Over the years, we have watched Nigeria degenerate into a den where anarchy thrives, where corruption stares us in the face and we all wallow in it, a country where poverty got us by the jugular and we all are engaged in a rat race to get a means of survival.
Virtually all sectors of our nationhood are in the throes of inefficiency. Our health sector is in shambles, there is little to say about our educational sector, we operate a consuming economy where almost everything is imported. You will agree with me that this is not the Nigeria our founding fathers dreamt of.
Our forefathers had envisioned a Nigeria where the amazing mineral and human resources that abound in the country will be shared for the common good, a country that all other African countries will look up to for inspiration. A united country even with the amazing diversity.
We cannot really pinpoint where the problem started from. Some people will say it is from the arrangement of our colonial masters who decided to bring a largely heterogeneous and multicultural set of people together under one country.
So many interests are there to be served and almost every decision seems to gratify one section and malign the others. But really, things were not this bad before, Nigeria used to be a peaceful country, where milk and honey flowed aplenty, a model for other African countries. Where really did we get it wrong?
Some will say the country would have been better off, if there was no military intervention in the leadership of the country. We all know the military came in to put an end to the growing corruption profile then and rather than maintain sanity, they upped the ante and the result is where we have found ourselves today.
Nigeria is a very rich country in terms of natural resources (including petroleum, natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone and arable land). An oil rich nation (we are the leading exporter of oil in Africa and sixth in the world). How come a country blessed with human and natural resources, a land of great minds and human potentials is locked in perpetual retrogression? With our population explosion (178 million people, largest population in Africa and 7th in the World – and a 2.6% increase in population yearly) Nigeria has the largest population of poor people in Africa today.
Corruption, poor management of funds, political instability and poor governance continue to tear us apart. We have earned a reputation as the most corrupt country in Africa and one of the topmost in the world too. Almost all political figures in the country engage themselves in corrupt activities leaving the average Nigerian with nothing but poverty and despair.
Unemployment is at its highest and even though graduates are being churned out yearly by tertiary institutions, quite a number of them are still roaming the streets while a lot others engage in vices like internet scam and fraud to survive.
High mortality rate, poor infrastructural development, dwindling educational sector, environmental degradation, erratic power supply, low life expectancy rate and recently, we have added militancy and insurgency to our growing portfolio, Now insecurity is our major problem, we all live in perpetual fear as we do not know what will happen to any of us the next minute, our Chibok girls are still missing and we still have tribal and religious crises in parts of the country.
We can go on and on reeling out the problems with the current state of our nation, most of which almost everyone knows already. With these very scary indices, we should really be scared of the future.
Everyone may want to blame all these on bad leadership, which to a very large extent is true, but I personally would rather see it as a collective or societal fault as we have failed to successfully manage what is ours, rather, we turn the searchlights on the negatives, working for individual gratification rather than collective gain thereby making our diversity more obvious and our unity a lot more porous.
The truth is, we are on the brink of a failed nation. The question now is, what is the way out? How do we redeem our lost honour? How do we reclaim our lost glory?
One major way out of this is a collective change of mentality, a re-jig, a renaissance, a rebirth, a re-orientation by both leaders and followers. Leaders and followers should know their respective roles and both should play them well. It is high time we joined hands as a people to restore our lost glory, lost values, lost honour.
Leaders should harness the available resources and use them for the common good rather than for personal pockets. Educational and health sectors should be heavily funded, as they have a key role in the success of other sectors. Basic and relevant amenities should be provided. Electricity, potable water, housing, food and other consumables are not supposed to be our problems at this stage, we have enough to be self-sustaining.
We need to take a look at the youths, they seem to be the ones who will re-engineer the restoration agenda. We should furnish our youths (who form about 70% of the whole Nigerian population) with enough resources as they get set to take up the mantle. The educational institutions curriculum should be redesigned to include leadership trainings as well as the concept of discipline and moral living. There is the need to teach the importance and the viability of One Nigeria rather than the component units.
However, in the midst of the palpable despair, I would say that there is still a glimmer of hope. Even though the future looks bleak, it is not too late to re-engineer our movement towards development. A lot can be done if we all put our hands and hearts in it. We should play our respective roles well and with the love of the country in our minds.
All hands must be on deck, Nigeria must be great again!