When I decided to take to column writing, one of the decisions I took was that I will try as much as it was possible to keep down criticisms, I resolved I will speak strong on issues and dwell more on solutions. Fourteen years into column writing business, if read me you will attest I have kept faith, much more than that I found out also that what should be a very interesting venture is not totally that, people read and hail, but the expected change never come and that is because our our leaders in public offices and the political class in near entirety that are the prime targets of these expositions hardly read.
I have been at the top long enough to proffer a few reasons why this is so. We have had a successive generation of leadership personnel who didn’t go to school. Forget the certificate many parade, if strident scrutiny of certificates were to be undertaken today , the foundation of our society would quake, I can assure because of what would be discovered. I tell you the truth. Our leaders feign been very busy, by so doing masking their inadequacies particularly loathing of intellectualism particularly rigours associated with it. The effect of this lapse is huge, our leaders hardly originate working documents and hardly have patience to hear out gifted aides, for this reason they rely on merchants of profits who bring in undigested proposals and interpret them in ways that can only give them gains at the expense of the people and society. It is part of the banes.
It is a big challenge. The argument has been there if we need educated people to pilot our affairs, the unplanned thrusting forward of some with very high degrees, who failed at commanding heights of power and authority has tended to suggest that very little is required in terms of leadership. I have earlier observed that fake and unearned certificate has done us in, more so men heralded to power not on account of exhibited competence but on known inability and yet deployed to serve a particular devilish purpose. We all know that our leaders have foisted an ugly trend in which they select and aid to power as successors persons of far lesser stuff than them the godfathers. . It is part of reasons our leaders say we are moving forward and we end up moving several miles backward. No leader can give what he doesn’t have and performance can only equal match level of competence. It is a major challenge.
We need highly educated persons with proven abilities. This point does not need elucidation. The others; we are yet to have a country since after the forced amalgamation of 1914. Evidences of divisions have been with us since then, instead of abating have rather grown worse. Only persons of northern extraction mouth one Nigeria and unity mantra vigorously and the reason is obvious, the rest are still wondering if this union has meaning to them. This is the truth, activities of northerners especially in power have not helped matters. President Buhari did not start the trouble on this score but we can take examples from his handling of issues associated with nation building to see how we move especially when given opportunity to display.
He staged low key celebration of Nigeria @60 on Thursday ,penultimate week, “ togetherness” was the theme ,fine. He told of aspirations have not been met, collectively we begin the search for the reasons. The position is part of what is wrong with us. Leaders being in power and still feigning to be lost about the trouble with our society. This is hypocrisy. Dangerous act of Janus, having different faces;look at the face of Nigeria under his watch, see who occupies what and honestly tell us how a united country can be made out of what we have have. Northerners and Moslems incharge of all vital organs of state in a very plural entity. A section takes over everything and begins to shout togetherness, unity. Would it add up? Patriotism is not mechanical thing, it is a by product social engineering, outcome of shared responsibility, values and benefits.
What those who say unity of Nigeria can’t be negotiated should understand is that we have never negotiated one before. The one that came from independence was fractious and it was bound to be so given what was at stake, we needed to reconstruct and consolidate after colonialists left but we didn’t hence the outcome we have, even what we hold on to now is not what was agreed. Negative forces, home and abroad got the military to discard and distort everything. The fall- out can’t sustain us. Those holding advantage can see from recent events that such advantages are at the expense of far greater majority and so can’t be sustained for too long, it will unravel and any attempt to stall the process would leave a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. This is truth of history.
What is to done to have a country which I insist is not there for now is to convene a National Conference, that is it. Unfortunately current federal government is deliberately keeping their eyes away from an idea whose time has come. The leave our society worse by wasting time on what everyone knows is the right panacea. The challenge of nationhood is far beyond what the National Assembly can handle. NASS as presently constituted is one of the major distortions inflicted by the military. It can’t stand except we don’t have intentions to create a country called Nigeria. It is important to create a country and to have very clear agreed arrangements on how the people would live, relate and operate within its accepted terms.
The conference would decide also a national ideology. We are naturally communal, at Independence we had a welfare state under which system government took the lead on development and the philosophy was human centred, in those times life was abundant, many today running their mouth about unbridled private initiative would not have had education but for free education, but today they advocate opting for policies that price basic necessities out of the reach of the greatest majority. We take this path and still wonder why we can’t make headway and why so much insecurity Stokes the land . National vision and national development plan is it. Credible electoral process, not one in which only the President decrees when or when not to have credible, free and fair elections. We need disciplined citizenry. Return to merit.
There is nothing so hard about transformation of a society. If the will is there and vision clear, we can have great country in under twenty years, this is the truth.