As Nigeria marched towards independence and with the boom in agriculture and the discovery of oil at Oloibiri (Bayelsa state) shortly before the independence, combined with the human and natural resources endowment, Nigeria seemed a promising and potential state filled with opportunities for herself, her citizens and even her neighbours.
But now, 54 years after, Nigeria, in comparison with her other third world countries, seemed a lot less prestigious, and Nigerians, a lot less healthier, and happier -a development that must be attributed to the absence of public accountability, rule of law, patriotism and complete indiscipline, one the one hand; and on the other hand, the emergence of greedy quest for the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of power by some few individuals who were built by the early Nigerian leaders in order to carry on, but instead, are destroying the nation.
It may seem to so many people, today, that the discovery of oil is more of curse than a blessing, because, what should have been a source of comfort, nutrient and prosperity to the people; and progress, honour, integrity and unity to Nigeria, is now the bone of contention. The question here is why should oil be a bone of contention? What made it that? And who where responsible for such action? These questions can only be answered if and when one takes a closer look at the composition of those at the helm of affairs, the present leadership style and even the processes through which that leadership is attained.
To save time and space we should say that the undemocratic leadership was attained through no other means than vote buying, political thuggery, election rigging and the like. This therefore, signifies one thing - we must redirect our focus towards the selection of those aspiring to be leaders. It is imperative to vote for people that will safeguard, maintain and uplift our economic life, societal set up and cleanse our political arenas; People that have the interest of their electorate at heart, people that are certain to live for their people, and not off their people. However, the realization of such kind of leadership depends largely on a strict procedure; it depends on a predictive, orderly, careful and somehow rigorous search and selection process by both the political stakeholders and the generality of the electorate. It has to do with a careful assessment of the records and exemplary personal qualities of those aspiring to lead and who seek for support of the populace.
This might sound far-fetched but it should be noted that Nigeria has only one problem, a problem that, if solved, the country would roll down the valley of honey. The problem is indiscipline! Now having identified the problem, one question remains to be answered. How do we go about solving it?
The Nigerian Answer 1:
The Nigerian answer is discipline, isn’t it? But how can this be brought about? This is the reason that prompted the need to convey this message to the Nigerian youths because unknown to them, they are supposed to be the major shareholders of the so-called
“national cake”; they are the ones that are built for the future, they are the pillars that hold the social fabric of our society together. They are the ones that should be advised to for a rethink.
Rethink? Yes rethink, because it is a necessity, it is imperative to try and look back a little bit into history of the evolution of this sovereign entity called Nigeria. For, it is the past that always defines the present and blaze the trail for the future.
Let’s be certain of where we are and be sure of where we want to go, and on reaching the destination what we intend to do. This is the stark reality and we can’t run away from it. Those who ignore this reality and live entirely in the present shall have no place in the future, and will definitely become, as the days go by, relics of the past, frightened of the future and very much confused in the present they so much stick to.
The Nigerian Answer 2 here is need for a struggle. Have we forgotten so soon how the prime movers of the achievement of independence struggle just to liberate the country from the tyranny and oppression of an unfeeling British machinery? How they struggled to break the shackles of an exploitative system - just for a better Nigeria? Struggle should be our essential parameter! But how? Simple! By emulating our past leaders, who fought for their people with utmost dedication, total sacrifice and extreme patriotism, and did not stop until they achieved their goal - independence. People who left no mansions and fat foreign bank accounts; people who left no fleet of cars and spoilt children. By emulating those people that left only their names embossed on our currencies; names engraved on our most important buildings; names bearing our major streets; names on libraries, institutions, museums and archives, and above all, names that will forever be respected! Dear youths, are we going to be concerned only with paraphernalia of offices just like the rest? For, there is no gain saying that most of the attractions of a job, nowadays, lies in the opportunities it offers for extortion, corruption and the likes. So let us not succumb to the seductions of materialism, let us shun the urge for selfish, meager materials gains; rather, let us sanitize our political settings by struggling against all irregularities.
We should enter the league because we have everything to loose should Nigeria fall, God forbid! Let us use our exuberance to help in shaping our destiny, for we are the youth. Let us not contribute in pulling the strained string that threatens to break the fabric that hold our mother country together.
Dear Nigerian youth, as the countdown begins and all battle lines seemed drawn we should prepare ourselves for the ultimate sacrifice. Let us not compromise our honour, our integrity and our pride for the sake of some undesirables. Let us base our politics on principles by sticking to the ethnics of democracy: registering, voting and defending our votes. And to those fake promise makers, vote buyers and election riggers it should only be a hood of derision and contemptuous stare or would an embarrassed silence be better?
Remember, noble qualities and achievements are what makes one a hero, not ill gotten riches! Participate wisely.
Dogarawa is of the Department of English, School of Languages, Federal College of Education, Zaria and wrote via: email@example.com