At Independence and subsequent attainment of a Republic in 1960 and 1963 respectively, people were in high hopes, they cast their burdens on successive Nigerian democratical governments
Only few people believe in Nigeria, including the eventual headway lurking behind the challenges that seem to have constituted a stumbling block on its way to greatness. Apart from the few who have chosen to remain apathetic to the opening of Nigeria to development and at the lapse of the long tunnel are those who believe anything just happen and without putting in an effort, whilst also expecting a result that takes it to places in the comity of nations. Things don’t just happen except if they are made to, heaven also help those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Iconic Segun Odegbami in his wisdom posited and that “Nigeria should change its attitude to its failures and eliminate in totality despair,” our failures and despair have since forged itself into a challenging psychological trauma and which we have been forced to cater for, in the stead of our main problems and headways. To chart for ourselves a path out of this wilderness, we must be so fast to rediscover the Nigeria of our dream. This can only work with the aid of foresight, discretion.
In the Pre_Colonial era, it was commonsensical for a town to wage imperialistic war against the other for tributaries. European Colonialists came and entrenched their own indirect rule and with a distinct system in the east, which appeared to have unrepentantly adapted to the acephalous Igbo system. Surprisingly on the 15th of January, 1966, a volcanic eruption happened as the military government in Nigeria and which purported to have come stop corruption and indiscipline in our places of responsibilities. This was the general belief until all were startled by the disaster.
At Independence and subsequent attainment of a Republic in 1960 and 1963 respectively, people were in high hopes, they cast their burdens on successive Nigerian democratical governments. Not until they started nagging and even said they could have preferred the slavery of the colonialists other than the independence of their own people. Independence has since redefined itself and with people who promise to be the change, they want in the world compromising. It is a known fact that these are discoveries, however primitive have since permeated this sequence and not just a tenth of the citizenry are proud of it hence, rediscovering the Nigeria of our dream becomes important.
To start with, an average Nigerian wants the best of leadership, including a level playing ground where a child of a Nobody can become Somebody without knowing Anybody. The idea of a successful country stems from its economic value and the reflection of this on the citizenry. It is worthy of special note and that these are the things that are yet to happen in Nigeria.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1961 said “the influence which a nation exerts, the respect which it enjoys and the prestige accorded to it on the world scene depends on two important factors: the size of its wealth and calibre of its leadership.”
An economically vibrant country is predicated on good leadership. To devise an headway out of the current state of recession in Nigeria, it is the most important for us to rejig and reposition our leadership. The future before us is subject to changes and with the priorities we are setting straight. Elections have since betrayed the citizenry and with the bunch of distractions that just crept into it. The Nigeria of our dream is a place where Vote buying and so many other electoral infractions don’t have a breathing space, where we have also avail with the opportunities the best brains and characters.
Intelligentsia Professionals like Kemi Adeosun shouldn’t have vacated Nigeria if not for the fact that the system gave them more to chew, so many of our Best Brains have improved tremendously abroad and they have not given coming back home a thought. Rediscovering the Nigeria of our dream is contributing to building young, quality leaders who would be insulated from falling cheaply for corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
Lately, there was a peaceful demonstration in Nigeria. The demonstration hashed via the instrumentality of so many Nigerian youths who were disappointed at the stance of the state to their welfare. The #Endsars protest stressed the brutality of the men of the Nigerian Police Force, including a fragment of itself called Federal Anti Robbery Squard(FSARS). There were earlier ones in the history of the country, one of them was Oby Ezekwezili’s “Bring Back our Girls,” a Nationwide campaign for reuniting abducted Chibok girls with their parents.
A Nigeria of our dream is a place where it is mandatory for the state to see to the welfare of its citizens, being one of its foremost responsibilities as enshrined in section 14 subsection 1(b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria. Anything short of this is the definition for present day Nigeria, no wonder about 43 rice farmers were gruesomely murdered and 17 others wounded on the 28th November, 2020. This happened at a village called Koshobe, very close to Maiduguri the Capital of Borno state. It was orchestrated by terrorists of the dreaded Boko Haram sect who earlier killed 22 farmers around the same area last year.
A lot of people have blamed this on the Rehabilitative Measures employed by the Nigerian government with the members of this sect. This could be dangerous truly, not when the only solution out of insurgency is the purchase of enough in sophisticated weapons, with the soldiers fully mobilized financially to dislodge and eradicate insurgency. A vibrant Nigeria is not held to ransom by the enemies of the state, nor the army(WorkForce) underfunded to the level of being weak to mutiny. Security must be taken to be the bulwark of a successful state.
More so, it is a matter of public interest and that Nigerian constitution has since been fraught with so many loopholes unfilled. That we still resign to Decrees in a democracy has constituted serious arguments in the academia, Senate and the House of Representatives. The National Assemblies called so many Public hearings to ventilate perspectives in order to form a Referendum on the concept of a new constitution unsuccessfully.
However difficult this could be, it had been affecting adversely the growth of this country. There need be parameters in place for proposed Representatives at the National Assembly, of tremendous importance is the intellectual capacity and the experience expected of a good legal Draftsman. Rescuing this country is only meant for the serious ones, skillful at governance and administration. The Nigeria of our dream will prioritize all these.
Furthermore, the rate at which officials of the government are being paid could be much, one of the reasons why politics became a ladder to opportunities other than the service to humanity it is in civilized climes. An anonymous quote says “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great”. America is nothing without the citizens inhabiting it, its citizens have since chosen to be good and responsible, one of the reasons why the country had been blossoming. The country’s constitution was noted to be one of the most autochtonous, owing to the fact that it went through the nooks and cranny of the system. It served as the bedrock of Human Right, equality and justice.
Nigeria must take a cue from this and by putting an end to long convoys attached to Governors, Presidents and National Assembly members. To cut cost!
To corroborate my positions, I deem freedom of expression as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 constitution a prerequisite to an outstanding country. Constructive criticisms championed by individual citizens have the ability to give the right direction to stardom. There is no gain in taking outspoken activists to the gallows in a country like Nigeria, so many journalists have been unjustly incarcerated for writing the story the way it is. A few of them are Omoyele Sowore, Agba Jalingo for exposing the theft perpetrated by his state governor, including a prominent musician called Dadiyyata. Dadiyyatta wrote a music in the north, critiquing the position of Prophet Muhammed, he was sentenced to death under Sharia law for just this.
A reasonable number of peaceful protesters were recently murdered at Lekki toll gate and by men of the Nigerian army, operating on the order of the Federal government of Nigeria. This was without the earlier denial of deaths by the Lagos state government, but for the later broadcasts of both Arise television and CNN. CNN as a multinational Television ran a comprehensive report on the gruesome event of that Black Friday, whilst also indicating the Nigerian government of human right abuses. All these must stop!
Also, President Buhari as a matter of factly declared himself as the Petroleum Minister, without also forgetting that he has a responsibility to the state as its Chief Executive Officer. The deficiencies of a President who bombarded himself with overbearing responsibilities is becoming too glaring by the day, most especially at the wake of 2020, including the disasters that befell it: COVID_19, ASUU strike, increment in the levy for electricity and finally removal of the tariff on Petroleum.
The Presidential position should be seen as a position of trust and should not be muddled with any other responsibility, for one would affect the other. It is highly despicable that Nigeria, an oil_rich state could purchase oil from Niger. Far more disheartening is the fact that a Nigerian Minister actually said during the week and that we should be proud of importing oil from Niger. Nigeria is seriously endowed and would bounce back,
only if each would heed to Mother Teresa, who said ‘If each of us would only sweep our doorstep, the whole world would be clean’.
Education to say the least is one of the bedrocks to a sound country, each society is under the obligation of giving the education its conditions demands, without also compromising standards. Examinations malpractices must be curbed in schools while the system also tilt towards free education. This places children of humble backgrounds on the same pedestal with their wealthy counterparts and unlock to them laudable opportunities. Condemnable is the inability of the Nigerian government to see to the demands of ASUU, including so many other labour unions. The adverse effect of this rests on the younger generation of vulnerable students. These are the concerns of a better Nigeria.
Behold, agriculture is one of the undying legacies bequeathed by our fathers and it had since made a source of livelihood. Thus, should be explored in large scale and be made attractive. Fertilizers and so many other implements that would make it fascinating should be provided.
Finally, the efficiency of a man relies on the state of his health and this health should be so free, to the extent that he can secure it at the behest of his government. Public Hospitals are better made available at most of the rural and urban areas, with the people sensitized as to hygiene and polio. Consistent immunization on different communicable diseases should be carried out in both Primary and Secondary schools.
Conclusively, it is to be realized that the earnest pursuit of the aforementioned values leads Nigeria as a country to a state of rediscovery and that actually assists in launching it into its world of opportunities. To recover is achievable.
Tunde Akingbondere | Human Right Activist/Author
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