able to command followership even after the war because of his love for the common people.
- State Government should be seen to be fighting Corruption. This will start with public declaration of asset. I have never seen any state government fighting corruption. How many Governors have declared their asset to the public? What is wrong with Governors insisting that every public officer must issue open declaration of asset. There are some individuals that are richer than the State yet they do not pay tax. Governors run their state as personal business yet they hardly hesitate to inform you that there is no money to pay salaries or pay contractors .Primitive accumulation of wealth not needed is one of the major problems facing us in the eastern Nigeria.A Governor that is not interested in fighting corruption will not have moral right to question the corrupt activities of his numerous appointees. We should begin to ask people in government how they make their money and to give account of their stewardship.
The above recommendation(s) are not exhaustive but it is my conviction that if the above are implemented without political considerations, the masses will start breathing fresh air and will not hesitate to celebrate such Governor even after 8 years in office.
We are still Nigerians by citizenship but Biafrans by indigenous identities and shall continue to participate in issues that affect our collective lives while still in Nigeria. The pursuit for Biafra is pursuit for equity, fairness and justice. Nigeria has never given many of us in the eastern Nigeria justice. How many Nigerians have biometric national identity cards? Do we know our population sizes? It is not possible to plan when you do not know the number of people you would be planning for. It is only in Nigeria that somebody from Ghana can sneak into the country and obtain Nigeria International passport without encountering any difficulty. Many do not know that Nigeria Leaders are afraid of the past and would not want the Nigeria system to work. This is why we –Biafrans are in federal high court ,Owerri with Nigeria Government as we know that an economic policy that works in Ghana might not work in Nigeria because of what many will call ‘Nigeria factor’.
To be continued.
Ndubuisi is an economist and Image Maker of CG-IPOB