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By Chiedu Uche Okoye
08 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
CONTINUED FROM FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2015 How to solve our national problems TIME marches on, interminably. It is human beings that divide time into year, month, week, day and hour. The year 2012 was a period in our nation’s history. It is now a page in our book of history. It was a year filled…

CONTINUED FROM FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2015

How to solve our national problems

TIME marches on, interminably. It is human beings that divide time into year, month, week, day and hour. The year 2012 was a period in our nation’s history. It is now a page in our book of history. It was a year filled with gory and chilling tales. The Boko Haram group, who wants to Islamise the country, inflicted maximum havoc and harm on Nigeria in 2012. In the past year, kidnappers abducted prominent Nigerians and received huge ransom payments before they released them. And, in the immediate past year, armed robbers would strike at banks in broad day light with dynamite to cart away millions of naira.

We are in the year, 2013, and the status quo ante is yet to change. The Federal Government can’t combat insecurity challenges that threaten our corporate existence as a united country. But, it is not only the problem of insecurity that has stalled our national progress. Our current political leadership, whose incompetence is obvious and indisputable, has failed to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed millions of Nigerians. In 2012, people with Ph.D certificates competed with holders of First School Leaving Certificate for driving jobs in Dangote Transport Company. Economic deprivation has pushed highly educated Nigerians to seek employments that do not befit them. People with doctorate degree certificates should seek for places in our universities; driving trucks for a living does not befit them.

  Again, this administration has failed to revamp our dysfunctional system. But, our leaders are not unaware that education is the pivot of all forms of development. With skilled manpower, and knowledgeable citizens, in addition to our vast national resources, Nigeria can drive its technological and economic initiatives. But, now, sadly, well-heeled Nigerians send their children to schools outside Nigeria and pay exorbitant school fees, thus causing capital flight here.

  Our health sector is as bad as other areas of our national life. Many sick Nigerians have died in hospitals outside Nigeria where they had gone to seek medical treatment. Here, doctors in the employ of the government embark on industrial action to agitate for better welfare packages.

  So, for all our human and material resources, Nigeria hasn’t become an economic power. It has not realised its potential. As a country, given our endowments, Nigeria has the capacity to become one of the leading economic powers in the world. Aren’t we blessed with favourable weather conditions and fertile soil? Beneath our land lie crude-oil deposits, lime stone, tin-ore and others. Here, the acts of nature that devastate other countries seldom happen here.

  So, why is Nigeria not a developed country? Everybody is not unaware that corrupt political leadership is at the root of our problems. Chinua Achebe, the father of modern African fiction, diagnosed Nigeria with leadership problems. Corrupt political leadership is the debilitating cancer choking life out of Nigeria.

  Billions of naira had been proposed for building a modern banquet hall and official residence for the vice president in a country where millions of people are without shelter. Is this how the government can address our housing problem? The President of Uruguay lives in his wife’s farm house. Again, under the fuel subsidy regime, billions of naira is paid to importers of petroleum products for what they didn’t import. Nigeria is the cash cow into which people in the corridors of power have thrust their knives to get their slice of the national cake.

  Nigeria is sliding towards the brink of disintegration owing to the Boko Haram insurgency and corrupt political leadership that exist here. Nigeria can’t get out of the mud of under-development and insecurity challenges unless people with moral scruples and fear of the Creator assume the leadership of this country.

  Nigerians are afflicted with spiritual aridity and moral vacuity, so we don’t set store by honesty, integrity and probity. In fact, the man who passes up the opportunity to corruptly enrich himself while occupying a crucial position of power will become a butt of jokes when he leaves power. His kinsmen will refer to him as a sucker. Conversely, ex-convicts, nation-wreckers, felons and villains are given national honours and conferred with honorary degrees and chieftaincy titles. This is a country of anomalous happenings; a country where bad is referred to as good and the bad deed will become an acceptable norm. 

  Here, everybody pretends to be a devout Moslem or a pious Christian. Every Sunday, our churches are filled to capacity and the overflow stand or sit in the scorching sun to worship. Worshippers wear somber and pious looks and frequently call on the Lord. Yet, our actions contradict our religious avowals. Our deeds as professed Christians and Moslems are not in harmony with the teachings of the Bible and the Koran. So, there is no gain saying the fact that Nigeria is a country of spiritual aridity and moral vacuity irrespective of our religious pretensions. What we need mostly and urgently is moral regeneration. 

  Concerning effecting moral re-birth among us, the churches should inculcate virtues and ennobling virtues in their members and shelve their prosperity message which encourages criminal deeds. The Mosques should do the same thing as the Churches are doing.

A morally upright person who fears God will follow the dictates of his conscience when discharging his duties. A man with scruples will not dip his fingers into our financial till to steal our collective money. When the righteous are in power, corruption will become a thing of the past, and as they say, a nation prospers. Nigeria will be set on the path of technological and economical advancement.

  Again, the factors of imposition of leaders and luck which determine the emergence of our national leaders have always thrown up people who are either ill-prepared or incompetent to tackle our national problems. Has Nigeria ever been led by its first eleven? The answer is a categorical, no. Our electoral system should be rejuvenated, and revamped to eliminate election rigging and ensure that those who are elected into office represent the collective will of the people.

  Nigeria is not past redemption; we can still retrieve our country from the jaws of destruction and mud of underdevelopment.

• Okoye, is a public affairs commentator, Uruowolu-Obosi, Anambra State.

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