Nigeria, the giant of Africa, has weathered many storms since her independence on October 1, 1960. Being a heterogeneous ethnic society, she has always been tensed with mistrust, arising mainly from fear of domination. This invariably led to the coups and counter coups; which eventually culminated in the civil war of 1967-1970. Meanwhile, as a stout giant, she walked away from these struggles with seemingly minor scratches. However, these wounds have refused to heal completely because no healing balms have been applied on them. Even where they appear to have healed, great scars are left behind, more painful and scary than the actual wound.
Owing to this, the hitherto exalted giant of Africa has been reduced to a caricature. The entire state is disintegrating. There seems to be a statewide consensus on doomsday; whereby everyone is waiting for the day we will get to point zero. Except the needful is done now, we may wake up one morning only to discover that our fatherland is no more.
A critical overview of the nation’s polity reveals that Nigeria is indeed sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Judging from the coups and counter coups that consistently disrupted her democracy between 1966 and 1999, one cannot help but conclude that there is fire on the mountain. Although democracy returned in 1999, yet terrorism, banditry, threats of secession and other forms of violence keep ravaging the country.
Currently, the system invariably is deteriorating. There seems to be a conspiratorial consensus to deliberately and consistently malign the average Nigerian. Elites in Nigeria have been found to have more power and influence than average citizens, as a result, there has been a great deal of corruption in Nigerian politics and general life. The only proof of democracy now is the periodic change of government. Yet, even this aspect is continually declining as elections are becoming more fraudulent and rigging is the order of the day. The list continues, and infinitum.
All these factors put together greatly militate against the peace, progress and development of Nigeria. Hence, this clarion call to reform and reposition her. As the saying goes, ‘the water got fouled from it’s fountain source’ hence, this reform must begin with those at the top.
Today, worldwide, there is vast economic meltdown. The supposedly rich and advanced countries are struggling to stabilize their economies. Imagine what the developing and underdeveloped worlds will be facing. The era of oil boom is behind us as crude oil is no longer the most desired commodity in the international labour market. It’s price has been more in the decline. Therefore, there is an urgent need for Nigeria to diversify her economy now, reduce her cost of governance and become self sufficient in the long run. Meanwhile, Nigerian democracy has been described as the most expensive in the world, in view of the overhead cost of governance and its lack of corresponding development in the country. The time to act is now.
Also, the recent outbreak of the novel Coronavirus all over the world has unravelled many hitherto hidden abnormalities in the county’s health sector. It is so alarming to realize that the mighty Ask Rock clinic, which billions of naira has been pumped into, is still in disarray. Therefore, in what condition do you expect to find the local hospitals and clinics. Once again, let me reiterate, people are hungry for action and not words. Those entrusted with the responsibility of piloting the nation’s affairs must rise up to their expectations.
Again, the high rate of insecurity in the country has, among other things, hindered investments from both foreign and local investors. Worse still, this critical issue is handled with so much levity. It has been bastardised by being politicised; a campaign tool for misanthropic politicians. That said, there is urgent need to decentralise, regionalize and ruralise the police. Accordingly, this is the only way to curtail the excesses of miscreants who seek to destabilise our dear state.
Tragically, anyone who takes a microscopic view of these exigencies will nonetheless become sympathetic with secessionists. Obviously, government after another have failed to live up to expectations. Their performances generally is rated below average; which of course is more than enough reason for anyone to seek self determination. Ironically, this is not the solution. If we cannot reorganize, reposition and reinvigorate Nigeria, then we can as well not be able to manage another country if created. Am a matter of fact, chances are that it will become worse. This is construed from the fact that it is the people that make the state and not otherwise.
Incidentally, there is a somewhat general opinion that corruption is the greatest enemy that has battled and is still battling Nigeria. Well, my opinion differs on this. Although I do not seek to wave it aside, as it is a huge problem to Nigeria. However, corruption is not the greatest problem for Nigeria rather it is that our leaders have continuously lacked the willpower to exercise their duly elected duties. The Nigeria of today has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the saying which goes thus, ‘Youth are the leaders of tomorrow’ is a conspiratorial mirage. Theoretically, Nigeria belongs to her citizenry; however, in actual practice, it is owned and managed by a group of cabals or elder statesmen who own and distribute political power as they wish. As a result, whoever desires to wield political power must bow to their demands. Any attempt to revolt tantamounts to extinction. All the same, if only the citizenry can break the bonds of ethnic, regional and religious affiliations; come together as one and speak with a unified voice; then those who have held our nation in bondage will have no other option but to let go.
Obviously, we cannot claim ignorant of the multitude of problems bedeviling our dear nation. However, the crisis has always been that of action. We have over time systematically refused to take the necessary steps towards resuscitating Nigeria. Unfortunately, we are out of options now. Time is one luxury that we lack at the moment. Faced with a sinking economy, where the federal government has to sell its assets so as to finance the nation’s budget, a totally inconducive environment for investment, where even the local residents abandon their homes to terrorists, a complete lack of trust in government at all levels, threats of secession from diverse angles, among other crises; it is only wise that drastic actions be taken immediately to arrest these ugly situations. Although they are already getting out of hand, we can still salvage our country. All that is needed is a conscious effort to succeed.
In the year 2014, former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan received a confab report on restructuring. He had promised to implement the content of that report but his tenure was short-lived as he was defeated in the presidential polls of 2015. Unfortunately, that report has been relegated to the backdoor by subsequent governments. If we can go back to that report, it is a pivotal point towards the salvation of Nigeria from a quandary.