A win-win culture and meritocracy in Nigeria?
The last time that I published an article in this newspaper, I discussed issues surrounding the development of a country that we can refer to as “our own very dear country, Nigeria.” That is what happens when a country becomes progressive rather than retrogressive.
A country can also become non-developing, as many people have time and again thought that African countries should generally be considered to be. In these latter countries, especially the African ones, these have generally been as part and parcel of their retrogression and corruption as a culture. This corruption in non-developing countries is different from its ordinary sense in every community of human persons.
In these other corruptions, they occur as the ever-present sign of the wickedness of the ordinary heart of man! It is this inherent tendency to some ever murky corruption in small scales that the primary function of governance and true community development anywhere is to strive to develop public systems and institutions to control them. This institutional control of corruption is not only a primary function but also the true measures of any good government. A government that therefore does the contrary, creates or maximizes the basis of such corruption to grow – such as hegemonies, unjust public institutions, religious fanaticisms, – will only be leading to the further maximisation of those corruptions and retrogression of such polities.
In situations where deep cultural values (reasonably different but otherwise not necessarily bad in themselves) make such common governance institutions difficult to be developed or to function equitably, the minimum healthy thing for such places in the world to do is to healthily separate as independent nations. In the minimum, they re-organize or re-structure themselves into true federations or confederations of semi-independent nations. The former United Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, and a few other such nations and unions of the past and present had been examples of these political developments and situations – the Roman Empire, and the British, Oyo, Benin, Sokoto, Kanem-Borno, and Songhai Empires; etc. This other type of healthier federation is what Nigeria achieved at our independence in 1960, surely.
However, even in such places, true nations of smaller economically viable units or governments, without being called federations, can still be achieved. However, in such countries, meritocracy and the win-win (or, the “you win, I win”) culture, must be deliberately pursued and achieved for this to happen. Without it, all will be vanity and nothing but vanity; and common sense surely advises that those who do such things find happiness neither in the here nor in the hereafter; no matter the pretentious satisfaction that such frank wickedness would only seem to avail them. One of the other counter-balances that such progressive countries also develop is the affirmative culture for the underprivileged or howsoever disadvantaged peoples of such countries. Such is provided, for example, in ensuring that for such local places, the labour class employment as well as continuing education and personal development opportunities are provided galore for such people. In that way, they (as indeed, everybody else) are able to rise from as very lowly (merely labourer class) in the society as they ever can be, to the highest level of education and accomplishment that they can be – that is, through the artisanal and then to the professional or healthy political or true rulership classes of such societies. These are, as they may be specifically talented or indeed vocationally called to be! But this is not the same as the reward of disadvantage or laziness, the promotion of dormancy and refusal to self-develop, or such other silly injustices of community governances that only multiply the corruption in such places. Such retrogressive governances simply then, put the meritorious people into the disadvantaged of utter injustice! People who do such things will only be waiting for the most disastrous outcomes, no matter how else all these may be appearing to them many of the times; precisely because of the background accepted cultures of corruption.
Only in the last one week, we have had in circulation in the various popular electronic media globally and in Nigeria, stories of Nigerians all over the world – Canada, the USA, the UK, other parts of Africa, etc – who are receiving honours and even political governance appointments and electoral successes. They are doing these in those countries because there are more or better meritocracy and the “everybody-a-winner” culture; where the question is about what someone’s ascertainable qualifications are and what material, professional, or THE COMMON GOOD value s/he can add to such a society. The fact that these people come from the otherwise exactly “looked down upon Nigeria” did not matter in these circumstances. That surely is the measure of true civilisation. Anybody thinking otherwise should know for a certain that s/he has a mental, social, moral, or spiritual problem for which s/he should seek such needed curative help.
So, we return to the very question for which this reflection is being shared here. Can Nigeria ever begin or indeed truly pursue this true culture of development? Will she and her leaders ever wilfully agree, in their individual and corporate selves, that this is the only sensible way to go? What will be the result of the country and her leaders continuing in the present culture that both they and everybody else knows is leading us to nowhere? What do those who are continuing in this “Nigerian” culture of public theft or of presiding over it, of thinking that it can be a one-man messianic but funny/silly heroism, of hegemonies and of the other governance corruptions, think that they or the country will get with those ways? It will be good for those people to think of these questions, or those who can reach them may help them to do so.
Obviously, without popularly embracing these win-win, meritocracy, social justice, and affirmative action provisions for the howsoever challenged or disadvantaged people, this nation will never progress. This is not an evil wish, a cursing of the nation or a lamentation; as some may like to take it. It is simply a commonsensical observation of the facts as they are, a charitable (i.e., loving) call, if you like, to ourselves and our leaders to stop wasting time on these current useless ways of thinking and living. The everybody-a-winner culture cheats nobody, develops and brings out the best in everybody, meets everyone at their points of need exactly, makes everybody successful and happy, pursues and brings about the kingdom of God (heaven) on earth as the purpose of all religions, as Nigerians are wanting or thinking to be so full of; yet not quite so. It is only in hell, that some people will be (or at least think that they are) happy, merely because they exercise some injustice or wickedness over one or some others. No one needs to be “religious” to know these things, and surely hell itself starts here on earth for those who try to create it for themselves, or mistakenly for others. Common sense, the image and likeness of God in each one of us, tell us all as much. May that heaven, the combined win-win, meritocracy, social justice, and universal affirmative action cultural living, be a lot of every Nigerian, sooner than later! May the Pharisaical, sanctimonious, “Na you biko,” “Ranka dede,” “Baba ke,” evil godfatherism, slave-master, and “crumbs from the master’s table” culture disappear soon from Nigeria! And may this come in our lifetime, without people having to desire and work for it to come other than by a common and civilised soulful accent! God bless Nigeria!
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