By Senator Dino MELAYE
I have struggled to put together a concise set of solutions, which are up for scrutiny and debate so that our beloved nation can take its rightful place amongst other nations.
It became necessary to frame the solutions with a backdrop of facts from the colonial era to capture the mood and general direction of the expedition that brought about our independence. Many will argue that independence was more than 60 years ago, and we should have got our act together by now and pushed through whatever legacies were left behind. Unfortunately the issues have not changed. If you are faced with a chronic illness that refuses to heal, you have to conduct a thorough diagnosis, to find the source of the ailment.
I also often find that people tend to look at that period through rose-tinted glasses, and believe that it was more beneficial than what the actual reality was. After several investigations and discovery of things I never knew, and was never taught, I have come to the firm conclusion that Nigeria is YET to begin her journey to nationhood.
With great respect to our forefathers, who fought for our independence, they laid the foundation for the rudiments of administration, political association and government. They did not realise the enormity or the magnitude of the task of nation-building. So, on the 1st of October 1960, Nigeria became the largest black EX-COLONY which governed itself remotely as a member of the commonwealth.
We were an EX-COLONY, still foraging on the vestiges of the culture and trappings of the colonial era, with a ruling class, used to privilege and position. We were excitedly basking in the euphoria of emancipation from the colonial masters.
Despite the mistakes of the past, in the course of nation building, which include, the destructive culture of violence,and misappropriation of state funds, which have persistently been the bane of our nation building, there is now the urgent need for us to start the process of rebuilding our nation.
Anticolonial nationalism failed to produce any lasting foundation for the creation of Nigerian patriotism. If we continue to hand over the reigns of power to the same generation of people, we will continue to be an EX-COLONY because they still function within the legacies of the post-colonial disorder. That is their experience of the world which has become our nightmarish reality.
The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, and the consequential economic impact, is forcing us to rethink our world today, and to ask the tough and unthinkable questions.
So please read, digest, investigate and analyse.
The subject matter is so vast, over the coming weeks, I shall proffer solutions to the most pressing, and I believe profound areas, that may induce or necessitate the desired change!!!!
Possible solutions- Boxes we have to rethink or just throw away
Box 1- Mis-Education of the Black mind – Education is a means of indoctrination, whether secular, cultural or religious. We learn how to behave, think, interact and react through structured or informal instruction. Now we are in the Information Age, we need to dispel age-old stereotypes and break down the current structure of teaching and learning to allow creativity and thoughtfulness. Seeing that ideas rule the world; we need to equip young minds to create our future.
Box 2- Multilateralism- we fought so hard for independence, for a seat at the table of these institutions. Institutions that were created in the 20th century, created during the era of Empire, based on military might and financial power. Are they fit for purpose in this century? Have we thought about how they entrench our second-class status in the world? Has our membership of WHO, Commonwealth, WTO, G20….and UN, been a blessing or a curse? Should we jettison them as we are not part of their decision making and resolve our governance issues with a domestic/African approach?
Will Sovereignty matter in a world where unicorn companies and their owners wield more power and authority than many nation-states? In a post-Covid 19 world, are we not just going to live and transact virtually online?
Box 3- Domestic administration, politics & health – The colonialists left Nigeria, and the Nigerian ruling class, naturally slipped into their shoes. The chasm between them and those they govern keeps widening.
Building a nation will require radical changes to our governance structure, constitution and laws, institutions, and ourselves. Should Key performance indicators for Governors such as Internally generated revenue, jobs created, school places, become the yardstick in measuring the performance of governors? How do we place less emphasis on the centre, and handouts from the Federation account and create more autonomy for the states and local governments?
Do we even need Federalism as a system of government? How do we cast a broader net to elect our leaders and abandon money politics?
Box 4-Economy & environment – For the economy to thrive, it needs to grow faster than its population. How can liberalisation and diversification occur with the absence of adequate power and infrastructure?
The current state of the environment, plays vital role in the decisions and choices we make, in terms of the economy. What sustainable solutions do we need to develop?
What are we going to do to manage the dual tasks of adequate industrialisation and propelling ourselves into the information age? Where are the solutions going to come from?
The looming collapse of the world economy necessitates answers, which we are going to keep seeking, because the world is not going to wait for us.
Let’s secure our future!