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Nigeria @ 62: Gridlocks and illusive el- dorado 

By Bobson Gbinije 
05 October 2022   |   4:13 am
With peremptory magistracy and awesome gallantry our founding fathers fought with dogged obduracy for the political independence of our glorious country, Nigeria.

With peremptory magistracy and awesome gallantry our founding fathers fought with dogged obduracy for the political independence of our glorious country, Nigeria, They clamoured with no-holds-barred, like the Roman hero Horatius, who fought with Spartan intrepidity defending Rome from the Etruscan invaders. Horatius asked like our founding fathers; “And how can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods”?

Our founding fathers invested their dreams on Nigeria, but whither goeth Nigeria today? After 62 years of political independence, Nigeria is still silhouetted in the sordid saga and tapestry of progressivistic labyrinth. We are still rumbling in the cabbage of unthinkable corruption, arrant poverty, HIV –AIDS, Malaria Scourge and arrested development.

After 62 years of independence, we have no functional hospitals, no roads, no affordable houses, no jobs and no food security, no light, no effective transport system, no water, no affordable education and no road map and viable blue print for strategic repositioning of our country, Nigeria. The statesman, Alfred  Rewane captures the scenario thus: ‘yesterday, we yearned for a better tomorrow. Today, we mourn the loss of a better yesterday. How sad”?

Now, party blames party, Legislature blames Executive, Executive blames Legislature, Tribe blames tribe, zone blames zone, private sector blames public sector, public sector blames private sector, followers blame leaders, leaders blames followers”. Who blames self? Now we turn round and say “Nigeria has failed us’ But who makes up Nigeria? 
Nigeria has not failed, we have failed ourselves!

Working together, mission driven, with shared passion and vision-focus Nigeria Shall Rise Again. Things work only if we make them work! They work only as we make them work. So Lets Work The Work!!” Our search for the panacea to our ever illusive EL Dorado will be brought to near fruition, if we adopt a more responsible and constructive focus on:
(a) Leadership by example: It is a quintessential fact that good leadership has been the bane of the Nigerian nation. Right from 1962 till date. We need leaders that can carry the vast majority of Nigerians along through policies that will alleviate the agonies and travails of the people. 

Nigeria is a nation formed as a result of the agglomeration of different and myriad groups of heterogeneous peoples and the geo-political setting is complex. We need leaders who understand the political calculus inherent in the system. Leaders that can build on this melting-pot foundation by self- abnegation and patriotism.

As the 2023 election approaches, we hope and pray that our leaders will not resort to thuggery, political assassinations, vote rigging etc. to get power. It is clear that the political antecedents of our politicians remain hideously ghoulish, but we call on them to put Nigeria first before exercising their pathological quest for power.

Economy: A good, progressive and functional economy, constitutes the matrix on which the growth and development of any nation can take place, Nigeria has been quite amorphous in its economic principles and logistics, although we have been called one of the fastest growing economies in the world and the highest in Africa.

It is time to call ourselves to order in Nigeria and start orchestrating new sound economic strategies and principles that are centrifugal and centripetal in their orientation. The current economic policies of Brazil, Russia, India and China must be studied. They are the fastest growing economies in our world today. Economic husbandry and effective harnessing of resources is about putting food on the peoples table, education, health care delivery, employment, transportation, housing and electricity. All our leaderships have not been able to provide, 62 years of independence. 

How can Nigeria borrow $13.5billion paid $42 billion and we still owe $30billion?
Since Nigeria is a mono-cultural economy the time has come for the oil sector to be properly 
overhauled and purged of all its hindrances and cleavages like corruption, mismanagement, oil theft and non-accountability. Nigerians are tired of buying fuel at astronomically high prices caused by the inability of the Nigerian leadership to maintain existing refineries and its refusal to build new ones. 

The oil multinationals must be prevailed upon to impact positively on the lives of the communities in which they operate. The recurrent youth restiveness and pipeline vandalization in the Niger Delta could be checked if they carry their various communities along. Since the discovery of oil in Olobiri, Bayelsa State in 1962 and its subsequent commercialization in 1958 the Niger Delta has not felt the impact of the oil in their land. This will continue to constitute a destabilizing factor in Nigeria. We appeal to the leadership to approve an increase on derivation formula without further delay. After 62 years of Nigeria’s independence, the Niger Delta still remains a concrete jungle.

It is a shame that Nigeria remain one of the largest importers of food in the world, whilst China with its over 1.5 billion people feeds itself. A new Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) and a new school to farm project must re-launched. It is a shame that 2/3 of 150 million Nigerians still live on $1 dollar a day. A leadership that cannot feed the people and a nation that cannot feed itself are doomed to perdition. 

Providing food for the teeming masses should be the cardinal and fundamental concern and priority of government at all levels. The importation of farmers from Zimbabwe is not the answer.
Education: Nigeria’s educational system is chaotically schismatic and in a state of miasmatic contretemps. It has tended to apotheosize certificate acquisition without making the certificate holder functionally useful to him or herself and society. In the past our colonial masters prepared a system that could turn out clerks to help implement their colonial administrative policies. Their system is now anachronistic. The rhythm of development in 21st century now entails scientific and technological and vocational skill driven educational system. We need an educational system that makes a man use his head and his hands to help himself and society. The proliferation of universities and other tertiary institutions is a welcome development, but all educational regulatory bodies and directorates like Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC) must ensure that high standards are maintained.

The octopoidal tentacles of corruption must be exterminated hook, line and sinker for Nigeria to make any meaningful progress. So far, the EFCC and ICPC are on track, but it is clear that they cannot go far enough because the enabling legislation are not completely in place and indeed, a terrible problem requires a drastic solution. From all indications, it is obvious that the EFCC is still under the grip of the president and its selective justice system portrays it as an instrument for political witch-hunting and vengeance. Until the EFCC and ICPC rededicate themselves to high standard of diligence, objectivity, integrity and fairness, it will go the way of other agencies that were entrusted with the onerous task of eradicating corruption in our country.

Religion: Religion is a belief in the worship some powers greater than mortal. The constitution states under General Provision, Part II, Section 10 that “the Government of the Federation or a state shall not adopt any religion as state Religion”. The religious antics of our leadership points to the contrary. Religion has become politicized by the government. It is now a tool for vote magnetization. This is further compounded by the fundamental antecedents of some Muslims and Christian pastors and leaders. This is not good for a united, peaceful and cohesive nation of our dream. Government and politicians should hands off religion and should stop using religion as a political tool.

Democracy, Unity and 2023 Elections:
By Lincolnian standards “democracy is the government of the people by the people for the people” and by Jeffersonian standard “democracy is the selection of leaders by competitive elections. It is a system of government that maximizes the level of the popular will as a determinant of government’s policy and action”. Democracy is a process and not just an event. The manner in which elections have been conducted in Nigeria since independence, shows that it is worse than useless, as politicians wants to win elections by any means. We therefore call on the politicians and the electoral institutions to please ensure that the forthcoming 2023 elections are conducted in an atmosphere devoid of violence and rancorous posturing. We could learn a lot from the Indian elections by adopting the Electronic Voting Machine (e-voting). But no system will be full proof unless Nigerians, politicians and INEC decides to don the toga of integrity and honesty.
Chief Gbinje is of Mandate Against Poverty (Map), Warri.
He can be reached via (08023250378)

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