My mission is simple. To restore the dignity of our country Nigeria through people-first leadership, inclusive governance and creating an environment for the creation of opportunities and the redistribution of prosperity thereby reigniting hope in the hearts of its citizens.
To break the vicious cycle of poverty and social isolation and to restore hope for a better future. I believe that every person has the right to access opportunities in order to live and develop with dignity and to become an active and contributing member of our society.
Our nation is at a crossroads and as someone who has been on both sides of the divide, I pose this question to every well-meaning Nigerian “Do we give up on our dear nation Nigeria and the promise she holds, or do we keep our hearts aflame with the hope of what we can be and work actively towards achieving it?
As a great people and a great nation, we have come too far to let go of all the progress we have made and succumb to despair, anarchy and retrogression. I enjoin every Nigerian to keep Hope Alive and dare to believe in a New Nigeria, a Nigeria that works for its citizens.
The Nigeria we need to build from now is one where there is hope for everyone to become what he/she aspires to be irrespective of tribe, tongue or social standing. I want to revive the hope in this great nation by its people and its admirers by leading a government that puts its people first, banks on the future by empowering its young people, makes promises and keeps them and most importantly, creates an enabling environment for everyone to prosper.
My vision is of a nation whose citizens are the focal point of all leadership and governance. I hope to represent a nation where women, youths, children and differently-abled persons will be given adequate representation in the Govt of the day. Where young people, the strength of our nation will contribute their ideas, energy, talents and resources to build a nation that works. My vision for Nigeria is one where women’s rights will be upheld and protected, where they will be given more recognition and an equal pedestal within economic and political spheres. My vision is of a nation where strategic leadership positions will be occupied based on merit and competence and not nepotism and favouritism. I will propose the 50-30-20 formula to drive this agenda.
Despite having a fraction of India's population, Nigeria has overtaken the South Asian country as the poverty capital of the world. As it stands, Nigeria is not growing fast enough to provide more capital for the new population to work with. Our focus will not be on reducing poverty but on creating prosperity and the distribution of economic opportunities for everyone. We will achieve this by boosting productivity and expansion in new sectors of the economy that create jobs from some key sectors like Agriculture and the entire agribusiness and agro-allied value chain which accounts for more than two-thirds of Nigeria’s active labour population.
We will also pursue a re-commitment to the Ease of doing business in Nigeria agenda which will focus on creating a sustainable and enabling environment for small, micro and medium enterprises to thrive. We will also focus on optimising other sectors such as Maritime, Mining and Steel, Sports and Entertainment for export so as to boost trade and increase foreign exchange into the nation’s economy.
A nation divided against itself cannot prosper. Our diversity as a people if harnessed properly can be a fountain of peace and progress for our dear nation and we the people as we have witnessed before now. I believe that our diversity in and of itself is not our problem but rather what we have chosen to do with it. There is a need to reestablish value systems, that are inclusionary and developmental, which tolerate cultural differences and support principles of honesty, integrity and justice and my government will ensure that the right legal and constitutional tools are engaged in the achievement of this purpose.
Nigeria has been long engaged in the federalism question. It is clear that because of our diverse nature and large size, the political system best suited for Nigeria is a federal system. We however need to understand the best type of federalism that works for nations like ours and adopt such a model to better optimise the Nigerian state to function optimally.
A simple solution to this is the devolution of powers. Exclusive and concurrent legislative lists exist in the Constitution. There are 98 power-related items on these lists. The Federal Government has exclusive authority over 68 things on the exclusive list, while the States may only exercise authority over the concurrent list if the Federal Government has not already "covered the field" on any of the 30 items.
My government will set up a committee to review the 98 items of power and assign what is best to the Federal and what is best to the states, based on the principle of subsidiarity. This is the first step.
Nigeria currently has 10.5 million out of school children. Our universities are constantly on month-long strikes and our educational curricula are largely outdated. We have to redefine what education means to us in our own context. Where education is everything that can be used to empower our citizens towards self-sufficiency. This creates a clear definition of the role of citizens and their leaders in various capacities. I propose the following strategies:
More Nigerians are killed, not exactly by infections, but by a comatose health care system. According to statistics, with Nigeria's population at about 200 million, the ratio of doctors per patient remains 1:5,000 as against the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommendation of 1:600. We have also witnessed a recent crisis in the health sector with frequent strikes and mass exodus of doctors to Saudi Arabia and other countries thereby increasing the doctor-patient ratio. Among the many lessons we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, we realised that Public-Private Partnership (PPP) can solve the challenge of the country’s health care infrastructure as Many of the facilities for testing, and for managing Covid-19 patients were provided partly through investments from the private sector. We will all agree that this helped a great deal in preventing a full-blown collapse of our nearly-dead health sector under the pressure of the pandemic. We will adopt the same model in a bid to improve health delivery for Nigerians. Replicating such partnerships can ensure that decent medical care is available in Nigeria. Rather than losing a billion dollars yearly to other countries, the money for health care can be spent and invested within the country to grow the sector.
We will also tackle the issue of brain drain among doctors and other healthcare professionals by setting up the “National Health Care Reinvestment Fund” an investment vehicle that specifically invests in the welfare, training and retraining of healthcare professionals. This will be derived by channelling 1% of the national budget (50% of the fund) and the rest will be contributed by the private sector and international partners. This will see up to 5% of the nation’s budget set aside for the health sector. We will also adopt a Primary Health Care Infrastructure Collaboration Initiative which seeks to provide improved funding to existing Primary health care centres and construct 500 new centres in 3 years. Primary health care centres make up 86% of Nigeria’s health care facilities. In this model, the private sector designs, finances, and constructs the health facility in line with the government’s requirements. The private firm also handles renovation and maintenance, as well as operating non-clinical services like catering, cleaning and infrastructure management. The government pays the private company for these services over time. It is also responsible for providing the main healthcare services such as the workforce.
“Everyone needs a roof over their head” and any nation that has provided housing for its people has solved half of its problems. A healthy housing sector in any country is often reflective of a thriving economy. It's one of the best indicators to measure the welfare of a population. The World Bank estimates that Nigeria needs to build at least one million homes yearly to close the housing deficit which stands at almost 21 million.
One strategy I will propose is the improvement of the existing policy for homeownership because housing costs (like rent) take up a significant portion of people’s wages, having an effective ownership scheme helps citizens worry less about the cost. Nigerian mortgages are not a viable option as interest rates are in the double digits. The ratio of mortgage loans to GDP is less than 1% in Nigeria, compared to 34% in South Africa. Fellow strugglers, Ghana and Senegal, have a rate of 4% and 2% respectively.
We can also attribute the high costs of housing to high costs of construction (materials and labour factors) and my government will focus on improving our capacity to power and produce building materials. Effective housing links to social peace. Social peace is a treasure for society to move forward.
We need to understand that complex days are coming for our country and democracy. We need to ensure we have the right leadership that is not tribalistic or sentimental. We need leadership that is progressive and people-first and this is what I am bringing to the table. I will provide leadership that understands Nigeria’s political body language for political evolution and effective negotiation; one that fits square pegs in square holes.
We will build a future-facing government whose primary focus will be to create an enabling environment for the youths to thrive and build the future. My administration would also integrate accomplished Diaspora Nigerians who would serve in official and unofficial capacities and play a part in speeding up the growth of our nation’s already thriving technology and innovation ecosystem.
My Government will actively pursue innovative governance, regulation and policy approach to create more Special Economic Zones (SEZs) specific to each region in the bid to lift as many people out of poverty. We will encourage the creation and building of smart cities, export processing zones, educational hubs, Industrial and manufacturing parks, sports cities, movie and entertainment hubs across Nigeria in a bid to bridge the development gaps and attract foreign direct investment into these specific sectors across the nation.
About 40% of Nigerians do not have access to electricity from the national grid, and even those who have access are victims of regular blackouts. The economic cost of these power shortages in Nigeria is estimated at around $28 billion - equivalent to 2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To put this in context, The CBN recently released data showing that Nigerians spend about $14 billion on petrol or diesel-powered generators and fuel annually. Nigeria’s power problem has lingered well over 40 years. How do we intend to produce enough for ourselves as a nation and export at the same time if we do not generate and distribute enough power to improve production?
Today, 81% of power generation comes from gas and the rest from hydro sources. Nigeria has an installed electricity generation capacity of 13,090 megawatts (MW) of electric power and we generate only about 5000MW.
My government will focus on increasing renewable energy generation capacity up to 60%. We will invite innovators, Independent power providers (IPPS) and tech firms to leverage solar, wind and biomass energy sources to provide off-grid solutions to effectively boost power generation and distribution to the smallest home and shop owners in the rural areas.
We will also amend our Electricity Regulations to allow companies to generate electricity and sell to the grid and other consumers without licences if they generate less than 100 MW.
A powered-up Nigeria is a producing Nigeria and as a result a prosperous Nigeria.
In 2020, the fragile states index for Nigeria was 97.27. This means that our dear nation is on the brink of falling apart. Nigeria is also ranked as the second most dangerous country to live in and some quarters where we were regarded as a security risk nation have now upgraded into an “extreme security risk nation”. The country faces major security threats across different regions, from terrorism to herders-farmers clashes, kidnappings, banditry, organized crime and trafficking, armed robbery and many more.
Security of lives and property is the major responsibility of any government and my government will be one that will combat the scourge of insecurity facing our nation today. I will be honest with you and admit that the fight against insecurity and insurgency has been handled with kids gloves and that we do not have the capacity to handle this hydra-headed monster. Nigeria’s insecurity problem is a direct result of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and weak family structures as these factors leave young people predisposed to crime and terrorism. As insecurity worsens, the economic situation for the poor gets even worse, which pushes more youths into crime.
I am calling on all Nigerians who believe in what this country can be, who believe that in the face of gloom and despair, that there is hope - hope in our unity, hope in our diversity as a strength and hope our will to press on in the face of a politics that's shut us out, that's told us to settle and has divided us for too long. I enjoin everyone who believes in our destiny as a people and our uniformity of purpose to birth a new nation and a new destiny for generations to come to join me on this journey. My name is Khadihaj Okunnu-Lamidi and I am on a mission to do the impossible. Join me today!