Nigeria’s search for true and sustainable development drags on. We are daily being reminded on the pages of newspapers and other media outlets that the Nigeria of our dream is not yet within touching distance. There is poverty in the land. The economy is ailing. Our educational system is crumbling, at a speed unimaginable. The health sector remains in comatose and survival is now for the fittest.
The problem, of course, to the average Nigerian is the government. It has always been government- a cliché we have become so used to. Sadly, government is no longer the problem of Nigeria as a nation. The real problem now are Nigerians themselves.
If not anything, our penchant for constantly blaming government for the country’s challenges now and then is not only symptomatic of our little or no understanding of governance but also of our unreadiness to salvage Nigeria from its present quagmire. The people are always the fulcrum around which everything in a democracy revolves. They determine the kind of system governing them, the kind of leaders they have and are ultimately responsible for how the society operates.
Many Nigerians know this. Yet, it is saddening why they have slacked so badly in their overarching duty of pushing for the kind of society they want. The few who have attempted to kickstart the process have sadly been ridiculed, stripped of courage and blackmailed by the very people who should support them to rescue the nation from its pitiable state.
It will not be out of place to say Nigerians are the greatest architect of their own problem, given their indifference to issues of nation building. We have largely demonstrated that we are unready for the desired change in the country, in spite of the numerous challenges staring us in the face.
It will not be out of place to say Nigerians are the greatest architect of their own problem, given their indifference to issues of nation building.
Our huffs and puffs are becoming too weak to be taken serious by the elites- the so-called problems of Nigeria. The elites are not our problem. Our problems are those who aid the elite’s grip on power and resources for selfish aggrandizement.
There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in thought and focus on the causative factor of our drastic regression as a nation since independence. Nigeria’s problem has gone beyond the often-mouthed government.
Nigeria’s major problem are those who- for religious or ethnic indoctrination, among other benefits- continue to defend the ineptitude of our leaders. Our real problem are those who are selling out the future of their generations unborn just to curry favour from Nigeria’s characteristic money-bags politicians. Our real problem are those who have sacrifice their sanity on the altar of partisan politics.
For those who care to know, history has a way of telling us that the elites care less about the poor masses. That the poor masses have continued to volunteer themselves as willing tools in the hands of those who cared less about them defies reasoning. The fact that we are aware of our shortcomings but fail to tackle them headlong is indicative of our unwillingness to change the status quo. George Santayana couldn’t have put it better when he quipped “those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”
For those who care to know, history has a way of telling us that the elites care less about the poor masses. That the poor masses have continued to volunteer themselves as willing tools in the hands of those who cared less about them defies reasoning.
Nigeria’s problem is not beyond solution. However, its jumping off point to meaningful development must start with a holistic reorientation of the people. In a country of about 200 million people, it’s suicidal for the citizenry to leave issues of nation building solely in the hands of those elected into office without any effort to foster transparency and accountability. Nigeria’s transformation must begin with the masses- from attitudinal to ideological change. We shouldn’t expect any change from our leaders, when the masses themselves see no reason for change.