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Why Nigeria must be great (1)

If you ask Nigerians whether at 63 the country will come good on its manifestly abundant potential, the majority will certainly answer in the negative.…

If you ask Nigerians whether at 63 the country will come good on its manifestly abundant potential, the majority will certainly answer in the negative.

It will not just be down to the prevailing debilitating conditions in the country, but also due to the fact that over the years Nigerians have seen very little or no concrete effort by our leaders to collectively galvanise them towards the goal of actualising the potential of the country.

At 63, Nigeria has no excuse to offer for not being great.

It has the largest population in the African continent from which it could draw immense human resources and power for development. All over the world, Nigerians are notable for their achievements in all fields of human endeavour contributing their knowledge and skills in positive ways towards providing cutting-edge solutions on global development challenges.

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Whereas some countries lay out incentives to attract human power, Nigeria with its 200 million plus hardly needs that. Also out of this population is a pool of cultural diversity in which Nigeria ranks among the top three in the world. This is a great source for the application of soft power and the multi-faceted advantages it confers in the global space.

Do we talk of the vast trove of mineral resources and arable land for the cultivation of all kinds of agricultural products? Or the several ecological zones that this country has running from north to south which is a big plus for biodiversity?

With all these and many more Nigeria is rightly looked upon with expectation as the bell-weather country for not just Africa, but peoples of African descent worldwide.

So why has Nigeria not risen up to the challenge?

Without mincing words, the major reason why Nigeria has not risen to this challenge can be situated in leadership. In all societies leadership plays the role of vanguard for the identification of pathways for the advancement of society. The leadership are at the head of the pyramid of societal structure, navigating its path through challenges and finding solutions that spur societal development and growth.

The progress or retrogression of any society is largely attributable to the thinking, ethos and function of its leadership.

Sixty three years after Independence that Nigeria finds itself in such a stunted developmental situation with little hope of positive progress is a reflection of the type of leadership that has ruled the country over the decades.                

At Independence in 1960, Britain handed over an unequal and separate political structure and model that it had built over the years through several constitutional arrangements which served its purpose of divide and rule during colonial rule. To make this structure work for their purpose even after colonial rule in order to continue to control Nigeria, Britain embarked on identifying, training and orientating persons who will fit into and run this structure. And having taken care to ensure that this structure takes deep root in our political DNA, the British walked away to watch us rather with diabolical amusement as we exploded in unending crisis after crises. Every other thing we have done since then politically and economically has been to fulfil this deeply entrenched political design by the British one way or the other.

Sixty-three years on, this structure has run full circle and we can only continue to run in circles with this post-colonial structure if we do not cut it lose. It has become unsustainable and out of sync with present realities of Nigeria and the world such that ignoring to do something about it will result in serious systemic consequences for the country.   

Indeed whether we take conscious steps to tackle it or not, the objective historical forces will act to impose its solution on the situation in Nigeria.

And why and how will this happen?

It will happen because, just as the forces of history led the British to conquer, colonize and create Nigeria in the way it desired, the same objective forces of history will soon lead Nigeria to its manifest destiny of leading the African continent and peoples of African descent out of the bondage of centuries of physical and psychological subjugation in the world. And to bring effect to this inevitable development, historical forces will soon visit Nigeria with systemic cataclysmic changes.

Are our leadership aware of this coming inevitable historical force of cataclysmic rapture? Are they investing enough effort to study its approaching signs and manage its effects? Or do they still persist in the thinking that they are well out of the path of danger from any cataclysmic changes that may occur in Nigeria having deeply entrenched themselves in the political and social system and acquired enough resources to escape?

I discern that most of our political elite are in the latter category of thought and this I daresay is tragic. It smacks of a poor reading and understanding of history and its effects. And we have copious examples of how unforgiving history can be to those who stand in its path and refuse to learn from its lessons.

The Nigerian leadership (myself included) should know that in pursuit of its mission, history has destroyed civilizations, systems, wealth, status and power. Preparatory unleashing its full forces, it releases signs which it expects leaders will read and try to make amends before it is too late.

In Nigeria’s particular situation, in tandem with the manifest role it has allocated the country, history will install an appropriate political structure along with persons that will run it in pursuit of the next stage of the country’s political, economic development.  (To be continued)  


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