By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu
Nigeria is about to make a History or repeat History in the coming weeks. History is a blueprint of our past. With all of its mistakes and triumphs, it tells a story that is always repeated somewhere else in time, some place in every generation, but many times under a different disguise or a different method. Nigeria has had a reoccurring problem. It is not just a problem; it is a trouble. The trouble with Nigeria leaves a hangover on the masses while the elites and political leaders hide under an umbrella, immunity and a cover.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership. It’s not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position. A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others. Growth inside fuels growth outside.” (John C. Maxwell). Part of the trouble with Nigeria so far is that her leaders lack the qualities that can transform, engineer growth and progress. Looking at the post-independence era, politicking, gimmicks, greed, tribalism and ethnic jingoism has torn the country apart in her journey to nationhood usually manifested by the political leaders.
Every generation needs a reformation, because when we forget our History or our reason for living, then our reliance on political moneybags for development and transformation can become illusive, dormant, and chances of innovation, growth closed and blocked. Nigeria started in 1914 with amalgamation, European colonialism and political independence.
We often hear about 1966 Coup; Why the Military Struck, military Heads of State, the Vision of Nigerian Nationalists, Patriotism in Political leadership. We also talk about the Fathers of Nigerian Democracy, impact of Nigerian Civil War and the efforts to combat corruption and improve governance. For the past 10 years, everything in Nigeria has taken a nosedive and a downward turn.
It’s on record that since 1999, Nigeria had maintained a smooth, seamless transition from one democratic dispensation to another. But as it stands, the Democracy in Nigeria is threatened from within and without. Nigeria cannot be called a State at the moment or better still, a failed state. The Presidential Elections Petition Court plays a crucial role in ensuring the integrity of the electoral process by addressing allegations of irregularities or fraud during the election.
The various democratic institutions are weak, ailing and dead. The tribes, regions are fractious and divided. The rule of law is not supreme and the government lacks legitimacy. Addressing the structure of criminality requires comprehensive efforts, including strengthening law enforcement, improving judicial processes, and implementing effective social and economic policies to tackle the root causes. The intention here is to ensure transparency and accountability in the electoral process, fostering public trust in the democratic system.
On the other hand, a nation refers to a group of people who share common cultural, historical, linguistic or ethnic characteristics. They have a sense of identity and belonging to a particular community. A nation might reside within one or multiple countries.
Nigerian leaders have not been able to explore the rich cultural heritage, diverse ethnic groups, languages and traditions towards influencing the nation’s identity and unity. This has made the journey to nationhood tortuous. Nigeria’s journey to nationhood can be described as a tumultuous yet transformative process. It has been characterized by a complex mix of ethnic diversity, political tensions, economic challenges, and instances of corruption.
The struggle for independence from colonial rule, followed by the quest for stable governance and equitable resource distribution, has led to both moments of unity and periods of division. Despite the obstacles of corruption and social anxieties, Nigeria’s journey reflects the resilience of its people and the ongoing effort to forge a unified national identity amidst a dynamic and multifaceted landscape. Leadership is not about being the best. Leadership is about making everyone else better.
Moreover, reformation brings a complete upheaval to a dark situation and, through great physical and spiritual strength, creates an atmosphere of freedom and relationship between God and his people. Nigeria needs a rebirth. A new Nigeria is possible. It’s far more than an outcry.
The machinery of government may decide to do otherwise but retribution and nemesis will follow. Has there been any exploration of the opportunities for economic diversification and development in sectors like agriculture, technology and manufacturing? Everywhere the notion of ‘Japa’, ‘Sapa’ and ‘country hard’ reigns.
Furthermore, the inflation in Nigeria has risen from 22.22% to 27%. This notwithstanding, the government removed subsidy on energy, shut down the informal sector, increased tariffs. Developed economies retain and maintain subsidy on energy as a boost to the economy but every political leader in Nigeria thinks ‘self’ first. ₦10 billion and ₦4 billion is made every week from removal of subsidy while Nigerians languish in perpetual poverty.
Languishing Nigerians face a lot of challenges ranging from economic struggles, corruption, security issues and lack of development. Most federal roads in the country have not been maintained for the past 20 years. Many cannot visit their home due to high cost of transportation and a lot of companies are losing millions daily. Many cannot do business any longer due to the high rate of exchange and scarcity of dollar.
Some companies have even shot down operation leading to more unemployment. Yet, the government is never bordered about these ugly trends. The present government in Nigeria has demeaned the psychology of young people and every evil thing is on the increase – armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, cybercrime, ritual killings, internet fraud, begging etc.
However, Nigeria has been a country where anything is possible – lawlessness prevails. But the game plan is to change the narrative and the judiciary may or may not be willing to co-operate. Nigerians have witnessed the worst from the Courts. The youths have seen the unimaginable in the occupation of political offices. Nothing has changed in Nigeria and nothing is willing to change except the citizens force it to change.
The ‘Change’ mantra that the APC came with in 2015 ironically was a change in their personal lives, pockets, investments, acquisitions etc. The best advice giving to someone who wants to be rich in Nigeria is ‘join politics. The ‘Renewed Hope’ slogan was not aimed at impacting or intervening in the sufferings of Nigerians but for cronies and hangers-on.
Finally, there is a vision for the future of Nigeria. Strategies are already in place to build a prosperous and inclusive nation. The current political climate in Nigeria must be done away with to institute a new order. Nigeria has faced challenges related to organised crime, corruption, and security issues.
These challenges often arise due to a combination of socioeconomic factors, weak institutions, and governance issues. The youths are ready to take back Nigeria for their empowerment, education and sustainable development.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu writes from Lagos – Nigeria.