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The Reform Party of Nigeria – Manifesto

July 8, 2012 – The Reform Party of Nigeria – Manifesto

This Manifesto is to defend the rights, future and prospects of the Nigerian people and the security and protection of our national asset from wanton waste and abuse. This reform is intended to bring great expectations, pride and credit to our country with high hopes and aspiration because the country belongs to us and not a select few!

At a time, when the world is being ravaged by great crisis of the new global economic age we need to pursue a more prospective goals and sustainable economy.
The political situation caused by Boko Haram insurgence, embezzlement and wanton waste of our national funds by all and sundry have undermined the bond of trust between the people and the politicians elected to serve them. In Nigeria the electorate are disregarded and disenfranchised because the politicians believe that since the people are ill-informed they are to be lords unto themselves and not public servants to serve the needs of the people, since at the grass root level most people are disconnected and un-informed!
So this cannot, and will not, be a ‘business as usual’ political awareness but a reversal through our reform programmes and Manifesto.

In this Manifesto we set out plans to address the main future challenges we face in our economy, our society and our politics. We will rebuild the economy to secure the recovery and invest in future growth and jobs. We will renew our society to further strengthen the communities and values which bind our country together. And we will restore trust in politics with greater transparency and accountability in a system currently battered by the embezzlement and corruption scandals.
This programme for national reform meets the big challenges of our prospective and ambitious goals and objective! Our Manifesto is ambitious but affordable, bold but realistic, and learns from the lessons we take from our experience to date from colonial, military and civilian regimes and capricious era.

Over the next two years we will confront major challenges – intensive grass root re-education on their democratic rights, voting privileges and need to use such rights in electing the right people for good governance based on informed choice while bringing stability to economic growth and sustainable development. This is a moment for good judgement and serious purpose to meet the challenges ahead.
Our aim is to modernise, ensure a progressive Nigeria based on fairness, respect, decency and openness.
This is a Manifesto about the greater progressive change we need because of the tougher times we are living through. Our spending commitments will be for meaningful projects which will alleviate our dependency on importation and national debt. This determination means every penny is to be used wisely, and, as present plans make clear, to give the maximum protection to frontline public services.
This is a moment to show greater boldness and hope for our down trodden people in response to what Nigeria has gone through and the toll it has taken. We reject a ‘business as usual’ mentality because we have to re-build and re- balance the economy, as well as renew our society and politics. Reform cannot stand still – not least because we need to get more value and delivery from public services in a period of public wasteful spending without constraint.

Our Manifesto charts an optimistic course in a robust economic plan and development. It builds on and takes forward the reforms we have undertaken even where we have less influence during the tenure of office of a government in opposition. We need growth and simple things like postal system or policing must meet international systems. We are tired of mediocre standard and do not have to accept shoddy work ethics or standard because we are refined and reformed and the days of the old must be buried and destroyed.

It is the start of a new era and a new Nigeria existing in the new world order.

Nigeria is my country and l want the very best for our people and country. This Manifesto is my pledge of a future fair for all where there is great opportunity and fairness to all regardless of tribal or religious orientation!
Abiodun Ogunseitan
Interim political head of the reform party!

Political reform
The fundamental repertoire of this Manifesto is to deliver a ruthless reform which would lead to a future fair for all and promises the need to rebuild our economy, protect and reform our public services as we strengthen our society by educating the electorate in bid to renew our political life!

We are the people to carry out this next stage of national renewal because of our values and determined agenda and our understanding of the role of government: to stand by ordinary people so they can change their lives for the better. It is our belief that it is must be active, perpetually reforming government and not absent government, that helps make a select few become demigods and powerful people.
We are sad that our country has been ravaged and bastardised and the way it has been devastated by several rogue governments. It is just too easy to forget. Our public services were a byword for decline; today they remain incompetent have been nothing to show for their existence but redundant and ineffective public service. Our large cities were reeling from massive underdevelopment, poor health service, road and security! People are paid poverty level income while the lack of price control and exchange rate has reduced the capacity to buy goods and maintain a healthy lifestyle!
Today the minimum wage is below a reasonable living standard and even graduates are now drivers and armed robbers for lack of employment! This undeniable under current situation means the dignity of a living income is at a level of criminal injustice in a country where the legislature are paid millions and allowed the luxury of changing their official cars every year!!! There is a need for a welfare state simply to cater for those unable to find employment. We will introduce social and housing benefits which would enable our people to live decent lives! We have the wealth and resources to do so.
These changes can only happen if we applied our values and careful planning by ensuring that all loopholes for system abuses are blocked!

We formed our party so that it would connect to the hopes and aspirations of the Nigerian people. We want to change our country because we rejected the philosophy of the old which was for self-aggrandisement and exploitation! That government is a separate entity from the governed is a fallacy and should not capriciously think they should just get out of the way and that they are in it just for themselves!! The government is to serve the people and not the other way round.

We are proud to say we are running for the future and prosperity of the country! We have to address a world that is very different now, with major new challenges we must confront: fighting for our economic future in a tough competitive world, tackling foreign exploitation and incompetent public services amidst financial wastage while confronting the reality of national terrorism, adjusting to an ageing society where development is at a limbo and life expectancy is at its lowest! The reform means that through structural planning programmes we as a people can effectively manage our lives and economic and allow our people to live longer and happier lives, and restoring reforming politics. We would reform our financial markets and building our economic future on fairer, more solid foundations.

To build on success in our public services, we need to protect investment in the front line and also be bold about putting astute citizens genuinely in control. And we must be bold reformers of our politics: seizing this once in a generation opportunity to make our Parliament properly accountable and constituted!

In all these decisions, we offer progressive solutions in tough times. We do not measure the boldness of our programme by the ruggedness of our determination to create change but to curtail wastage of public funds and the results we achieve will speak for themselves! By taking hard decisions, being guided at all times by a sense of fairness, we believe that we can continue to advance towards the good society in which we all believe in
There is a big choice which is about whether we confront these challenges and build the kind of economy, society and politics we believe in, or duck our heads in shame. But to be able to meet these future challenges, there are some immediate decisions we need to get right now. Above all, we need to secure the economic recovery get our developmental plans to generate growth and prosperity and reduce foreign dependency! We can go on to build a strong economic future. Get it wrong and we will slip back into recession and continued underdevelopment.
The Reform party believes that we must not put the recovery at risk by reckless spending and wastage of public funds. We would stimulate our econoal my, put in place job guarantees to get people back to work, and stepped in to stop abject poverty

The banking system has been a source of underdevelopment as their policies have undermined growth due to stringent measures which makes borrowing difficult and slows down economic growth.
Our economy is struggling to be recognised as an essential fundamental institution for our economic growth. Unemployment has, so far, risen by over 2,9000,000 and still growing by the hour!!
The question at this point is whether people think the choice we made was the right one by electing inept legislatures who are incompetent to recognise this herculean task confronting the nation as a time bomb, soon to implode!

We have hundreds of technical institutions incapable of creating basic tools for development and creative innovation for cottage industries and this is due to lack of direction and stimulation by governmental sponsorships. We will challenge these institutions and demand of them to free us from the shackles of foreign importation of everything and anything.

We recognise the need to support the economy while growth is still fragile. We will support the economy to ensure recovery is established. We should rebuild our economy in new ways: with more high-tech business, fairer rewards and responsibility from all, including at the top. Our aspiration will include sophisticated technological advancement to help control fraud and deployment of funds for effective development!

The custodians’ services which determine our effective social services will be enhanced through supervision and accountability.
This is a moment that will make our money to work for us because of the recklessness of those in charge who wasted in the past billions earned for so many years; there is nothing to show for it. This Manifesto makes the case that there should be no return to business as usual. People have suffered too much with their jobs, livelihoods and confidence to allow a return to the same old ways. There is a desire not simply correct what went wrong, but to seize the opportunity to build a new future! Change is a must and not tomorrow or next year but now!!!
Financial services have been an essential job creator in providing investment funds and due to wastage and phantom expenditure that has not been the case in Nigeria! But our financial institutions left to themselves have undermined our economy. We are enacting sweeping banking reform to prevent a repeat of the past; ensuring new support for the high-tech industries of the future, such as innovative industries; and taking action to forge a new culture of long-termism in business and indigenous growth and production! The metal and iron production industries which were abandoned will be revamped to encourage local production and manufacturing. Ajaokuta will wake up as a national pride and great source of economic growth.
It isn’t markets or governments that create wealth – people do, through their own effort and hard work. So we will do more to support local and indigenous enterprise and to help those who want to build up a business and get on in life. Those who can work must do so and it needs to be properly valued. We will end for good the concept of a life on poverty by offering all those unemployed for work opportunities and we will make work pay better with the goal of a minimum wage rising at least in line with average earnings and a guarantee that people will be better off in work. Armed robbery and Criminal tendencies should be of less attraction because it would be unjustified once we have the reform in place!

There will be a fair way with a combination of a return to economic growth, cuts to lower priority programmes and fair tax rises for those wealthy Nigerians who stole our money and cannot account for the sources of their wealth. Responsibility at the top means people paying their fair share and we believe it is right that those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden of creating the ory rwealth for the unfortunate!
We believe we should protect frontline spending on education and schools, the health of our people and policing, and reform our public services to put people in control.

Millions of people working in our public services embody the worst of our values because of corruption which empowered people in position of power to enrich themselves and make the most of their own lives. You have legislatures and police commissioners having police escorts while protecting themselves from the risks the rest of the public face on a daily basis and should not have to bear on their own. These escorts are police officers are paid from public funds to protect the public and not serve as personal body guards to ex-governors, senators and police commissioners. Just as we need to be bolder about the role of government in making markets work fairly, we also need to be bold reformers of government.

For a decade we have lacked investment and reform and improved public services. Now we need to rise to the challenge of achieving even higher standards in a period of unconstrained resources. We will drive forward our programme to strip out all waste, improve efficiency and get the most out of every naira spent. We recognise that investing more in priority areas will mean cutting back in others. Every year will ensure the accomplishment of a facility that we lack! Year one could be electricity for all, the following year water etc!!! Above all we will build public services that are more pertinent to people’s needs: with clear guarantees about standards, the best providers taking over others where they don’t make the grade, and with new ways of organising services such as appropriate for our economic growth!!

In health our reform means if we don’t meet our guarantees, for perfect free health service for all heads will roll! There will be accountability! In education it means that if the local school is underperforming it will be a state demand for reform for better performance; and such schools not good enough can trigger a ballot to change the leadership whether the governor or commissioner must go for due diligence. And in policing, where communities are being let down by forces we will enable them to have the commissioner of police changed!

We will strengthen our society, by protecting the things people value and demanding rights and responsibilities from all.

Our society is not broken; it is strong in many different ways. But it is changing fast. Changing as people move more frequently, as young people grow up more quickly and more enlightened.
We will protect the things people value: families, strong communities , local institutions.
All foreign investors must show respect for Nigerians as a foreign employer and to pay your fair share of tax while ensuring minimum wages are paid to the workers. Any foreign investor who abuses our people and hospitality would face the full wrath of our law and any corrupt public servant collaborating with degrading behaviour would be prosecuted and the foreigner upon completion of his sentence will be deported to his country of origin never to return to Nigeria. Slander or derogatory remark about our race will not be tolerated. Full compensation for those Nigerians who have suffered such indignation.
We propose radical reform of our democracy to reconnect politics to the people
it should serve. Just as the IMF and economic crisis were bases for the devaluation of monetary system and source of destruction to our economic system; the reform would create less turmoil in our political system. It revealed not just unacceptable behaviour by some Legislatures but also that our closed political system had lost touch with the people. Once again, the response cannot be to try and return to business as usual.

We need fundamental reform of our political system and more informed electorate to make it more accountable. We will encourage the people to decide how to reform our institutions and our politics: changing the voting system and electing a more responsible political system which would be responsive to the needs of our people. But we will go further, introducing fixed-term of two years as probationary period of office for the head of state and failure to achieve the set goals and objective means impeachment and banning from any governmental position or derived benefits!
In our politics and economy over the last 50years we have witnessed seismic events, rigged elections and military coup deta , the first of the post-crisis era, we expected as people with the experience, values and ideas to help our country through the next phase of national renewal and evolution but to our dismay, it has been disastrous regimes upon regimes that have governed our lives!
This task will rely on optimism of our people crying for change. Our principle opponents, the Enshrined old politicians who are die hard corrupt bastards willing to offer a fundamentally pessimistic vision of national decline of Nigeria without direction or purpose ! Today marks the beginning and a guaranteed future. Their only real prescription for the good society is a smaller state and the decisions they seek to for our country would favour the privileged few over the many. They want a broken up Nigeria for selfish ends. They would create divide and propaganda of devolution of a divided Nigeria cutting us adrift from the alliances and influence that will enable us to succeed as a country.
This is a Manifesto that is idealistic about what is possible but realistic about how to achieve it. This is not a momentous movement but a radical change from the past. It is a progressive moment. We speak for the ordinary people of Nigeria who work hard, want their kids to do better than them, and worry about the economic, environmental and social challenges we face. We are on their side, it is their voice, needs and hopes that shape this reform.


Securing the future of Nigerian’s future
The plans set out in this Manifesto take full account of the fiscal position we face. We will protect frontline public services while meeting our commitment to halve the deficit over the next four years.
We are now emerging from the global financial crisis. It has had a lasting effect on our economic growth. We are sticking to our contrived financial spending plan which will be geared to rapid development and self-sustaining economy!
The Manifesto reflects the tough choices that we will make to secure Nigeria’s future in a way that is fair to all:
• Tough choices for paying our debt to improve our foreign exchange rate.
• Tough choices on cutting government wastage where all legislatures have police orderlies and new cars each every year! Retired governors entitlement to two houses in two states of their choice and police orderlies!!,costing us billion of naira every year and further operational deficiencies and other cross-cutting savings to streamline government will be delivered immediately!
Respect and fair pay for Nigerian workers!

•choices on welfare: our reforms will increase fairness and dignity!
• Protection of our national assets:
National insurance for all Nigerians
We must build a sustainable economy dependent on innovative and constructive development by Nigerians with a view to ensuring growth and expansive market in the global market!

The challenge for Nigeria is to secure the recovery and learn the right lessons from the global economic crisis, devaluation of our currency which means our exports are cheap while imports are exorbitant! This precludes the laying of the foundations for sustained growth: reforming banks, modernising infrastructure, and as we pay down the deficit, providing the right support to the private sector to build a diverse, high-tech industrial economy. The Reform party would enforce recovery and encourage investment in our economic future.
The next stage of national renewal
• Secure the recovery by supporting the economy
now, and more than halve the deficit through economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower priority spending.
• Realise that banks must secure the best deals for lending to investors and reform the rules for banking to ensure no repeat of past irresponsibility.
• Create Finance for Growth, bringing together policies to provide capital for growing businesses, investing in the growth sectors of the future.
• Build a high-tech economy, supporting business and industry to create one million more skilled jobs and modernising our infrastructure with efficient transportation systen for all.
• Encourage a culture of long-term commitment to sustainable company growth
The engine of growth is private enterprise: we will give business our full support in creating wealth and jobs. Strong and sustained growth is fundamental to a credible strategy for keeping the public finances on a stable long-term footing.
To be successful, business needs stability, but to achieve stability after the seismic shock of the global banking crisis, the governance of our economic and financial institutions must be radically reformed and to support business in securing prosperity for future generations, an activist industrial strategy is needed: learning the lessons from those nations that have succeeded
in developing advanced manufacturing and leading- edge service industries. In Nigeria the role of government is not to stand aside, but to nurture private- sector dynamism, properly supporting infrastructure and the sectors of the future.

Abiodun Ogunseitan

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