Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The time for change is now.

Nigeria's Vice president shares a platform with the Governors of South-South Nigeria. Photo: Facebook

I don't know why African leaders love power so much.
To become chairman of an ordinary Age -grade association is too much headache , you can imagine ruling a complex society like Nigeria.

I learnt the president is a medical tourist here, when i was hailing him for putting a stop to medical tourism so that our local health care institutions can be strenghtened.
His private jet will spend about ten nights here incurring couple of thousands of pounds as parking fees; i heard it's a lot , about $32K per night. I'm not sure of this figure.

You see you can't take on the UK. If you start, i wonder where you will run to if you suddenly become ill.
I read some facebook posts yesterday where someone was talking about returning vulture funds to Nigeria. He was suggesting that the government should use foreign investors profit as a bet/condition to returning vulture funds. I simply laughed. Lets leave this for now.

I've been asked to write about health care policy in Nigeria.: Why is this issue so challenging for policy makers to address?
I know that we have a system called 'Out of pocket' system; where people were just paying for healthcare out of their own pockets. I know there are many uninsured people, many people do not have insurance either either through the government or through an employer as they do not have jobs
I know the past government talked about health
insurance/'community health insurance, but don't know if it featured on the current parliamentary bills. I even mentioned it as one of the products of Imo People development foundation having been invited to attend couple of international conferences on microinsurance ,etc.
Lets leave this for now. I'm still putting the assignment together.

The world is now changing fast. I think former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is very correct calling for reforms to make our union strong.: Devolve the center's powers so that state and local governments can get to work instead of too much dependence on the center for resources and patronage.

The funny thing is this: the job at the center is so tedious that only one man cannot handle it.
 The current constitution is so funny that even the role of Vice -President and Deputy Governors is difficult to tell. I wonder why this.

The Mayor of London controls the whole London Transport budget including Housing , Policing, etc.
Lets get the states and local governments to work instead of waiting for monthly allocation and fighting for who will become the Care-taker Chairman.

If we get the states and local governments to work given them the autonomy they deserve this will enable them to become competitive to drive development. They can even leverage other international, financial, organizational support to grow their territories and empower ordinary people.
Lets see if they take loans from international organizations,if they will use such loans to buy private jet.

What happens at the local government is laughable. I never forget a scenario when an illiterate woman who sells smoked fish in our local market was appointed a member of the care-taker committee of the local government,,they said she was even the second in command because she was a relative of a powerful national politician. She was asked to read a speech, she said she couldn't because she forgot her reading glasses.

Until we learn to place national interest above personal, religious, ethnic and political interests we may not get the future we want for our children.
This thing is very simple: Share the reources in a fair and equitable manner, strenghten transparency institutions , give more power to the people through local administrations,Embrace market driven strategies, build new relationships.

Unfortunately ordinary people don't know the powers they possess.
Devolution of powers will help drive "good governance, bring democracy closer to citizens, empower local communities and drive political accountability and transparency that come with small scale politics"

The more autonomy at the local level, the more we remove infrastructural weakness, deficiencies in personnel and increase governance capacity to help make the local governments meet their new competencies and responsibilities.

What we have currently is a pseudo-system characterised by elite capture. Our local governments are hijacked by some state Governors to serve their interests, that of their family, friends and political associates.

"Most advanced democracies/economies happen to have decentralized political systems with strong local governments"

This is 21st century where we must do more , move away from the status-quo and embrace the real change.

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