Five easy-to-make changes I’ll like to see in Nigeria real soon

1) Less bureaucracy and less paper work.
A lot of those papers are unnecessary. Cut the chase and get straight to the point. Believe it, many court cases drag for years and justice is denied simply because the judge thinks the lawyers have not filed the correct papers which usually run into thousands of pages. Who reads them? This isn’t just a problem of the judiciary, it’s everywhere. Reduce government paper consumption and reduce how many office desks people have to queue up at before they get their needs met.

2) Review how government collects and pays out money.
Let the government practice an in-house cashless culture. I’m tired of hearing of bags of cash being found on people closest to the government. Then we launch investigations that cost us even more money only to find out that the fellow did have some right to have the cash. Sometimes, those investigations fail to go deep enough and we don’t discover fraud until it’s too late to correct it. Does government need to collect money? Let that be arranged through designated banks and automate many government services. An example is the idea of collecting call up letters for National Youth Service online, and it is great. But then the costs should be very reasonable. Very cheap, I mean. Cheaper than what it would cost to get it over a desk. If online transactions are costlier than over-the-desk activities, then something weird is happening. All over the world, automated services are far cheaper than the manual methods.

3) Review work and salary structure in the country.
A few days ago, I heard of how level 14 ‘teachers’ were being paid far less than a level 6 employee within the same government. Was the fellow saying the truth?. That would be unfair. It’s unjustifiable. Levels in government work should come with a specific and uniform salary scale. Or else, re-base the whole level scheme. Are we going to pay and promote people based on their skill profile and professional services? Or we going to pay and promote them based on how many years they have put in to service? Clearly if we choose the former, which I think is a great idea, the current classification of government employees may have to undergo change. Thankfully, change is not an alien idea to the leaders in power. It is possible that in the course of effecting this change, government could block the hole of ghost workers.

4) Start studies on how to make investments in computer products and services, machine manufacturing, and alternative energy a success. Agriculture is not a substitute for earnings from crude oil. Agriculture products don’t sell as high as minerals in the international market when compared gram for gram. And they won’t. The reason is not hard to see. Expensive agriculture products are not a celebrated phenomenon. It’s a crisis. You can’t sell a bag of rice like you’d sell an iPad. How many Nigerians can afford it? Many barely manage to afford petroleum products, not minding the fact that we make our biggest income portion from sale of crude oil. But who says we can’t make iPads and the like in Nigeria and sell abroad? If China can, why can’t we? What prevents us from being major stakeholders in computer products, car manufacturing and alternative energy? It won’t happen at once. That’s why we need to start feasibility studies now so that soon we can have these things up and running.

5) News media should drop their sensationalism.
I’m tired of seeing really silly headlines like, ‘why we gave the Senate presidency to Saraki – PDP’ What?! That’s bad news reporting! Is the Senate president answerable to a party or does he get his office from a party? ‘Why we gave…’ How could the editor allow such a headline? Sensationalism. ‘Why we voted for Saraki as Senate president- PDP senators’ would have been a practical, mature and more accurate headline. I think news editors should be more mature in giving us what edified us intellectually and politically. I am of the opinion that much of the political rancor we have had in the country have been fuelled by insensitive media products. I think these guys should realize that they are a part of the polity and what they say or do may have far reaching effects on the heart, mind and direction of the nation.

If these five are in place, say in the next hundred days, I’d be really happy. It’s possible, don’t you think?

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About Johnson Boyede

Johnson Boyede, B.Sc in International Relations. He wrote 'Addressing terrorism in Nigeria and possible spill over into West Africa' for his Long Essay. He contributes scholarly writings to an open facebook group, 'League of Diplomats'. He agrees and runs with the opinion of Paul Romer that, "Knowledge is a non-rival nature and only partly excludable... In an open society, knowledge's non-rival nature means that a piece of new information can be used over and over again, by different people, in varying contexts and to make new things...one good piece of knowledge will live several lifetimes, undergo different iterations and be put to ever more unique purposes."
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