I belong to a social media group that is in so many ways, a microcosm of the larger Nigerian society today. Though its setting is the cyber world, members see it as an honor to be citizens of ‘The FOM kingdom’. The kingdom borrows from our old village structure the politics, arm twisting, maneuvering and fight for relevance by the various characters and these scenarios at times outplay what goes on among the juggernauts in major real life political parties now jostling for the political soul of the Nation.
In the last couple of months, I have had the fortune of joining several other fora where some of the best and brightest Nigerians with great minds deliberate, debate and engage in intellectual discourse. Candidly, sometimes I feel I am not knowledgeable enough to be in some of those fora because of the degree of intellectual competence and insightful analysis demonstrated by the members.
Undoubtedly, Nigeria is blessed with some of the finest minds in the black race. It gladdens me that Nigerians (whether Yorubas, Hausas, Igbos or any other Nigerian tribe) were recently considered the smartest people among the black race. Truth be told however, Nigeria today is like a nation of unintelligent people who lack the capacity for creative thoughts to change their sordid and dysfunctional society.
The question is what happened to all these intelligent and “good” Nigerian people that they cannot come up with a decisive and transformational strategy to join hands with those already on board in other to move the country forward? For the records, it is instructive to mention that the apathy gained ground because of the fears already created from past political experiences. We were warned by parents and family members and even our teachers that “politics in Nigeria is a dirty game and a do-or-die affair. It is for thugs and not for the intelligent ones.” Nigerians are all too familiar with that cliché. It is hard, very hard indeed to get those stories out of one’s head. They still reverberate today, but irrespective, change must be embraced.
Keen watchers of politics in the Nigeria will discern a certain obvious pattern in the way the politics of the Country is played out. There are some political heavy weights who have bestrode the political landscape of the Nation for quite some time now. Politics, no doubt is a game of give and take. However, an obvious fact remains that for genuine development to be achieved in the Country, sacrifices are bound to be made, especially by these major stakeholders. Sacrifices in terms of, for instance, taking a back seat, sheathing their swords, reaching a compromise to take a break with the past and looking forward to the big picture, and who is best suited to deliver it, considering the political cacophony of the past, which has often left bitter memories and deterred our progress as a people.
We have been suffering from want in the midst of plenty. Want of qualified and skilled personnel even when we have them in quantum, because of the constant bickering among the old guard politicians who have refused to leave the stage for fresh young minds to come into position of political authority. Because of the dearth of building a successor generation of leaders, we have always settled for second and third eleven to handling the affairs of State. Now time waits for nobody. We should be emphatic on the kind of leaders we choose or retain this time around in order to take our dear Fatherland to an enviable height. Time is fast ticking away and we are still far behind in the development index, in comparison with other forefront Countries elsewhere in Africa.
We cannot continue like this. This is why we need a clean breath of fresh air to blow resiliently across the political landscape. We need a break from the old ways of doing things. In essence, we need to join forces across board and support the new breed with fresh ideas on how to move the Nation forward.
As for who will/should occupy the center, my criteria remains the same. The person we need should be focused, goal-directed, ready to raise the performance bar to an all-time record level. He should be connected to the mainstream of Nigerian politics to be able to share democratic dividends to the nooks and cranny of the Country without much ado; someone who has learnt the ropes, a goal-getter with an undying passion for the development of the Nation; an individual whose primary concern is the welfare and security of Nigerians anywhere in the world. The person we seek is in each and every one of us.
Should we continue to complain about thugs and feeble minds parading themselves as rulers or leaders in Nigeria or should we get involved and change things? This is a dilemma that many good, intelligent, technocratic and well- meaning Nigerians grapple with everyday.
No nation of the world has progressed and developed when its people make governance difficult by wallowing in criticisms. Not until the technocrats took over Brazil, Russia, India, China, Singapore and Malaysia that those countries witnessed growth and development. Just less than a decade ago, these countries were still called third world countries on same par with Nigeria. But today, they are flourishing with productive and educated workforce because of the policies and reforms executed by technocrats.
It is glaring that we need to re-configure our thinking towards re-shaping the current socio-political and economic landscape in the country. This is not about getting a large sum of money from a godfather to run for a political office. There is no new idea in that strategy. It is about using knowledge and modern thoughts that the old dogs lack to mesmerize them; thereby subtly and systemically wresting power out of them. Candidly, we never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, we need to build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
To save Nigeria, we need to rise up and take over the affairs of the nation. Anyone with his country’s interest at heart will develop his country and people because of the future of their children and children children’s future. Let us begin to think of how to build this nation rather than condemn everything in sight. Let’s change the old order of doing things. The paradigm must shift come 2015, we all must be part of the process of making our country great again; no more ‘siddon look’!