By Befi Tebira
Fellow Citizens, as the topic states, you may want to ask why we are setting the agenda for the 2019 elections now. The fact is, earlier this week INEC blew the whistle setting the time table for the 2019 elections and politicians like termites are busy plotting and scheming on how to rob the gullible public of their hard earned right to make critical decisions regarding their leaders come 2019.
As a private citizen, it is imperative for me to use this platform to generate this discourse as a way of raising concerns on our political future. It is possible that with serious engagement, our politicians will pay attention and give themselves a new orientation on the primary purpose of government.
Over the last 20 decades or more, we have had accidental leaders who have no enlightenment and education on the primary objective of government. Thus we find visionless leaders who are parochial, myopic and pedestrian in thinking and they carry this mentality into administration of government.
We may ask ourselves, what business does a government have building ecumenical centres and other mundane projects? Yet these governors and political agents are content with the fact that they have at least done something. Every year we find questionable projects in budget proposals while sidelining the critical sectors of the economy. Admittedly, there is a huge infrastructural deficit in the country; hence we often find our confused leaders trying to do everything at the same time and in the process end up achieving nothing but abandoned projects. The average politician only wants to engage in projects people can see irrespective of its viability, durability or economic significance. Thus in executing these projects, our politicians do so either to appeal their mundane selfish personal aggrandizement or are merely playing to the gallery.
This discourse aims at setting an agenda for any leader who thinks he deserves my vote in 2019. To begin with, the Constitution is very clear as to what the primary purpose of government should be. Section 14(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 aptly states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Thus every government as well as the political class must have the welfare and security of its people as its primary objective
If I must interpret this particular provision literarily, I think the core agenda of our political class should be as highlighted below and I have indicated the ratio of significance it must occupy in any budget proposal:
(a) Education: a minimum of 25% of our annual budget;
(b) Health: a minimum of 25% of our annual budget;
(c) Law enforcement, Judiciary and security: 10%;
(d) Agriculture: 10%;
(e) Youth development and sports:10%;
(f) Housing: 10% and
(g) Every other sector including recurrent expenditure must share 10% of the annual budget.
The current decay in these sectors demands that we must invest heavily in its infrastructure. It is hoped that until we achieve 70% infrastructural upgrade in these areas, we cannot afford to ignore these areas of the budget and we must rank them in priority to others.
Every fortnight, I will attempt to suggest detailed policy framework on each of these core agenda and I hope that this will generate the needed engagement to enable us as citizens place demands on our government. We must hold our governments to account.