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We must act urgently to avert Nigeria’s collapse, says Ighodalo

By Eniola Daniel
19 November 2022   |   4:02 am
The Convener, Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI), Ituah Ighodalo, has declared that Nigeria is at a crossroad, lamenting that its fortunes have continued to decline to the detriment of its citizens.

Ituah Ighodalo

The Convener, Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI), Ituah Ighodalo, has declared that Nigeria is at a crossroad, lamenting that its fortunes have continued to decline to the detriment of its citizens.

Ighodalo, who spoke at the second edition of Rebuild Nigeria Initiative (RNI) held at the Metropolitan Club, Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island, Lagos last Thursday, said decades of poor governance and endemic corruption have worsened the standard of living of Nigerians.

He lamented that agitations from all sections of the country were escalating with worsening economic and human development indicators, adding that the situations threaten previous progress in building national cohesion, maintaining political stability, the emergence of the middle class and sustaining economic development.

Ighodalo, who is the Lead Pastor, Trinity House Church, warned that unless the current slippery slide was checked, the future of Nigeria was imperiled. 
 
His words:  “We must recognise that there is a sense of urgency to act if the collapse of our great nation is to be averted. 
 
“We firmly believe that a fair, just and equitable society is central to creating shared values and a sense of belonging for all Nigerians irrespective of ethnicity, tribe or religion; and that these values are a recipe for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria. We believe that Nigeria can be restored or even surpass its original glory and that our vision for the country is achievable, if we all play our part, no matter how small, to help solve the problems.

“RNI is inspired by the strong conviction that throughout history, meaningful change was brought about by men and women who refused to be spectators of human suffering and injustice but stood up and acted. They changed their society and the world. We learn not just from their strength, but their resilience in the face of tremendous difficulties, great adversity and personal suffering. Through their grit and sheer determination, these men and women stayed the course and changed their world. 

“At RNI, we hope to be the ones history has beckoned to inspire and motivate other concerned citizens towards concrete actions.”
 
Expatiating on his call for national peace dialogue, he said: “We believe that facilitating peace dialogues at sub-national, national and international levels reinforces the importance of peace as a cornerstone of civil wellbeing, security, politics and socio-economic prosperity.”

We plan to foster this between aggrieved groups to bridge divides and promote the sovereignty of one Nigeria, with values such as diversity, fairness, equity, justice and inclusion upheld by all.

“We believe that promoting and ensuring national reconciliation in all segments will help forestall new conflicts and de-escalate old ones in the country. Since national restructure and reconciliation is vital ingredients towards rebuilding Nigeria, we will, through our activities and programmes, foster their entrenchment into the national discourse.

“We believe that advocating for good governance and accountability is an important step towards rebuilding Nigeria. Accountability provides a very important role in creating good governance as a part of improving public confidence in leadership performance. RNI plans to actively contribute to the advent of a new Nigeria by investing in understanding the core issues driving socio-political conflicts around Nigeria; catalysing grassroots-led trust-building; facilitating problem-solving peace dialogues and establishing a peace treaty, because we hold strongly that dialogue is about listening, sharing and questioning.”
   
On what makes RNI’s approach different, he said: “We are organising differently as an advocacy group of Non-State actors along four broad clusters of organisations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed or funded by the government of Nigeria.”

Speaking during the panel session, former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Khadija Okunnu-Lamidi, said: “Nigeria has a deficit of trust and if we are not ready to build it, it will be difficult to build the nation. Nigeria must also build acceptable standards, contribute and be part of the political process. If we continue like this in the next few decades, there will be another uprising like the #EndSARS.”
 


On his part, President and Founder, African Enterprise Institute, Washington DC, U.S., Dr. Nichola Okoye, said: “Nigeria needs a mindset shift, both the Nigerian people and the Nigerian leadership. In Nigeria, we don’t take ourselves seriously enough. And for us to be taken seriously by the outside world, we must take ourselves seriously.

“One of the biggest problems in Nigeria is power. We have thousands of mechanical engineers but we have never designed a power generating set in Nigeria. All the generating sets used in Nigeria are imported so that tells you there’s something wrong with the people, not just the leaders. So, all our engineers go to school, come out and nobody is designing. Nobody is really inventing. We haven’t even invented a water pump. So, that tells you fundamentally it is a Nigerian problem. 

“We have to be able to look at ourselves as international citizens, as worthy of competing with the best in the world before you can expect the world to take you seriously. Then you come to the leadership; what kind of leaders are we electing me? Most of our leaders are ill-equipped for the job.”