Text of Peter Obi’s conversation on PROSPECTS OF TRANSFORMATIVE GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA at Harvard University, USA.
- We will offer a new brand of transformative and purposeful leadership. The overall goal of my administration shall be to streamline governance, make it more responsive, transformative, effective, less transactional, and therefore efficient and cost-effective.
- Thinking through 2023 and beyond, we must think seriously about a leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment. Accordingly, we will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, security of lives and properties; We will ensure that we have these assets in place and stress asset optimization. We will strike a strategic balance that allows us to promote and protect national interest, while meeting our ECOWAS obligations.
- We will rebuild Nigeria’s military power, promote economic growth, and enhance its technological prowess with a view to improving Nigeria’s diplomatic influence in sub-regional, regional and global affairs.
Restoring leadership will require that we reassert proactively, Nigeria’s leadership role in African affairs through constructive engagement, peacekeeping duties, and using existing sub-regional and regional forums as well as bilateral platforms for dialogue on current and emerging challenges. We will continue to enhance our sphere of influence via peacekeeping, and trade and investment initiatives.
- We shall ensure that in moving Nigeria forward, no state or community will be left behind. Pursuant to its statutory responsibility to protect, our Government will promote equity in power and resource sharing. The federating units will enjoy discernible autonomy. Resources will also be shared equitably. A higher derivation paid to oil or solid minerals producing states will not be tantamount to other states not receiving federal allocations that should keep them viable. We must transcend the rhetoric that bedevils a robust debate on some of these national questions.
- We will respect the principles of federal character, affirmative action and gender balance; but no longer at the expense of merit.
- We will tweak the security architecture, which will entail reform of the security sector and governance. We will Restructure, Re-equip and Reorient the Nigerian Police: This will include 3 level policing- Federal, state and community.
- We will build a Compact, Robust and Ready Mobile Police Force with Rapid Response Deployment capabilities; and Legislate the Establishment of State Police based on Community policing. We will raise the population to police officer ratio to a higher level.
- A properly manned, equipped and technologically driven security system with particular emphasis on re-focusing the military on external threats and border protection and police on internal security threats and law enforcement; swift prosecution of criminals, bandits and terrorists; enhanced coordination among security agencies; and upholding the rule of law.
- Integrate the activities of the National Intelligence and Security Agencies by establishing a Central Reporting Intelligence loop under the authority the Minister of National & Homeland Security.
- Establish a National Command and Control Coordination Center for the efficient management of actionable intelligence, resource allocation and force deployment. Membership should consist of representatives of all security agencies on a need to know basis.
- The oil theft is not petty pilfering. It is organized crime by a syndicate that involves a certain degree of sophisticated intelligence and logistical arrangement. We must admit that oil theft is happening because there is domestic and external collusion. The government and the people have the collective responsibility to protect national assets. On my watch those responsibilities will be accorded high priority.
- Foreign and National Security policy initiatives, might in the long term entail rebuilding, repositioning and sustaining ECOMOG, as the arrowhead of a West African Security partnership. This is to counter terrorist threats and international subversion of the sovereignty of the West African region of which Nigeria must re-establish her place as a regional power.
- We will explore ways of cushioning the forex demands by mainstreaming those components of Diaspora remittances that remain opaque and informal.
- We are challenged by high youth unemployment, which stands at 33.3%; 54% for the youth; and 20 million out-of-school-children. We must give this country back to the Nigerian youths. Half of our 200 million people are below the age of 30.
- Harnessing our national youth strength and demographic dividends intelligently, must start with curbing the high youth unemployment and creating funding access to enable our youths become entrepreneurs and drivers of our Small and Medium Scale enterprises (SMEs).
- We will have zero tolerance for corruption; block leakages and cut the cost of governance. Our total commitment to transparency and accountability in government business is the only credible way to achieve limited to zero corruption.
- We will enforce the legal framework protecting foreign investors and their indigenous partners. This is the only way to tamper monopoly and capital flight.
- As governor of Anambra State, my administration achieved close to a 60-40 gender balance in appointive and elective positions. The national target has hovered around 30-35%. We intend to progressively aim for between 35-40%, with aggressive gender mainstreaming action plan and rigid benchmarks.
- As part of our monetary policy, we will seek to re-establish the independence of the CBN; and commit to a credible and transparent plan to normalize the exchange rate and bring inflation to single digits. We will remove import and forex restrictions and insist on a single forex market. The current system penalizes exporters who bring in forex by forcing them to sell at a rate that they are unable to source for forex when they need to purchase forex. This multiple exchange rate regime encourages capital flight and deters investment, which has further worsened Nigeria’s forex situation.
- My top priorities on getting into office :
- – Production-centered growth for food security and export.
- – Securing and Uniting Nigeria.
- – Effective legal and institutional reforms (rule of law, corruption and government effectiveness).
- – Leapfrogging Nigeria from oil to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
- – Expanding physical infrastructure through market-driven reforms (unleashing growth-enabling entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations).
- – Human capital development that empowers competitiveness; and Robust foreign policy that restores Nigeria’s strategic relevance.
- We are spending more on recurrent expenses. And we are borrowing frivolously. I am not against loans per se; but we must stop borrowing for consumption. All loans must be invested in regenerative projects. We must operate within available resources and strive for a balanced national budget as cost saving measures. Ending the leakages including the subsidy regime and improving our tax regime should do the magic.
- Lack of political will and lack of synergy between the Executive and Legislative arms has resulted in a costly inertia in tackling our oversized government. The result is persisting turf fights and competition among several overlapping agencies, and the resultant wastages. Cost-cutting measures must start with rationalization and harmonization. Pruning the size of government will be imperative.
God bless you all.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.