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Three Professors Urge President Tinubu To Act As Insecurity Threatens Agricultural Incentives

In a compelling open letter addressed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, three distinguished Nigerian professors – Afolabi Soyode, Jonathan Fabunmi, and Isaac Agbede – have sounded a crucial warning about the grave impact of herders and kidnappers on the nation’s agriculture.

 The trio emphasized that any efforts to boost agricultural output through incentives would be futile if the persistent menace of herders and kidnappers roaming farmlands is not swiftly addressed.

Drawing attention to the escalating insecurity, the professors praised the Federal Government’s move to establish state police as a step in the right direction. 

They believe that this initiative will serve as a counterpoise to armed bandits and herders, making agricultural development more achievable under the current administration.

In their open letter titled “Our Beloved President, TIME FOR DRASTIC ACTION,” the professors also highlighted the alarming decline in the value of the Naira, expressing concerns that it gives the impression of a lack of effective governance.

The professors called for urgent action on several fronts, including enhancing the income of workers and pensioners. 

They urged President Tinubu to expedite decisions on minimum wage and general salary reviews. 

Furthermore, the letter recommended disbanding a 37-man committee if it fails to deliver on salary matters within the next 30 days.

The letter also addressed the lifestyle of political elites, advocating for a redirection away from ostentation and materialism. 

The professors invoked the memory of past leaders like Tafawa Balewa, Awolowo, and others, suggesting that their modesty should guide the current leadership.

A striking point in the letter was the call to ban the importation of used luxury cars, colloquially referred to as “Jexus,” which drains foreign reserves.

 The professors urged Nigeria to move towards using cars made domestically and condemned the extravagant choices of some political figures in opting for imported vehicles.

The decay in the higher education system also came under scrutiny, with a plea to urgently address issues related to salaries and allowances for academic staff. 

The professors underscored the pivotal role of higher education in sustaining primary and secondary education.

The professors concluded the letter by urging President Tinubu to take decisive steps against corruption, proposing the establishment of special judicial tribunals with severe penalties for convicts. 

They emphasized that these short-term measures should be complemented by long-term solutions, including appropriate restructuring, fiscal federalism, entrenchment of the rule of law, and ongoing democracy and electoral process reforms.

The professors expressed their hope that President Tinubu would be remembered as a leader who rescued the nation from self-induced disaster, pledging their unfailing loyalty and faith in his Excellency.

 

BELOW IS THE LETTER IN FULL

AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU, GCFR. Our Beloved President,TIME FOR DRASTIC ACTION

The peace of the Almighty God be with you and your entire family. We pray with all our hearts that the Almighty God will grant you wisdom that passes all human understanding to lead this nation to the promised land. We live in a perilous time. Drastic situations demand drastic measures. 

There is hunger and anger in the nation. There is grinding poverty. Prices of essential commodities are escalating by the day. 

The gap between the high cost of living and the incomes of workers is too large, a source of anguish desperation and a call to incitement. Hardship can be fairly endured when evenly distributed. It is not seen now to be evenly distributed. The value of the bogus cars of our federal legislators and many Governors and their remuneration are far beyond the realm of justification at a time like this.

The billions of naira voted to renovate the Houses of the President and that of the Vice President are certainly irritants. The rapidly declining value of the Naira makes it looks as if there is no government in office. The security situation is not particularly assuring. You know the problems Mr. President; we do not intend to dwell on them. Kindly consider, Mr. President, some issues on which we offer our own approaches to solution.

 

  1. Insecurity

The herders and kidnappers continue to make farming impossible. The herders still roam farms with their cattle, destroying crops with violence and impunity, even in South West States. Kidnappers pose dangers to the farmers. Please put a stop to these, otherwise no incentives to Agriculture will result in meaningful output increase.The move to establish State Police is in the right direction. It will provide counterpoise to armed bandits and herders and make efforts to increase agricultural output more realizable.

 

  1. Enhance the Income of Workers and Pensioners.

Quickly accelerate the decision on minimum wage and the general salary review. If the 37-man committee cannot deliver within the next 30 days, disband them and find a better modality. Assure workers of a definite short-term period during which salary increase will be announced and executed.

The salary review should have an over-arching objective: keep Nigerian workers satisfied working in Nigeria. It should stop Japa. It should be competitive and comparable worldwide.

 The short-term cost may appear large, but will bring peace, development and stability to the economy. With (i) & (ii), Engage the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) & Trade Union Congress (TUC). No strike please.

 

  1. Life Style of Political Elites.

PleaseM r. President help redirect the mode of dress, and obscene materialism pervading the cadres of political elites in Nigeria. We have lived through the era of political leaders like Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Prof. Ambrose Alli, Chief Sam Mbakwe, Chief Bisi Onabanjo and Alhaji Lateef Jakande. We believe they are worthy of emulation in many ways. They can guide you our President. Is it not time also to reintroduce history in Primary and Secondary Schools?

 

  1. Ban Jexus.

Lexus is an abbreviation; Luxury. Export to the US. (from Japan Toyota). What we now have (on our roads) is Jexus – Junk Export from the US (to Nigeria) Exports of over-used, over-depreciated Lexus cars. It is not just the Toyota Junks. Honda, Nissan, Mercedes junks come to Nigeria, draining scarce foreign reserves. 

While new cars from manufacturers have their sources uniquely identified, all, the used cars from very many countries are imported mostly by Nigerians, Individuals and Firms, with intention to maximize their profits. 

They bring in least functional vehicles and sell at maximum prices.Many struggling people including youths, hardly employed, now satisfy their craze in Materialism and ostentation by spending hard-earned Nigerian forex on these. Through tax it should be appropriately discontinued.

Nigeria should be moving towards using cars and vehicles made in Nigeria. 

A shame that Nigerian Senators opted for costly bogus imported Land Cruisers. 

These and other vehicles of the same variety should be disallowed.

 No other irrational use of forex can be found.Substandard Products : A large variety of products, Medicine, (Anti-biotics, Anti-malaria, drugs for chronic ailments) batteries, lamps, all come in substandard, resulting in little or no efficacy.Is there no Standard Organisation of Nigeria(SON) again? With all these sub-standard and fake products in almost every product category?

This is a regulatory government organization, hardly effective. This and such other regulatory agencies should be focused, sanctioned as required.

Medical Tourism is another irrational use of forex. Can the President not make an emergency case for a 5-star Specialist Hospital that can satisfy the political elites and other Nigerians. 

To be built, in each of the 6 zones, staffed, equipped, all within 18-24 months?Your recent 2 weeks private stay in France, we hope, had nothing to do with healthcare over there. For whatever reason, such visits, private or public, should be curtailed for now, Mr. President, and for all executive and legislative officials at all levels.5. 

 

The University Condition , The decay (physical, human, behavioral) in higher education system needs to be addressed (quickly). First with the salary review. The academic staff have been on the same salary since 2009. 

A major review of salary and allowances should be done, most urgently, in line with the model we suggested earlier.

The Nigerian University system is dying; please revive it because if it dies, the source of nourishment of the secondary and primary education is gone.

 No nation flourishes or even survives without good education.6. SanctionsAny nation that has no sanctions for misconduct and breach of the law and other violation of the processes will end up in chaos. 

We have witnessed in Nigeria good governance and peaceful co existence up to and shortly after independence. Later corruption set in, leading to the weakness of the legal and political processes. 

The result is that humongous public funds are diverted into private bank accounts. Oil theft and fuel subsidy scandals become widespread. Government spokesmen often claim to know them but fail to disclose their identity or get them arrested and prosecuted.

We are pleading with you sir, to :-Take steps to disclose the identity of saboteurs, recover the loots and prosecute them.

Because corruption is so endemic in Nigeria almost becoming part of our way of Life, we believe that a drastic action should be taken to curb the menace. 

We therefore urge your Excellency to establish special Judicial Tribunals to handle corruption cases with heavy jail terms for the convicts to serve as deterrent to others.

 

CONCLUSION

The above, Mr. President, are short-term measures though with long-term impacts. We plead that you continue to work for the longer-term solutions to the Nigerian problems and ensure that: (1) appropriate restructuring is done to allow for healthy competition among zones or relevant units deemed appropriate. (2) fiscal federalism, is assured, (3) Rule of Law is entrenched. (4) Democracy and Reform of the Electoral processes continues.

We pray that you will go down in history as God-sent to rescue this Nation  from self induced disaster.

The blessings of God be with you.Be assured of our unfailing loyalty to, and faith in, your Excellency.

 

Yours faithfully, Professor Afolabi Soyode, University of Ibadan, Rtd.

 

ProfessorJonathan Fabunmi

Obafemi Awolowo University, 

 

Rtd.Professor Isaac Agbede

University of Lagos, Rtd. Emeritus

 

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