A mind commission for Nigeria
Sir: I believe in quality leadership not a system of governance. In better governance, not different and new governance. I see policy somersaults by new administrators everywhere in Nigeria against the old, environments that are snafu-ridden, us versus them and I can’t help but expostulate. Instead of going the way of old by establishing the NDDC, North East Development Commission and, the clamour for the South East Development Commission. We may disband the commissions above (has the NDDC achieved its goals), to establish a MIND Commission in all geopolitical regions. Funded by government in the interim but run independently and professionally by tough hombres who have gone to the moon and back. (Figuratively speaking).
As draconian as the communists were, they provided the citizenry with information. In Nigeria, people are taught how to read after which they go about looking for materials to read. You need to see youngsters who have read only one book about a civil war, even with more than two dozens out there who claim to know so much about that war. And so there is a dearth of intellectualism. No heroes. Unlike elsewhere where some look up to Kant, Descartes, Goethe, Shakespeare, Dante, J.K Rowling etc. They consume their works furiously.
How can a country develop without heroes, information and willingness to learn about other parts of Nigeria?
These will be addressed by the commission. I trust policy experts, they know how to tailor such a commission for development. No amount of foreign aid will develop Nigeria without a prepared body willing to suffer for the growth of all. And one way to prepare such a body is to feed it with information, texts and books. Ask the Vietnamese how they defeated the U.S. They didn’t have superior fire-power but only the will made possible by the education of the minds of the people. Some around me don’t bother looking for work, like I do. They tell me heart- on-hand that they don’t have to. How can? With properties and lands bequeathed to them by forebears and above all there is oil? Some place, children roam the streets at a time when little children should be in school.
I am not a fan of Vladimir Lenin but he advised his followers never to give money to beggars but to make them more hungry so they can revolt against the system. A mind commission may make us committed to changing the system. To make us know why garri is more expensive in Port Harcourt, compared to nearby Owerri. To help Nigerians stop clinging to personalistic and self-serving rulers as heroes. Such a commission will make literally texts about Nigeria, her people, culture, challenges, solutions available to Nigerians without citizens having to stop under bridges to look for such books which by the way is not a guarantee that they will find.
It will force us to look for the root of our problems, to give us the tools to eliminate the causes and not deal with the symptoms only as we are always habituated to do. A mind commission will teach youngsters that sleeping in religious homes, won’t make them rich. Neither will ritual killing do. It will teach the importance of leaving legacies for posterity. Not the ‘Evans’ type of legacy. Such a commission will be a point for linking entrepreneurs to other people who may help catapult them to the business ladder. I see a mind commission raising conscious youths to believe in integrated pluralism, cross-cultural integration, interdependency and demanding accountability from leaders.
It may force people to establish foundations to help the poor in all regions of the country. So bad that we all depend on Foundations such as Ford, Rockefeller,
Carnegie, Dangote etc without which we may not be able to survive. Are others by Nigerians in name only?
Simon Abah, Port Harcourt.
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