Proffers Smart Solutions for Economic Recovery
* Recommends Presidential Amnesty/Pardon for Treasury Looters,
As Nigeria marks the 56th Anniversary of her Independence, the
leadership at all levels of governance must begin to sacrifice more
to serve both as an example and an inspiration to the citizenry to
bond together and pull the nation out of the current economic
recession, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) has declared .
In his Anniversary Message in Abuja weekend, Melaye also urged
Nigerians not to despair yet, but to continue to support the federal
government in her determined effort to pull the nation out of the
recession. He also called on Nigerians to continue to show resolve
by seeking common ground to face the difficult economic realities
with unity of purpose.
" 56 years of independence as a sovereign state should, and ought
to be a time to roll out the drums and celebrate our journey to true
nationhood. Unfortunately, the present economic hardship has
denied Nigerians this luxury. What is required under the
circumstances is modesty and deep introspection on how we got
to this sorry pass. But more importantly , the current times calls
for more sacrifices on the part of the leadership from the local,
state to the federal levels". He added:
" Unlike so many other relationship fundamentals, leadership is a
top-bottom dynamic if it must inspire and command loyalty and
the needed follower-ship. At times like this, the leadership must
sacrifice more, give up some of its pecks of office, show more
compassion and empathy, and desist from leading opulent and
offensive lifestyles that are capable of inflaming passions amongst
the suffering masses.
"The change Begins with Me" gospel will resonate more with the
people if those at the helm of affairs show the way and lead by
example. While very tangible sacrifices are required of the
leadership at the moment, perhaps the leaders can begin with a
symbolic gesture. Since names and appellations matter, those at
the helm of affairs must immediately drop those appellations that
accentuates the existential divide between them and the citizenry
until there is a marked improvement in the material condition of the
" In this regard, I recommend that henceforth no President, Vice
President, Governor, or Deputy Governor should answer the name
'His Excellency' until the material condition of ordinary Nigerians
has also become 'Excellent'. No Senator should continue to
answer 'Distinguished' until the the masses of the people begin to
experience a distinguished existence and no Federal or state
Legislator should wear the badge of 'Honourable Member' until the
ordinary citizen is himself living a life that can be classified
Honourable in every material particular.
"This is a first significant step in erasing the class barrier that
misleads those at the helm of affairs into believing erroneously
that they deserve a better existence than the ordinary man on the
street, and thereby conferring them with the delusional legitimacy
to amass the public till on their behalf", he said.
Melaye is also offering his "Smart Solutions" to the current
economic crisis bedeviling the nation which if implemented are
capable of fast-tracking our way out of the recession. These Smart
Solutions range from the mundane, to the very radical.
"As a means of addressing the dwindling state of revenues
accruing to the federal government which is adversely affecting the
implementation of the 2016 budget, deliberate effort must be made
to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. This
can be achieved by improving the security situation in the North
East and the Niger Delta since no serious investor will put his his
resources in a climate where insecurity is a daily fare.
Government's effort in this direction must be two-prunged : a
combination of military action and a psychological warfare to win
the hearts and minds of the people in the two besieged regions.
" Government must also devise ways to pacify the Niger Delta
Avengers and other militant groups in the region through a very
creative, robust and efficient Amnesty programme. This
programme must also be implemented simultaneously with a
robust and sincere "Marshall Plan" for the development of the
region. The combined effect of the New Amnesty Programme and
the Marshall Plan will not only ensure sustainable peace and
development in the area, but also prevent the mutation of new
militant groups in the future since there would have been a
systemic disincentive for their emergence.
"Needless to add, sustainable peace in the Niger Delta would lead
to the security of oil installations, boost oil and gas production,
increase foreign exchange earnings, attract more revenue to the
coffers of the governments at all levels, facilitate the
implementation of budgets and ultimately result in a marked
improvement in the standard of living of the generality of the
citizenry, and not just for the privileged few", he emphasized,
"The diversification of the economy away from the current
mainstay-oil, to agriculture and manufacturing must also be
pursued more aggressively if Nigeria must be pulled out of the
recession in the shortest time possible. In this regard, access to
single digit interest facilities to investors in the agricultural and
manufacturing sectors should be made less tedious and seamless.
Tax holidays can also be considered as an incentive to get more
investors, both local and foreign to take to agriculture and
manufacturing to create jobs and boost the real sector.
"Furthermore, relevant laws must be reviewed and new ones
enacted to give states and local governments higher stakes and
autonomy in the exploration and exploitation of solid minerals in
their domains. This will breed competition amongst states and
local governments, create jobs, boost the local economy and
reduce unemployment, crime and other associated social vices".
Melaye, a dogged anti-corruption crusader and activist, is also
recommending Presidential Pardon and Amnesty for Treasury
Looters. There is a critical caveat though - Return the looted funds
within six months of the declaration of amnesty or face the full
wrath of the law.
"Though an unrepentant advocate for integrity and forthrightness
especially from public office holders, l however sincerely want to
recommend that Mr. President grants Presidential Amnesty/
Pardon to all those who looted our treasury provided they return
all proceeds of their loot to the government within six (6) months
of the declaration of the Amnesty.
"This, I believe will encourage the voluntary return of the the
looted funds, empower the government financially to immediately
commence the implementation of projects and programmes that
will stimulate the economy and raise the peoples' standard of
living, and save the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies
the agony of fruitlessly pursuing the looters in and out of the
courtrooms. In the long run, this would be a win-win situation for
both the government and people of Nigeria.
"At the expiration of the six months' 'Moratorium', all those who
failed to comply would then me made to face the reality of
aggressive and expeditious prosecution and eventual jail terms for
convicts in accordance with the laws of the land", he concluded.
Senator Dino Melaye
Credit - SDK blog