By Magnus Effiong, Pillar News
The Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi Local Government Area, HRM (Dr.) Etim Okon Edet has urged President Bola Tinubu to reset Nigeria, saying doing so would help the country achieve the goals and hope of its founding fathers.
In a chat with our reporter in Calabar, the Monarch said “I earnestly advise that the president should not waste time to reset Nigerian using what I call a tripod approach, and that is, taking the country as a constituency, tackling the rots in the local government system and upholding the sanctity of the traditional institution.
“Our country needs a reset because what we have today in all facets of our national life is a far cry from the dreams and visions of our founding fathers. For sixty-three years and counting, we are still crawling and going cap in hand to China, for instance, borrowing. Nigeria is at a crossroads and we must all propel this country to its zenith.
“For 63 solid years, we have not been able to fix our security, economy, electricity, health sector, educational system, road infrastructures, water, transportation sector, agriculture and even communication. I see these challenges as surmountable if we would have the political will for what I call a national reset, and I tell you, this is inevitable if we must move forward as a country.”
Lamenting that the country may have failed the hopes of the international community, the Royal Father said: “We have failed the world, we have failed our founding fathers. A few years ago, we were addressed as the poverty capital of the world. This is shameful and unacceptable.
“As we speak, our country is ranked 142 out of 167 countries in the Legatum Prosperity Index and 22 out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
“Economically, we are at the bottom with millions of Nigerians going to bed with empty stomachs each day. This is the story of a country blessed with human and mineral resources. These narratives should be made to change and the people who must do so are our political leaders.
“We, as Nigerians, are used to failed promises. Some of our very best brains have died while waiting for the implementation of politicians’ beautifully-worded campaign manifestoes. A reset should be done now.
“I shed tears anytime I remember huge funds spent on revamping our electricity. Till today, no one has been able to tell us how to fix the electricity problem once and for all. The story is the same with our refineries.
“We are told Nigerians are buying fuel at such exorbitant prices because we cannot fix our refineries. Our roads have become death traps. I find it difficult to travel to a sister State of Akwa Ibom because of the complete collapse of Calabar/Itu road. This alone has inflicted a great loss on the economy of the two States.
“How would one explain that terrorists would invade and kidnap Nigerians in Abuja, which is supposed to be the safest? This is proof that Nigeria’s security architecture needs a reset. We cannot continue this way.
“I call on the President to begin the process of resetting Nigeria and should bring on board anyone, groups, and organizations which would help him achieve this. Political party, religious, and ethnic sentiments should be set aside. He should set the template for his successors to build on.”
On the local system, he said: “The local government system is the life-wire of grassroots development. It must be strengthened and adequately funded. The local government is where we all come from and also live. If it works, Nigeria will work.
“The President initiated the Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos State when he was Governor, and that singular effort went a long way to making Lagos State what it is today.
“President Tinubu should replicate such a vision across all the States in Nigeria. This is necessary because, the local government system, the way it is being run, has completely collapsed but the LCDA approach would enhance grassroots administration and development”
He further called on the federal government to strengthen the traditional institution as part of the great reset and that at least 5 percent of local government allocation should be given to the traditional institution.
“The traditional institution should be strengthened with constitutional duties. Good funding is imperative for effective achievement of peace and security. We are hereby appealing for the release of five percent of local government allocations to the Traditional Rulers Council of each local government.
This will go a long way for the traditional institution to take care of logistics for security too. Don’t forget that in the olden days, traditional things were used to scare away miscreants in communities. You neglect tradition to your own detriment,” he submitted.