A Nation at a Cross Road

A Nation at a Cross Road As we celebrate the 44th Independence Anniversary of our great nation Nigeria, we have once found ourselves at a cross road. On one side we find a people large disillusioned, impoverished by their own leaders and have lost faith in the ability of the ruling class to make a meaningful difference in their lives. On the other side we have a leader (with his team of aides and cronies) that believes strongly in the commonwealth called Nigeria who has in the past fought for th
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  A Nation at a Cross Road - 1 -As we celebrate the 44 th Independence Anniversary of our great nation Nigeria, wehave once found ourselves at a cross road. On one side we find a people largedisillusioned, impoverished by their own leaders and have lost faith in the ability of the ruling class to make a meaningful difference in their lives. On the other side wehave a leader (with his team of aides and cronies) that believes strongly in thecommonwealth called Nigeria who has in the past fought for the unity of this greatcountry and strongly believes that he is committed to delivering the dividend of democracy to the people even if they have to face the pain of adjustment momentarily(no pain no gain).As a Nigerian I am one of the few people who still believe in the sincerity of theleadership of our assiduous President His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.However, I am deeply disturbed by his apparent insensitivity to the plight of the downtrodden masses (over 70 million Nigerian living on less than =N=300.00 per day). Itis true that we need to address the economic problems facing us as a nation; it is alsotrue that some element of pain is a necessary part of such adjustment. Even the biblerecorded famine in the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah and Elisha to mentionbut a few. However such adjustment should have a human face. It is not the downtrodden masses that have been beaten and battered that should be made to suffer forthe country to move forward. One would expect for instance that if the governmentdecided that there is a need to remove subsidy from the price of petroleum productsthen they should consider the plight of the masses and take steps to lessen the effecton them. One way of addressing this problem is for government to provide masstransit buses at subsidized rates and encourage beneficiaries to charge humane farewhich will be monitored as a necessary condition for continued participation in thescheme. Effort can also be made to ensure that the price of cooking gas is reasonable  A Nation at a Cross Road - 2 -while providing cheap locally fabricated gas cookers possibly at a subsidized rate asan alternative to kerosene on the long run.One area of oblivious injustice is the fact that while the poor particularly those in paidemployment are made to pay income tax at rates that is out of tune with reality of ourpresent situation, a large number of those who are affluent and are living luxuriouslives pay next to nothing as Income tax. Examples abound government only need totake a look at the tax record of some of our political leaders and captains of industriesamongst others and compare with their life style. One way by which this injustice inour tax system can be addressed is to take urgent steps to implement tax reform thatwill focus more on consumption tax. I personally do not see why any body that canbuy a car of =N=5.0 million Naira cannot pay 100% duty on the vehicle because sucha vehicle is a luxury and not a necessity the same thing applies to other luxury itemslike jewelries, expensive household items and fittings, etc. In fact, a significant part of our foreign exchange is lost to this craze for luxury item. A case in point is the crazeamong big boys for hummer jeeps which will not do any good to our economy but theamount used to buy one will provide employment for a large number of our army of  jobless people. It is true that this people have a right to spend their money the waythey like; they should however be willing to pay a reasonable tax for indulging insuch luxuries.The case of our politicians is also a very pathetic one, you see a man who was livingin a small flat become a multi millionaire in no time by virtue of appointment intogovernment office. This applies to all tiers of government Federal, State and Localgovernment. It also cuts across Governors, Ministers, Commissioners, localgovernment Chairmen and Councilors and other public office holders. They betray the  A Nation at a Cross Road - 3 -trust of the populace and flaunt their ill-gotten wealth before them with recklessabandon and the government and its agencies like ICPC and EFCC look on helplesslyas these unscrupulous people inflict more hardship on the masses while intimidatingthem with their wealth. They use their money to oppress and defile their wives andtheir female children, they destroy our public educational system from which theybenefited in the past and send their children abroad or to elite private institutions (forexample public primary school is almost extinct in Lagos State and Secondary schoolwill soon follow obviously this is a dividend of democracy). Free and qualitativepublic education the lasting legacy that our forefathers (The Late Chief ObafemiAwolowo and Co) bequeathed to us (which was the only reason why some of ourleaders from humble background were able to acquire education) have been destroyedby “the Democrats” of our time.In all of this what can we say but to call on the big man upstairs to deliver us fromthose that are stronger than us and prevent them from making our land desolate.By TOM MATTI (Taiwo Matilukuro)Tel 4759992; 0803 303 

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Nov 1, 2017

Ambika's Report

Nov 1, 2017
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