9.    Human Resources Development
To ensure that cutting-edge technologies and medical knowledge are deployed in providing efficient and effective health care for citizens, the following are essential:

•Adequate budgetary allocations for capacity building in all cadres of health personnel

•Adequate support for lifelong skill enrichment for serving medical and paramedical staff

•Adequate funding for training and retraining of personnel in the application of modern technologies to healthcare delivery

•Establishment of national medical commissions to regulate and monitor the quality of core and special medical services
Primary health care is the most essential health service that should be the easiest to access and nearest to reach by the citizens, preparatory to receiving further care, if necessary, at the secondary or tertiary level

•This level of care should be available at an affordable cost in each ward of each local government area of the country

•In accord with the belief that health is indispensably vital to the growth of the people and the economy, there should be adequate incentives for medical personnel by ensuring that healthcare personnel are given proper remuneration, to reduce the brain drain of our well trained health personnel that look for greener pastures overseas

•There must be the establishment and growth of modern and effective healthcare service delivery in all states while paying attention to the peculiar needs of different areas

•Adequate funding must be provided for material and child health care as well as for adolescent and geriatric in all states

Universal Health Insurance Scheme
To ensure that the citizens are able to access health care services in all parts of the country and to ensure that they are not prevented from doing so because of lack of money at the point of the need for health care, a universal health insurance scheme for all citizens should be established. In addition:

•Mandatory health insurance subscriptions for all citizens

•Provide subsidies on health insurance premiums for citizens that are certified as poor

•Expand the existing Environmental Protection Agency to include a special division for controlling environmental health hazards

•Provide support for a clean environment that goes beyond nominal attention to solid waste and that includes the control of environmental pollution created by emissions from automobiles and generators, as well as control noise pollution

•Provide infrastructure for proper emission control in all states

Drugs And Pharmaceutical Agents And Control
Pursuant to the universally acceptable goal of health promotion, the safe and rational use and control of pharmaceutical agents must be given priority, so also the equitable and sustainable access to relevant medicines, particularly for the poor and the disadvantaged must be ensured.

•States must be supported to create facilities for control of drugs and pharmaceutical agents and to deprogramme and rehabilitate citizens with a history of drug abuse

•The establishment of drug rehabilitation facilities must be supported in each state

Modern Medical Sub-Specialties And Research
The Federal Government should provide funds in designated national medical institutions for medical research by doing the following:

•Giving special attention to malaria control and setting up regional centres for sickle cell research and management

•Providing support for stem-cell research, nuclear and space medicine and for common causes of ill-health and their management so as to reduce mortality and morbidity rates in the nation

Traditional And Complementary Medicine
The positive impact on improvement of citizens’ health is already being felt in countries that have enforced the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on traditional medicine. China and India have provided convincing examples that using trado-medical knowledge to complement Western orthodox medicine can be advantageous for disease control and treatment. Thus,

•Provision of support of the implementation of the nation’s traditional medicine policy in conformity with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines

•The provision of subsidies and facilities for trado-medical practitioners’ research projects and promotion of the commercialisation of products of such research must be encouraged

Social Security
•Each state to develop a system of unemployment insurance for employees, to create some cushion for employees that lose their jobs to retrenchment

•Food items stored for emergencies should be replaced every eighteen months and sold to citizens in the lower-income level with nursing mothers and children below 18 years of age

•By 2015, provision of milk and cereals at subsidised rates to families living below the official poverty line should be made

•By 2015, provision should be made of one meal a day for children in all public primary schools, to ensure nutrition for this important segment of the population

10.    Cultural Agenda
Culture is an indispensable aspect of political and economic development. In federal multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, governments at federal, state, and local levels must have a cultural policy that is capable of enhancing the unity of people of diverse cultures while respecting the autonomy of each culture.

Examples of government sensitivity to cultural diversity abound in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Ethiopia, and in today’s largest federal multiethnic system, the European Union.

Government should develop policies that will remove inter-ethnic appreciation and cooperation.

In addition to increasing literacy in the nation’s official language, it is important to support the development of indigenous languages, in order to enable citizens take advantage of the country’s cultural diversity. While adopting the UN’s charter on minority rights, the following programmes should be acceptable to Nigeria’s leaders:

•Strengthening the national language commission to support development of all indigenous languages, apart from the existing national languages (Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba) by providing matching funds of states to provide leadership in the promotion of their indigenous language

•Supporting the establishment of National Heritage Sites in each state. Each state must have at least one of such sites to serve as cultural areas to attract national and international tourists and to enhance national unity

•Creating multiethnic museums in each state to provide accessible reference points on the country’s cultural diversity

•Enforcing through the constitution the secularity of the Nigerian State, as a means of freeing the nation from inter-religious tension while promoting its diverse religious heritage

•Establishing through legislation and law enforcement zero tolerance for all forms of ethnic or religious terrorism and violence

Appeal To Citizens
Fifty years after independence, successive governments have failed to make Nigerians free, failed to make Nigerians rich despite human and mineral endowment of oil and gas and other natural resources, and also failed to make Nigerians safe because exclusion promotes tension that breeds insecurity for most citizens.

SNG has provided you with the foregoing analysis of the sources of our country’s underdevelopment, despite the abundance of material and human resources in the country. As scary and dispiriting as the problems described in this document might be, the intention of SNG is not to scare citizens into despondency.

The intention is to share the challenges of the nation’s economic, social, and political problems with you, in order for you as a responsible citizen to summon courage along with SNG to save the country from its predators and transform it into a prosperous and just country for all.

The solution to the myriad problem identified above does not lie in voter apathy or political nonchalance. On the contrary, it lies in your resolve as a voter to take your destiny in your own hands by doing the following:

•Join SNG or similar organisations to protect your vote, save and transform Nigeria

•Participate in activities towards electoral reforms

•Review your party affiliation in view of the position of your party in relation to saving and transforming Nigeria

•Join SNG to resist business-as-usual politicians and political parties that see rhetoric, deception, and corruption as the end of politics

•Join SNG and similar organisations in creating a new political ethic in Nigeria, the ethic of service and justice to all in Nigeria.

•Align with a political movement that is truly committed to unity through diversity and the strengthening of all the three tiers of government

•Enroll in political movements that believe in the power of the individual to make a difference in a politically friendly environment of liberty, security, and prosperity for all Nigerians

•Subscribe to SNG’s vision of a new Nigeria and participate in its mission to save, to change and to make Nigeria great (visit our website: www.savenigeriagroup.com).

•Culled from ‘Charter for Liberty, Security And Prosperity: The Irreducible Minimum Nigerians Must Insist On’, a publication of Save Nigeria Group, SNG.