“Embrace your dreams and advance as far as they can take you.” –
Do we have excuses on Nigeria’s disunity? When Nigeria will reflects on it’s dreams? When Nigerians will say bye bye to corruption? And when Nigeria will be the real giant of Africa? Giant of Africa not in size but in everything because we have all what it takes to make Nigeria big as we clock 61 year old of age.
Above are the stinging questions of all concerned and optimistic Nigerians on the dream of a prosperous, giant and developed country.
Before the emancipation of Nigeria on 1st October, 1960, Nigerians struggled so much to control their affairs until the country is fully independent from colonials masters. The efforts of our founding fathers of having a national sovereignty was the effort of all and sundry in the dream of a united, peaceful and progressive nation.
Later than six years, the venom of disunity enveloped 22 lives including the Prime Minister of the country. The 15th January, 1966 Coup D’etat categorically brought out the skeleton from the cupboard and skeleton manifested the true color of our relationship as an amalgamated country which of to date the fragments continue to display in open squares in different regions.
Peace is relative in Nigeria since Independence because we had witnessed plague of bigotry, traditional, regional and political egocentrism that keep tearing the country bit by bit.
The Biafran Civil War made grave damage to Nigeria, and it was calculated that almost 2 million people died with hundreds of casualties. The Maitatsine unrest in the North claimed 718 lives as reported by New Work Times in 1984. The Odudua People’s Congress (OPC) ethno religious crises killed hundreds of people in Lagos and Osun states. While, the Boko Haram activities in Nigeria have gruesomely swept thousands to their early graves. The Washington Post reported in 2020 that there were 30,000 people that the members killed since 2009. While, Banditry and kidnapping are the present dilemma of the days. This shown that Nigeria has been on hot tarmac through its Post Independence journey with much efforts from the side of governments to thread the country.
Before Independence, Africans had the conjecture that Colonial Masters are capitalists that only enrich themselves alone, even though, Colonial Masters were been castigated of tapping indigenous resources but after the Independence, Africans came to the terms of blessing the generosity of the colonial masters because Africans use their offices and royalty to gather what them and their grand-grand children cannot spend. Plague of corruption is in every facet of our lives, it is crystal on our roads and highways where uniform men saddled with the responsibilities of protecting the lives and properties of people on roads extort money from passersby not minding what the vehicles carry. This is the most jeopardizing activity that our highway some security agents do because of money. You will even be more surprise that a uniform officer will be asking for Indian Hemp from motorists as gate pass on roads.
Education is the bedrock of every nation and it is the stabilizer of all developments. Nigeria is still giving much importance to degrees than practical knowledge. Professor Idris Bugaje a renown Professor in Chemical Engineering and the Federal Ministry of Education are at the wake of making changes of turning the country to 21st Century position. Professor Bugaje, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Executive Secretary wants Nigeria to be inventive and creative in skills development. To promote made in Nigeria; Nigeria must stop importation of matches, bicycle and tricycle (Keke Napep) and other soft labors at this age of 61. I wonder on the amount of money we are give to India on tricycle which is now the suitable and recommended transportation in the country. To me, a journalist, I wonder what kind of engineers we are breeding in this country if they cannot invent the body of tricycle. Government can assist in this way to create more ways of revenue generation. Another lucrative way is to stop importing road engineers. The cost of constructions will reduce if we use our indigenous labor, and I observed, all the construction works we employed from outside, Nigerians do the risky and the action works. This means we can do the work perfectly while our lead engineers need little training to equip themselves for the construction of any type of road.
Skills can tackle many Nigerian problems and stabilize its economy. Like the African Proverb says, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. This statement is aligned to what Borno State Government is going to do to repentant Boko Haram members. Just, in few weeks the Borno State Government sent a delegation of Babagana Mustafa, Commissioner of Tertiary Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to visit Panteka Market, (A skill based market in Kaduna State) through NBTE to partner with Panteka Market and to send its apprentice to learn some skill works to train repentant Boko Haram members in the state .
It is a commendable effort at the side of governments as they are earnestly fighting the activities of insurgencies, and without doubt that is the only language the perpetrators understand and this is why many Boko Haram members are surrendering.
Nigeria must think out of the box to spread wealth and create opportunities to its citizens. Crude oil is not dependable as the world is advancing. Our vision on oil should go beyond dreams. We should not rely on crude oil as the source of our growth. We have fertile land to farm and governments should not continue to rely on peasant farmers to feed the nation. Governments should own farms and use human and machines to work on the farms like Thailand. This will be a better option than giving loans to fake farmers and it will proffer solution to prize crises and will maintain food prize control.
Our dream on electricity is on paper and so much has been spent into power and there is no happy story to write about. In 2019 a report revealed that Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari spent ₦ 1.164 trillion and President Muhammad Buhari accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo for spending $16bn on power without anything to show. Power is life and it helps in developing businesses. For power to stabilize in Nigeria, more power stations should be established and the existing ones should be highly maintained as Nigeria demand of electricity is increasing daily and our problem is that we don’t save for the rainy days.
Nigeria Budget is inconsistent and lopsided, this is why government is having lapses in its affairs. A look on 2020 Budget explained our preferences, the National Assembly Members budget is ₦134 billion for 469 people and Security budget is ₦22.7 billion for close to three million people and this is peculiar to all Nigerian states. This disparity is creating developmental vacuum and until politicians gain like other civil servants, Nigerian economy will continue to dwindle and borrowing will keep rising. This imbalance, is the reason why millions of Nigerians are traveling outside for education, medication, safety and for greener pasture. Equity is the only antidote of migration plague and woes of every nation.
The Judiciary should be more transparent and open base on justice and the rule of laws. There is congestion in Correctional Centers because of some irregularities of record keeping and many laws need to be revisited to fit our circumstances. More courts should be established to accelerate judgments. While, journalists should be allowed to discharge their civic responsibilities according to the laws of Nigeria and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Journalists are victimized, punished and imprisoned for just reporting events within the armpit of Fourth Estate of the Realm, and at this age there is a need for Press Freedom and Freedom of Information act to over ruled interests.
At 61, Nigeria has no excuse to give to its citizens. Nigeria is not more a baby that it used to be called. Nigeria is a grown and old Nation at its classic age.
Nigerian leaders should rise to fulfill the dreams of the nation and the making of this country a vibrant and strong country that will bear its name. We must accept our differences with respect and believe that we are one team in the pursuance of our dreams to reality and with nationalism and love for one another we will sleep with our eyes close. The time of game blaming is over and this is the time that change should begin with you and me.
Auwal Ahmed Ibrahim (Goronyo)
Lecturer: Mass Communication Department,
An International Peace Ambassador,
Auwal can be reached via email@example.com