Christwealth: State of our development is worrisome
Dr. Kola Olusola Christwealth, an entrepreneur and Chairman of Christwealth Group, in Igbesa, Ogun State spoke to GBENGA AKINFENWA on the state of the nation at 57.
Nigeria is 57 today, what is your assessment on the state of the nation?
We have come a long way as a nation. There is so much to cheer about and so much to sigh at. I am happy that we are still together as a nation, you can look at it from whichever angle, the truth is that we are better off as one.
We have also had the longest, uninterrupted democracy since independence. We survived a civil war, we went into recession and gradually getting out of it, we have not had any plane crash for quite a while and we shall never have again, several national tragedies have been averted, Boko Haram is under control, our President is alive. We indeed have so much to be grateful to God for.
On the flip side, however, the available statistics about the state of our development as a nation since the last 57 years are worrisome. Countries that were either coming behind us or at the same level with us in terms of development before and at independence, have left us far behind. United Arab Emirates has left us behind, China, Singapore, Malaysia and several others are now far ahead of us. Some of these countries were far behind us then.
The problems confronting nation are not solely caused by the present government, it is the accumulation of challenges of succeeding governments since independence.
We have wasted our fortunes and opportunities as a nation. We have under optimised our natural and human resources. As a people, we are not less in brilliance, innovation, energy, entrepreneurship than any people in the world. When the American Senate gave a standing ovation to Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on its floor in the 1960s, it was not an ovation to him as a person, but an ovation to all Nigerians. The accolades that greeted Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his innovations were not accolades to him alone or the Western Nigeria, but to the entire nation of Nigeria. Nnamdi Azikiwe epitomised the brilliance of Nigerians and his writings and speeches even before gaining national prominence showed that we are a nation of brilliant people.
Where did we get it wrong then? We got everything wrong by promoting mediocrity! I dare say anybody that believes in the superiority of one tribe over the other belongs to the Stone Age. We are in a global village where even racial divides are being pulled down, but some mediocre personalities come out to preach tribal hates. You don’t hear the word ‘tribe’ among people of civilised nations of the world. I schooled and lived in UK for few years and I never heard of an English or Welsh, Scott or Irish describe himself as belonging to a tribe. Why do we preach tribalism in Nigeria? Why do we portray ourselves as uncivilised, uncultured, backward people? We will never progress or develop as long as we retain this primitive sentiment.
We front incompetent people to run strategic ministries, agencies and departments in the name of quota system, another word for tribal system, and they mess up the MDA and leave the nation and everyone of us worse off for it. We appoint Ambassadors that do not even understand the meaning of the word, talk less of the weight of that exalted position. When I become the president of this country by the grace of God, any Ambassador that does not attract foreign investment to Nigeria, protect the interest of Nigerians and Nigeria and promote our image will be recalled!
We should be legacy conscious for once and put the right people in right positions, irrespective of their tribes. We need civilised people in government at all levels, we need civilised teachers in schools, we need civilised people in businesses and every area of our national lives. We need people who will not make religion or tribe the basis for appointment or employment.
Nigeria seems to be at crossroads; some are calling for separation, while others are calling for restructuring. What do you think is the best for the country?
We can never separate. We are one indivisible, strong nation. So there is no question of separation. Those who are clamouring for separation or division don’t know the repercussions. Do you think a Yoruba nation can stand alone and united? I tell you the Oyos will not submit to the Egbas and the Ijebus will claim superiority over the Ijeshas. The Ijaws will not be at peace with the Ishekiris and the Idomas, Nupes, Tivs can never be at peace with one another, so are the Hausas and Fulanis.
In the North there will be tension and fight for supremacy among Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Fulfulde, Margi, Schwa, Babur. In the East, Igbo, Edo (Bini), Esan, Esako, Okpameri, Owan Enuani, Ika, Ndokwa, Okpe, Urhobo, Isekiri, Isoko, Ijo, Efik, Ejagham, Bekwara will be fighting it out
In the West, the Egberi, Egun, Yoruba will not be at ease. In the Middle Belt Berom, Ngas, Tarok, Mwahavul, Goemai, Eggon, Borghan, Nupe, Gbagi, (Gwari), Kambari, Kamuku, Tiv, Idoma, Igede will lose sleep. And in the South South, Ikwere, Kalabari, Kana and others will claim they are not of the same mother.
Ethnic war is worse than tribal or regional war. Nigeria is our covering. God gives us prominence, recognition, power. We should protect the country. We are a nation of over 500 ethnic groups; we cannot survive if we brake.
I support restructuring that is devoid of tribal and religious sentiments or connotation. The interest of Nigerians should be the primary consideration in any effort at restructuring.
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