What makes every country great is not its geography but its people. Nigerians have had it both rough and smooth, yet we are on the move. We have endured torrential rain, raging storm and puddle waters in the course of building a country we can proudly call our own. In all these Nigerians have carried on despite the odds we face because we have hope that one day the storm would be over and the dreams of our founding father’s realized.
We have gone a long way, with thirteen men already taking oath as the Commander-in-Chief, Nigerians have heard many inaugural speeches and state of the nation addresses, seen various types of government and had witnessed different polices.
In the last five decades, every regime or administration had talked about one programme or the other with regard to national development. Nigeria has been in a permanent state of introducing transformation programmes. The tragedy, however, is that of transformation to nowhere in particular as our nation and people remain underdeveloped. The various promises made were not all kept as the people’s hopes were spuriously raised and dashed.
As a result, there is the temptation to define some government agenda and planning as instrument of exploitation based on the arbitrary use of it by the ruling class to maintain or control the ‘business’ of the state in terms of authoritative distribution or allocation of state resources to their own advantage against the masses. The trend has created a lacuna between the leaders and the led with a far-reaching network of hatred and violence.
The reasons for these myriad of problems are not far-fetched. Before now, Nigerians have been denied the opportunity of having a leader or ruler who had actually struggled or canvassed for his ticket on the basis of his aspiration and leadership qualities since 1960. The effect has been that our leaders have been imposed or foisted on us by circumstance, profession or godfatherism, etc.
On the other hand, a dependent economy like Nigeria coheres with foreign control in terms of economic and national planning. Hence, it has reduced Nigerian leaders or policy makers to a mere pawn, thereby making effective planning impracticable. Consequently, we cannot have a truly independent nation without the firm control of our economy even as we claim the Africa’s number one economy.
It is also not in doubt that the dividends of democracy are yet to be fully realized due to the alleged mismanagement of political power. In Nigeria the extent of immunity and privileges enjoyed by the political elites is still an ongoing debate. Be that as it may, democracy did not come on a platter of gold. We should know that no man is all virtue and no vice, likewise democracy has its rough edges. Yet democracy is seen as the best form of government in the contemporary world.
The outcome of the March 2015 general election was a glaring testimony of the fact that the people remain the true custodians of power.
However, we can begin to trust each other again (the leaders and the led) if we are ready to make hard choices and sacrifices to see Nigeria as our home country and not a mere amalgamated entity.
Comrade OGUANYA wrote from Suleja