Restructuring Nigeria

A long queue of persons waiting to buy kerosene


“If we really love this country; if we truly love justice and mercy; if we fervently want to make the nation better for those who are to follow us, we can at least adjure to the hatred that consumes people, the false accusations that divide us and the bitterness that begets violence.”-Chief Justice Warren

The cry of “leave us alone” or the attempt to disengage from the present formation to join State A or Region Z, etc., is an important issue to be considered by the major political parties. There have been bad elections in Nigeria for some and also good ones for others, and the political process sanctioned by the constitution will continue to evolve leaders for a long time. There is nothing wrong or inevitable in this since we are running a democratic system of government. Nigeria will for a long time debate on her present and future relationships with one another and for better or worse. One day, we may come to the bus stop where a near permanent solution will be found to alter the present course of nationhood.

Then and hopefully, Nigerians will take to living ‘independent adult life’ through which everyone can control his/her life without unjust treatment by any person, group of people or government in power. However, we must attempt to uproot the major issues that can cause disaffections in our nation. We must also eliminate the deep-rooted degrading forces that are disrupting the national peace and tranquility. Hibernating issues that unjustly affect our daily living in Nigeria since independence in 1960 must be totally eliminated in the best possible manner. We must heal our past wound sand sentiments while at the same time fix our eyes on straightening the mutual paths to national unity.

Majority of Nigerians will support the particular political party that can meet the desires and yearnings of the people. A party that is interested in maintaining its hold on power must of necessity conform to demands of the electorates for democratic reform, social reorientation, equal opportunity, elimination of corruption, stopping of special privileges to politicians and curtail the impunity of the rich people while widely sharing the benefits of globalization. Young Nigerians must have the opportunity to participate in running of the government to ensure that political powers flow from the bottom to the top. Such party must be freely reformed to accommodate wishes and aspirations of the people that can make them richer, access to good welfare, enough food for every family, good health, supportive infrastructures, quality education, decent and adequate shelters for various families, full/fuller employment, freedom of association and assembly.

History tells us not only who we were but also helps us to understand how we got to where we are today. We must always learn great lessons when we go down the historical lane and consider pressing national issues from different perspectives. In this case, the only way to be satisfied is to depend on history as informed by our ancestors or adopt the life examples of other developed nations. It will be recalled that after independence in 1960, Nigeria became totally dependent on the local initiatives immediately after the colonial era of administration. Then, we began to think about how we came together under religion, tribes, social relationships and economic reasons. Instead of us to pursue developmental finesse and marshal developmental plans that will project the nation into the arena of developmental continuum, we began to think of various differences that tend to separate us after many years of co-existence.

We also considered our integration through transportation networks, roads, sea ports, donkeys/camels routes and later rail-roads and air travel. We were reminded of important roles played by missionaries; Christianity and Mohamedianism for national integration. We shared a deep thought on colonial masters who offered our people the basic education that was taught in Arabic and English languages. How to defend ourselves from external aggressions and incursions of national boundary marauders and also care for ourselves with medical services became our pressing pre-occupations. The colonial masters taught us how to operate commercial farming, weave clothes, keep large poultries, manage animal husbandry, carve, etc., and engage in other meaningful activities that can guarantee our self-sufficiency. We were later introduced to western civilization, community living, urbanization, etc. Furthermore, we also inculcated the system of justice, etc., required to maintain social decency, egalitarian society, law and order. The influence of Western education on our nationhood was indeed a blessing in all ramifications.

From all these, we developed the system of local and party politicking from which ensuing disharmony resulted and prevailed till today. We cannot forget in a hurry bitter political warfare that occurred among politicians attempting to perpetuate themselves in power. Unending tribal conflicts and selfish pursuits that arose from skewed political manipulations did not help the developmental push of Nigeria. We must also remember the slogan of belonging to one nation with one destiny which has been the essence of our long period of co-existence. Social scientists have told us that we have a life-long community in which colleagues, friends and mentors coagulate together in order to satisfy diverse social relationships. These are worthwhile pre-requisites for large scale creativity and innovations for societal progress and growth. Ironically and up till today, Nigerians have leaned on regimentation and frowned at innovative pursuits in the attempt to sideline the nation from global competition in the area of technological development. Ironically, profits emanate from business relationships and innovative breakthrough in the global village. This is the real anchor upon which societal wheels of progress are anchored today in the ever-changing global business.

Thus, the widespread generosity and inter-relationships, developmental audacity, social arbitrage, cultural blending, professional connections through career passions, giving back to the society and having fun without encumbrances can help to shape and reshape our visions for social ‘resolutions’ and ‘restructuring’. Restructuring must be based on “our paychecks, good moods, good health and full size of our bellies”. All these determine the people that we choose to interact with, the nature and extent of such relationships. We should have the passion to consider the ‘haves and the have-nots’ among us especially, those who really need our helps for survival through social welfare. We should remember that poverty is not only the lack of financial resources but also unabated isolation from good and philanthropic people who can help us identify more intrinsic nature of ourselves while harnessing those good nature and intentions that can benefit us and others.

Our success in life emanates from working with other people and not pushing for set-ups against them in order to derail their good plans. It is business-like working with positive minded people and not deliberately rebelling against them or limiting their potentials. The business school teaches people that “business is a human enterprise, driven and determined by people at all times.” We should remember that when we help others, they often help us back unknowingly. This is the simple rule of “reciprocity” of action that suggests the goodness or evil that occurs to us from time to time. Success in any field depends on working with other people and not shunning their peaceful entreaties, antagonizing or confining their ideas to the state of irrelevancy. We must reach out to people in need of our helps and make a difference that will lead to marginal improvement in their lives.

Our aspiration in the looming national and political restructuring should be aimed at working with people from other tribes to achieve national development and not deliberately to retard their progress and thus confine them to the state of stagnation. We must continually exist together peacefully but on new terms and conditions that can lead to timely development. Under this condition, we must be able to sleep peacefully in our various empires without threats or fear of terrorism and molestation. We must restructure through widespread national ‘networking’ for sharing diverse knowledge and natural resources for maximising our potentials. We must create friendly atmosphere, strong empathetic conditions, intense compassion, guarantee reasonable values to other people within the nation and coincidentally, increase our own.

It is a global fact that a nation in resolute unity across various geo-political zones will make remarkable progress within reasonable time. Therefore, the common slogan which stipulates “united we stand, divided we fall” cannot be subjugated to the state of irrelevancy. The time is rife for Nigerians to redefine the socio-political standings so as to eliminate malignant and destructive inclinations that threaten our unity in diversity. Our deceptive leadership tactics in the scheme of national operations which awkwardly favor some regions above other weaker groups must be totally expunged immediately. In this attempt, we must reshape our sub-conscious state of minds to gain better awareness of complex truths while displaying unrestrained zeal and enthusiasm of participating in the joint developmental process.

According to George Burton Adams, “There is no such thing as ‘self-made’ man. We are made of thousands of others who aid our personal growth and development. Everyone who has done a kind deed for us or spoken one good word of encouragement to us, entered into the make-up of our character and thoughts, as well as our success is involved in making us to what we are presently.” Furthermore, Margaret Wheatley stated that “Relationships are all there is, everything in the universe only exist because it is in relationship to everything else, nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending that we are individuals that can go it all alone.”If we must heal our national wounds that are fast becoming malignant as national aberration, we must fix our eyes on innovative pursuits in all ramifications and straighten our paths to do the needful relating to honest restructuring of the nation at the right time. We must remember that “life is a trial period to eternity”. Nigeria satiation today in like a pressure looker building up tensions, that exploded in the post war period.

Nigerian socio-political and economic ordeals that call for restructuring are not a unique experience. Other nations went through similar situations in the course of their national growths. Such countries include USA, India, Mexico, Japan, China, Russia, Germany, etc. In the face of global financial crisis in late 2001, the Argentina economy collapsed. Because the state failed to offer reasonable solution, the people went out to the open streets to sing and shout” que se voyan tudos” (they must go). They all created the popular rebellion, provided jobs for themselves and supported one another. They explored the whole world for new relationships with countries such as Cairo, Athens, London, New York, Madrid and Frankfurt, all with the view of supporting themselves. Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. Perhaps it is quite otherwise as revolutions are merely considered as several attempts of passengers on the train (namely, the human race) to activate the emergency brake – all in the words of Walter Benjamin.

Similarly, Mexico declared in 1914 a resounding called ‘ya Basta’ (Enough).At the same time Mubarak Ben Ali, Hussein and Gadahfi were called ‘Big Men’, the untouchable institutions and named al-Rais, we are told that the body didn’t dare move without the an Arabic derivation of “the head”. Spain and Moscow adopted the slogan of “you do not represent us” while Egypt declared ‘kataya’ (Enough).“All they were asking for was the real democracy.”Also, there was extreme “exploitation of peasants, brutal killings, corruption uprising in all ethnically diverse region in China, Japan and India that failed to produce the industrial tempo similar to that of Soviet Union. We must also mention the process of economic and cultural developments in Soviet Union which passed through several stages but never arrived at the inner equilibrium. The task of socialism was to create a classless society based on solidarity and harmonious satisfaction of all needs – this makes the difference with capitalism. Ironically, they found themselves in the tight position of material and culture inequalities, government repressions, political groupings and intense struggle for factions.

Our dwelling on history only helps us to see the future. There have been recorded revolutions in the history of mankind that are worthy of mention. Of particular note was in USA through the inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr. His postulations were inclined on strong ‘vision and dream’ that became major motivation to many people all over the world to push for egalitarian society where the voice of the people matters. His voice became the moral value of mankind on which resolute calls for meaningful developmental actions were anchored in various societies. He spoke with passion and also proclaimed that justice can and will prevail. He was a leader whose major concern was to resolve the plights of humanity while believing that the “world conflicts could be reconciled in the power of human spirit and without resorting to violence.”
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolution act.”- George or well.

In this article:
Olu Okunrinboye


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