The Nigeria Project: Gleaning from the past, rethinking the future
By Orodiran Oluwatosin Sunday
Nigeria has witnessed a lot of developmental phases since gaining independence. Within the scope of 59 years, we have faced many problems. Some of these problems served as motivations to little developmental growth we can count as success for our land today, while many of these challenges remain insurmountable till today. The first decade of independence witnessed our political birth. As a baby and heterogeneous nation, we suffered politically because we were unable to handle equal political participation.
This drew some unhealthy attention from different quarters of the country and later led to a civil unrest for so many years. After solving that political issue and with what seemed as if we got the right answer to one of our difficult puzzles, we believed that was enough. Nigeria witnessed economic boom as a result of petroleum discovery and exploitation. We got global attention and things changed for us. Our involvement in the development and growth of African nations was encouraging. These and many pointed attainments recorded in that era were the tricks that made people believe that we got a bright future as a nation.
However, when we take a look at where we are today, we have no option but to assume that we are here today as a result of some tables we left unturned in our post independent era. After the first 20 years, Nigeria suddenly grew wild in governmental affairs. Everyone in this country wanted a chance at administration. Our urge to be involved in governance was so high that it prompted undue anxiety to hold positions in this country. This technically became the major running order on the list of any adminstration that came into power. We gave birth to a corrupt and unfair society. We were exposed to the wealth of our nation and different persons, quarters, ethnic groups, and tribal regions became insecure and they started struggling to get involved in order to save their roots.
However, when we take a look at where we are today, we have no option but to assume that we are here today as a result of some tables we left unturned in our post independent era.
We have no tolerance for national unity; societal development; increase in intellect, scientific and technological growth and so many other beneficial areas of life. While other African nations like Ghana, South Africa, Algeria and some others were busy empowering their nations, we were playing hide and seek in politics. We failed to realize that no matter our differences, what unites us is Nigeria. We failed to see ourselves as one, we failed to recognize the fact that we can only work for the growth of this nation and not for individuals. We failed to hone our leadership skills that could have brought great influence in solving some of our mental and socio-economic problems. Today, we can categorically say that Nigeria produces fewer leaders than has been recorded so far in her history.
Nevertheless, our situation is not insurmountable as people think. We can still make this country great. Though very few people believe this, we are still on the boat of this country, hence the only option we have is to hold on to hope and join hands to cart our sail to a good shore. If this is to be achieved, we have to turn those tables we left unturned in the previous era.
We need to look at our political structure and set in necessary reformation with immediate effect. We need absolute participation in government. What do we mean by Absolute Political Participation? Our politics as at now gives room for some sets. Though, this is not what we profess we are practicing but that is what we operate in reality. Our political mantle is being rotated within few people since independence. And only these people are giving us their operational ideas.
However, this Absolute Political Participation will bring power to the masses and give room for the intellectual youths who have brilliant ideas to partake in decision making. It will as well give the masses the mandate to make decisions by themselves. This will break many barriers that seem so tough in this nation as taking government to the people is the first approach to build any nation.
Likewise, we need to develop National Concern Political Spirit. John Maxwell suggests in one of his books that human beings are too selfish; they want you to do their own first. Yes, but we need to bury this attitude and grow national attitude. We need to develop concern for national development. Individualism, tribalism, religion, and polarization won’t help us; “Nigerianism” will unite us and can take us far. Every citizen of this nation needs a mental rebirth to know that we don’t need to work for just individual, tribal, or regional development. When we develop our national interest, we will discover that the only thing that matters is our national growth. We are one, no matter the language, colour, religion and sect. Let’s start working as a team for national progress.
In addition, we need an Open Education System. The attention currently being paid to education in Nigeria is extremely low. A nation can never be better than what her citizens know. We know too little in this nation. When you meet average Nigerian graduates and you engage them in critical discussions, you will discover that our educational system has to be reviewed. We need a system that will prepare our youths for global participation and to prepare them to solve national problems.
This is what an open education system will do. It will focus on our people and national growth. The products of our educational institutions will begin to affect our nation positively. Also, an Open Education System will provide educational services at an affordable price. Tuitions in Nigerian institutions are taking education away from the masses. A lot of people find it difficult to afford education nowadays. Our government should recognize that education should not be one of our major income generating sectors. If we continue this way, future hazard will be unavoidable. These and others are the benefits of an Open Education System.
We need a system that will prepare our youths for global participation and to prepare them to solve national problems.
Similarly, our government should give more than enough devotion to Science and Technology. We need to realize that the world is moving at a very fast rate. The universe is experiencing era of technological dictation where all challenges have to be solved scientifically and technologically. Our institutions have to be adequately equipped to harness scientific researches and development. We can invite great researchers from different developed countries to come and train our youths technologically. Our government needs to pump a lot of funds into this. Until Nigeria becomes a productive technological oriented nation, we won’t stop giving our wealth to the developed nations.
Equally, we need to invest in what we term as Communal Economy Development Motive. This is an economic operation that gives the major wealth of the nation to the masses. It’s people-driven economic approach. It is obvious that the wealth of our country is in the hands of few people. Our economic approach keeps feeding the rich while it keeps starving the poor. We need to break this down in order to provide an ideal society. It’s easy to reduce the level of poverty in Nigeria if we can focus on simplifying our economy’s equations to the level of the masses. Communal approach will give our government a caution to make policies that will have benefit on the society (masses) not on the privileged people. A key formula to solving poverty arithmetic is to keep empowering the society.
In conclusion, we need personal change as much as we need national change. Our country won’t experience any development if we refuse to take new personal helping decisions every day. We need to make Nigeria our priority, we need to get better to make this nation better, and we need to keep investing and injecting our resources and efforts in this nation to make her great. A great nation is a result of great minds who sacrificially endure rigorous processes to build their nation. Will you help Nigeria to be great? Decide now.
In conclusion, we need personal change as much as we need national change.