Monday, April 21, 2014

Reclaiming Nigeria: The Way Forward By Abubakar Sidiq Usman

Published:

From crisis to sustainable development,’ a World Bank publication in 1989 asserts that “underlying the litany of Africa’s development is the crisis of governance; by governance is meant the exercise of political powers to manage the affairs of the nation’s affairs.” 

It thus becomes imperative that the main problem confronting the growth and development of Nigeria is governance and that is due largely because those charged with the responsibilities of the country have failed to manage it for the good of the people.

The expectation since the attainment of independence is that an independent Nigeria will present and expand equal opportunities of economic, social and cultural advancement of the people; but a critical analysis of the indices of development points to the fact that these expected benefits have been undermined by successive Nigerian leaders.

The political, socio-cultural and economic crisis the country is witnessing today is borne out of a system influenced by bad or ineffective leadership and corruption. While the various policies and programmes of successive government have become the source of deprivation, frustration, poverty and hunger to the poor majority, the few ones in government leadership positions channel resources meant for the provision of basic facilities and services like good roads, water, heath, education etc into their private pockets. 

Even with the advent of democracy, where the people are supposed to decide those that are elected into certain offices, what we have since the 13 years of its existence are leaders who lack the temerity, will power, and patriotism to provide effective leadership to the people. What they do not lack however is the ability to siphon public funds into private pockets.

It is obvious that those we call leaders have failed and can no longer be trusted to govern us. The question however is whether we want to leave the country in the hands of these few and despotic individuals or we want to reclaim Nigeria for the good of all Nigerians. If our so called leaders are blind in handling matters when they are confronted with major decisions that affect the life of the nation, should we not reclaim our dear country from them? I think we should and must do so, but in doing so, we must be guided by certain factors so that the project will not fail even before it commences.

If we must reclaim Nigeria, we must in the first instance see unity as the weapon with which we can dislodge this present crop of leaders. Our ethnic and religious difference is what our elites have used in manipulating us over the years, but if we can put aside our differences irrespective of the tribe and religion we represent, we will destroy that weapon they have always used against us. If those in the ruling class can unite to steal our wealth, why won’t we unite also to change policies and programmes of selfish government, and vote in worthy, qualitative and efficient people into positions of leadership.

The bond that ties us together as a nation runs very deep, deeper than any individual cause or interest. Therefore, we must prove to the world that we are standard bearers of an independent country which we must stand to safeguard and secure for the generations yet unborn.

Second is the need for us to actively participate in the process of democracy and governance in the country because the whole concept of democracy is about citizen participation; and where that lacks, the ruling class will be armed with the weapon of controlling what happens in the polity. With our unity, we can form organisations through which people can participate in governance, or as pressure groups in our agitation for good governance.

Ordinary Nigerians, comprised of workers, students, youth, professionals, and women can even form a political party to ensure power shift from the ruling class to the hands of ordinary and qualified Nigerians who will use the country’s human and material resources to encourage industrialisation, and also present efficient, effective and quality education, housing, healthcare amongst others to the people.

Such organisation or political party must however be devoid of any selfish or sectional interest. The youth, most especially, must be at the forefront of this initiative, because as major stakeholders in the Nigerian Project, we must not let our responsibilities lie in the cold. The pride of the nation is enshrined in our innocent heart and the salvation of Nigeria is dependent on our scholastic development as youth. Therefore every youth must remember at all times that what he or she embodies the future of Nigeria.Another thing that we must not fail to do in our quest for reclaiming Nigeria is the need to enlighten each and every citizen of the country. People who have the resources should engage in massive educational programmes (through rallies, discussions, books, newspapers, leaflets and the social media) within and among various organisations and groups towards building solidarity among Nigerians and exposing the conspiracy of our leaders against the people. These educational efforts must focus on grassroots oriented civic education that would deal with leadership and followership issues. It should also focus on the anti people nature of annual budgets, the unending ruling class tactics of institutionalizing corruption and the unending war against the provision of basic social welfare as well as the right of every Nigerian to employment, clean environment, good healthcare delivery and fully funded public education etc.

Finally, but very importantly, is the need for us to embark on intercessory prayers for the nation. Prayer is an essential ingredient for success. It is the motivation that is used to seek for divine gift, the spirit that is used to seek for the bounty of the Almighty, and the sword of the believer. So we must have faith in God and seek for his face so that we can break the mountains of horrors placed before us by our leaders.

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