Hurray, our great country Nigeria is 61 years old today as an independent nation. Our great country is 107 years old as Nigeria under British rule after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by lord Lugard on January 1, 1914.
It is yet another Independence day and a time for stock-taking to identify both our weaknesses and strengths, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) as a people and a nation.
Certainly, there are challenges particularly in insecurity, unemployment, economy and corruption but there is still much to celebrate on this Independence day. By and large, the Buhari administration has shown the political will to confront these challenges hence all Nigerians particularly the youths should support and encourage government to fulfil its promises to the people.
On SECURITY, it is clear that the number of security operatives – military and the police- is inadequate to confront the myriad of security challenges facing our dear nation: banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, secession.
Our dear country currently has about 370,000 policemen which is far below the number that can build the required capacity to secure the country from bandits, terrorists and secessionists. There is the need to double this number and recruit another 370,000 policemen so that each state and the FCT could have 10,000 new police men.
Moreover, there is the need to recruit at least 185,000 military personnel so that each state and the FCT will have 5,000 military personnel to face these growing challenges of insecurity.
In his independence anniversary address to the nation today, President Buhari has announced his directives to the Nigerian police to recruit 10,000 personnel annually which is good but these numbers need to go much higher because Turji’s battalion alone is more than 1,000 bandits.
To curb insecurity, there is the need to deploy technology. The use of mobile phones by kidnappers to negotiate ransom payment must be stopped through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).
The federal government is TOO LENIENT on criminals and needs to be tougher. Offences such as kidnapping and banditry should be moved from state laws to federal laws because kidnapping is now nationwide and not specific to states. The penalty for kidnapping, banditry, secession and terrorism should be public hanging so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Bandits are terrorists and should be treated as such. The outlawed terrorist group so-called indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) should be decimated once and for all. Any person who associates himself with IPOB should be branded a terrorist and made to face the law. Media houses, print and electronic should be stopped from promoting IPOB propaganda. Any media house that promotes IPOB or Boko haram propaganda should have its licence withdrawn immediately and any agents prosecuted.
IPOB is outlawed terrorist organisation so why should any lawyer be allowed to represent them in court? That lawyer who comes to court to defend IPOB is also a member of IPOB and should be arrested and prosecuted.
JOB CREATION should be a top priority of the federal government. Obviously, the public sector cannot provide the required number of jobs for Nigerians hence the need to build a private sector driven and skills-based economy. Building a private sector driven economy will involve imparting hands-on skills to Nigerian youths to empower them and enable them set up small businesses. There is no gainsaying the fact that small businesses are the engine room of the economy. To this end, there is the need for the federal government to build 774 SKILLS ACQUISITION CENTRES in the country-one in each of the 774 LGAs.
These skills acquisition centres will train millions of Nigerian youths in different hands-on trades such as welding, plumbing, brick laying, tailoring, etc and thd government should support them to set up their small businesses.
In his Independence day address, President Buhari said very encouraging words about NIGERIAN YOUTHs. He gave the few youths currently serving in his government a pass mark and pledged to bring more youths into government. This encouraging statement by Mr President is the result of many years of hard work, selflessness, dedication to duty and pan-Nigerianism that Nigerian youths have shown. Nigerian youths are the best assembly of exceptional talents you can’t find anywhere in the world in diverse areas: ICT, medicine, engineers, sports etc. Indeed, Nigerian youths are reliable, dependable and ready to take over the mantle of leadership of this great country in 2023.
Nigerian youths are calling on President Buhari to do everything within his powers towards ensuring that Nigerian youths take over power in 2023 and a Nigerian youth becomes the next President of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Indeed, Nigeria needs a young, vibrant President and a new crop of leaders to guide her into the digital era. The current crop of conventional politicians cannot change Nigeria. Nigerian youths will bring new and fresh ideas into government to get Nigeria take its rightful place in the county of nations and build the NEW NIGERIA of our dreams.
DEAR PRESIDENT BUHARI,
PLEASE HAND OVER TO A YOUTH AS PRESIDENT IN 2023 AND LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY
Congratulations and Happy Independence anniversary.
DR ABUBAKAR ALKALI
Convener, Movement for a New Nigeria (MNN).