There’s so much going on in Nigeria right now that one begins to wonder what direction the country is headed. What the hell is wrong with us? Just this week two videos went viral on the internet of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) callously demolishing a two -storey building with people and their properties inside the building. The occupants who were caught unawares claimed they were not served with quit notice.
I am inclined to believe this narrative having suffered similar fate from AMAC in 2015 when my thriving N500m worth of investment, the African Town Garden and Resort was demolished without any prior notice and just two days after AMAC officials demanded and collected N250,000 in revenue. The other video is of the same AMAC sealing up an eatery in Gwarimpa with customers right inside the restaurant. Who does that? The lady in the video who probably is the owner could be heard repeatedly complaining of how tired and frustrated she is with Nigeria, and she isn’t the only one sick and tired of Nigeria.
So many things seem simply screwed up. These days, it’s easier to find disgruntled and very unhappy citizens at every turn; people who have lost faith in the country, whose confidence in the country has waned considerably. Notwithstanding, majority of the people believe Nigeria is a nice place, that it is one of the most beautiful countries blessed by God and gifted with abundance of resources but yet populated with very bad leaders who neither care about the people nor the future of the country.
Though, I have my own share of frustrations about Nigeria and had frequently expressed them on this page but still I have not hesitated in teaching my children love for country because, I believe there’s solution to every single problem that we face. If yesterday was a mistake because we made wrong choices, 2023 affords us a brand-new opportunity to right our wrongs by dispassionately choosing a leader who will not be corrupted by office but someone whose interest in politics is service. It’s only us that can change our bad leaders. We should be able to unite behind a leader that is tried and tested even if such does not speak our language, dress like us or worship the way we do. We should look at the competence and capacity of a leader, not the tribe, religion or language.
It’s common to find people who say our problem is lack of unity, that we don’t love ourselves. If you become too much absorbed on the internet or pay too much attention to the violent rhetoric of the too many fringe groups operating in the country, you will think that Nigeria never had unity whereas our major problem is that we simply deviated from the values of our founding fathers upon which this great nation was founded.
We easily forgot that in 1952 , Mallam Umaru Altine, a Muslim Fulani cattle trader who was married to a Christian Igbo lady called Esther Ozueh was elected the first Mayor of the Enugu Municipal Council, a post he held till 1958. Mallam Umaru had before then lived in Enugu for barley five years.
In his first term, he ran under the platform of NCNC and won, but in the build-up to his second term election, the NCNC asked him to step down, but he refused and was forced to resign from the party.Subsequently, he ran as an independent candidate and defeated the NCNC flag bearer, D. T. Inyang by 117 to 53 votes. In fact, in his ward which was 99% Christian and Igbo speaking, he was returned unopposed. This was the Nigeria we inherited which we have bastardized and now want to rewrite the history to make it seem we never had unity or that we never loved one another. We can resolve the challenge of unity if we can go back to 1952 and invoke the spirit of Mallam Umaru so that in 2023 we can freely elect a president with the character and temperament to unite this country again. We need a Nigerian leader in the character of Azikiwe not a leader that pays lips service to unity.
Prior to Mr. Peter Obi becoming the Executive Governor of Anambra State, there was a huge divide and tension between Anambra North and the rest of the state. Anambra North complained of deprivation and marginalization. There were concerns that the state will explode much sooner. Rather than ignore or talk down on them, Peter Obi listened to their plights and genuinely responded. To his credit, he spread development and infrastructure into Anambra North, he appointed some into his cabinet and above all ensured a smooth transition of power to Anambra North after the completion of his tenure of office. What Obi did in Anambra State can be replicated at the national level.
I have also met people who see injustice as Nigeria’s biggest problem. The South Eastern Igbo for example feel unfairly treated in various ways. Of course there are people who have enabled the unjust treatment of others. They prefer the status quo because of the advantage they currently enjoy. They fear that a just Nigeria will remove the privilege they currently enjoy.
When it comes to rendering justice to the South East, Nigerians easily forgot that once in this country the then two major political parties deliberately ceded presidency to the South West so that head or tail the South West will produce the president to compensate for the injustice occasioned by June 12, 1993 presidential election annulment.
We can in 2023 resolve the issue of injustice by re-enacting 1999, simply by having PDP and APC cede power to a capable and competent South Easterner with global , economic and political experience. Just recently Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State defected from PDP to APC citing injustice, lack of equity and fairness against PDP whom he accused of having no plans of rendering justice to the South East. The zone is pro-PDP from inception . They have consistently voted for the party and is paying dearly for it. Because of PDP they were referred to as 5% who will get nothing other than what is constitutionally provided. Notably, Every other section of the Country has produced a president of Nigeria with the exception of the South East Igbo.
I will enjoin PDP to learn from Oshiomhole’s mishandling of Obaseki’s affair. Umahi’s defection as unfortunate as it is, has elevated the position of South East quest to produce the next Nigeria’s president into a national discourse. The big news is not Umahi’s defection but how PDP manages the fall out of the defection. The party can remain bone headed or look into South East agitation. I for one will radically review my support for PDP if the party refuses to cede the ticket to the South East Zone . I will rather be a member and supporter of an unjust ruling party than be a supporter and member of unjust non-ruling party. The simple solution to injustice is to render justice. Any wrong move by the party may result in exodus from the party and signal its death in the South East. I have also found people who say that Nigeria’s problem is corruption. No doubt, corruption in Nigeria is endemic. However, it boils down to leadership and lack of fear of consequence. Our leaders are corrupt because no one really gets punished for corruption. Our leaders are too afraid to punish corruption when it is near and close to them. We also have leaders who have refused to use technology to combat corruption . To resolve the issue of corruption, in 2023 we need a leader that is prudent with management of resources. A leader who will plug economic loopholes and who will avoid frivolous and wasteful spending of scarce resources.
Indeed, Nigeria is a great country, our people are nice people. Nothing can take away our greatness. Our problems are not that insurmountable if only we can reflect inwards and decide to take our destiny into our hands. I believe there’s a solution to every problem that we face.