‘Blocking Leakages Alone Would Help Buhari Give Immense Impetus To Our Economy’
Tony Dania is a foremost legal practitioner and the Principal Partner, Dania and Associate. Recently sworn-in as a Notary public in Lagos, he speaks on the onerous task before President Muhammadu Buhari – that of fixing Nigeria.
THE concern of most Nigerians as President Muhammadu Buhari took the reins yesterday is how he would fix Nigeria. If he has the political will, does he have the courage, bearing in mind that the problems bedeviling the country are multi-faceted and hydra-headed? However, he has to fix it. And he has just four years as the time frame.
Buhari himself has promised that he will do the job to the best of his ability; and Nigerians, whose support he demanded in the onerous task of fixing the country, have not stopped offering valuable advice. Many believe once he tackles corruption headlong with uttermost sincerity, all other things will fall in place. Tony Dania, a lawyer and maritime consultant is one person who belongs to this school of thought.
Dania, principal partner, Dania and Associates, who was recently sworn in as a notary public in Lagos, is of the view that Buhari will need to block many leakages that had been created as he fights the deep-rooted corruption. By blocking the resources’ leakages, he believes about that about N1trillion could be saved.
The legal practitioner, who also engages in social criticism, human rights activism, peacemaking and philanthropic endeavours says Nigeria can rapidly develop through tax reduction, liberalization of oil trade, adequate provision of electric power and overhauling of the maritime industry.
To start with, Buhari needs a formidable team. To do this, he advised him to consult properly in selecting those that would work with him, and do the same when he starts formulating policies for smoother implementation. “I am very optimistic that if he consults economic experts and asserts his political will, petrol shall sell for N60 per litre, diesel for N100 per litre and Kerosene N70 per litre. Even at that, Nigeria would export refined petrochemical products,” he said.
Dania was among those who predicted that “there will be peace before, during and after the general elections. Buhari/APC shall win, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, outgoing president shall concede defeat, and there will be peace.”
The kind of doggedness and consistency Buhari puts into the ‘Return-to-Power’ project is the type he is advised him to stir up in his assignment – delivering on his presidential mandate. “If Buhari can fix electricity, remove fuel subsidy, liberalize refineries operations, bringing in experts to run the sector; Nigerian can save N1trillion every year,” he said.
He also believes that cutting the cost of elections, scrapping the office of ministers for state, limiting foreign trips of political office holders, encouraging refunds/returns of all stolen money, discouraging waste, dealing decisively with corrupt officials; overhauling and streamlining the prosecution of cases generally, improving the capacity of agencies charged with the responsibility of arresting and prosecuting crime suspects, no matter how highly placed, and then make funds accessible to small-scale entrepreneurs and farmers. All these, he said, will fast-track the country’s drive towards advancement.
Dania wants government to reduce spending on frivolous activities and cut down salaries and sundry allowances of legislators. “Make the judiciary independent; provide more security and amenities to enhance speedy and objective dispensation of justice, construct more durable roads and bridges in all parts of Nigeria,” he also advised.
He identifies a growing exploitative tendency of some investors in Nigeria, which he wants the Buhari government to discourage but to encourage effective exploration of the maritime industry, arguing that the nation’s maritime resources are grossly under-utilized.
While emphasizing outright stoppage of such exploitative acts on Nigerians, he suggests the establishment of a specialized bank for the maritime sector.
On the recent uproar in the industry, he pleaded with the Nigerian indigenous ship-owners and operators association currently in fisticuffs to calm their nerves and sheathe their swords.
“The government should tackle the problem of infrastructure. Although several people have been clamouring for that, I will say it is necessary to mention it again and again because it constitutes a major obstacle to development in Nigeria. And with regular electricity supply in Nigeria, unemployment will be reduced,” he asserted.
The erudite lawyer recommends that Buhari should set up a committee comprising of eminent Nigerians with impeccable achievements to help him deal with the issues of corruption that has tainted the nation’s integrity.
Dania has a dream: It is to see Nigeria become a developed nation that would be envied by all in the next couple of years. But he did not fail to add a caveat: It is only possible with regular power supply, good roads, sound education, favourable environment for entrepreneurs and security. He opines that the government still has a long way to go in order to attain the goals and objectives of an egalitarian society for Nigeria, and as such, it should roll up its sleeves and hit the ground running.
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