Nigerians’ greatest mistake
SIR: Perhaps what has continually militated against the development and progress of the Nigerian state is a very grave mistake the citizens make. The mistake Nigerians continue to make is to see whoever occupies the number one position as the major problem facing the country. Right now, all accusing fingers point directly at President Muhammadu Buhari, the man now in the eye of the storm.
The various accusations levelled against the president mostly because of the unprecedented spate of insecurity have resulted in some members of the National Assembly spearheading a motion for his impeachment. Yet the problem is really never with the number one citizen and whatever Nigeria is or has become is simply what the citizens as a whole have built over the years.
Under Nigeria’s prevailing situation, what magic can any number one citizen perform to put things in proper shape? All over Nigeria are various and varying forms of saboteurs. While leaders are accused of failure to fix the refineries leading to continuous importation of fuel, nobody seems to consider the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals who usually render every government’s effort useless with billions of naira going down the drain. For years, there had been clamour and suggestions for the diversification of the Nigerian economy from the crude oil. In order to achieve such objective, the current president closed the border to check the influx of foreign goods and smuggling of grains and other items into the country so that local farmers would be encouraged do their business most successfully. But majority of the citizens saw Muhammadu Buhari as an instant enemy by closing the borders.
The truth of the Nigerian situation is that Nigerians themselves have succeeded in building a completely lawless and ungovernable nation, and no matter who occupies the number one position, he may never be able to make much impact. While the citizens are never ready to pay taxes to the government, they choose rather to pay them to their religious leaders instead. Yet, the same people who refuse to contribute to their own development will still continue to criticise their leaders for failure in various aspects. But as soon as Nigerians relocate to other lands, they are forced to learn the importance of taxes in national development.
Whether anyone believes it or not, the honest truth about Nigeria is that those working to pull the country down far outnumber those who desire a positive turn around for the country and under such a situation, no matter how hard any leader tries, he may never be able to make much impact or record any measure of success.
Jide Oyewusi, coordinator of Ethics Watch International, wrote in from Lagos.