Ekpa Stanley Ekpa
The political economy of perceptible progress in Africa demands that Africa must cultivate a penchant for quality, ingenuity in innovation and excellence in her development and modernization drive, else we will remain in the manual train of underdevelopment in perpetuity. History will be unlived, should humanity’s first civilization remain a continent in stagnant search for civilization.
The solution generation must have a date with history to rewrite Africa’s developmental templates and fix tenable solutions for inclusive progress. This must be done through defined national development plans and growth policy directions. African nations have come of age to define their national dreams in clear, visionary, inclusive and sustainable fashions. Nigeria, as the leading nation of the black race, has a historic duty to provide a clear cut leadership in this direction.
A century and four years after Nigeria’s quest for independence, we have made insignificant progress in our sustained search for progress. It has been a journey without a compass – plethora of policies without pointing pact of impact, mismanagement of development potentials and opportunities, and a house of leaders without leadership. Prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, even the devil was not in doubt of the settled assurance of the intellectual prowess of our founding fathers and our widely cerebrated potentials for modernization, what was lacking however, was the wisdom of patriotism to define an inclusively agreed ethos and unified national development policy direction that would have guaranteed the young nation of the certainty of the promised land. So, our premier leaders sought a working option and governance structure – preferring a federal arrangement that allows each region to solve her local developmental problems at it’s own pace as a concrete national governance system. A structure that has been crashed by crass ineptitude of successive leaders.
Decades after decades, political regimes upon many political plots, we are left with the certainty of stagnancy in actualizing a developed, modernized and integrated nation. It is a familiar lesson of history that nations do not grow in their disunited figments. Successful nations thrive on the fabrics of harmonized inclusive social values that promote sanity in leadership and citizenship, uniting the nation upon identifiable social-political and economic systems. This is particularly essential for a complex heterogeneous state like Nigeria. Despite Tafawa Balewa’s declaration on October 1st 1960 that each “step of our constitutional advance has been purposefully and peacefully planned with full and open consultation,…between representatives of all the various interests in Nigeria”, we have nearly existed for more than five decades without any element of openness, trust, inclusiveness, and worst still the echoes of blood littering and bad politics remains with us untamed. But history cannot always continue to unlive itself in perpetuity of stagnance. This is a time to define the Nigerian Dream, for a new trajectory of alternative answers, innovations and viable solutions that will modernize Nigeria.
Beyond political and electioneering rhetorics, and before the 2019 game of confusion, we must chart a new charter of a crystal and clear national working dream for Nigeria’s progress – a compass for creating equal opportunities for all Nigerians and securing the continual existence of an inclusively prosperous nation. We need an Inclusive Nigeria’s Development Policy – a policy direction that will change Nigeria from a dependent and consumption nation to a substnntially productive nation. How and who in the face of a polity and national system devoid of ideologies can innovate the Nigerian Dream?
A new direction and leaf of hope emerged last week when the All Times Group had a strategic partnership with other Civil Society Organizations, to hold an annual AWO-BELLO-ZIK NIGERIAN DREAM ROUNDTABLE, with the defined aim of standing in honour of our founding fathers to define and perpetuate a Nigerian Dream that guarantees an inclusive Nigerian development opportunities and direction. A dream and national vision that all ethnic groups in Nigeria would feel proud and entitled to, a vision that truly throws up quality leaders that understand the urgency for modernizing Nigeria. A dream that encourages all citizens to have confidence in our system, to regularly appreciate our diversity and promote the unique commonalities that our diversity affords. Such national dream must positively impact the issues of our ethnicity and diversity, inclusive socio-economoc and political opportunities, shared prosperity, social justice and innovative governance system.
An inclusive national dream that resovles our ethno-religious crisis. The betraying notion of ethnicity has constantly undermined our progress. We have often confused ethnicity and ethnocentrism. Ethnicity promotes one natural fact: no one can change the reality of your ethnic backgeound; whereas ethnocentrism promotes the usage of ethnicity for social disaccord and crisis. Ken Saro-Wiwa rightly captured it that “ethnicity is the fact of the ethnic group. It poses no danger to the nation. Ethnocentrism is the danger; It is the misuse of the ethnic group, of ethnic sentiments against other ethnic groups in a sterile competition”. The foremost prerequisite for our growth is the realization of the unique potentials of our unity and strength in diversity. The Inclusive Nigeria Development Policy must unite Nigeria for progress – where merit and excellence override nepotism and favoritism.
The tenets and practice of Inclusive Nigeria Development Policy must perpetuate and position our nation for shared prosperity, inclusive opportunities and social justice anchored on the ageless concepts of equality, fairness, respect for the fundamental rights of all citizens, respect for due process and rule of law, patriotism, hard work, innovativeness, and the consistency of optimism for progress. The concept of inclusiveness in our national dream means that our system must prima facie and principally provide an opportunity for all States, regions and individuals to excel not in an even uniformity but in a healthy competitiveness, because an underdevelopment anywhere in Nigeria remains a threat to our collective progress and security everywhere, hence, our approach and plan must take cognizance of the weakness and comparative development strength, opportunities and potentials of States, and how they can harness same for growth.
We want a Nigerian Dream that will reawaken our spirit for participatory citizenry for quality citizen leadership, efficient institutions and one that creates a rallying point for a new Nigerian values, development philosophies, national ethos of excellence, and penchant for shunning corrupt and sharp practices.
Ekpa writes from Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja