For many years I’ve asked why Nigerians succeed everywhere else but in their natural environment/society. I queried why the most indolent folks in school in Nigeria become geniuses on foreign lands. I have seen folks who have spent years abroad return to the country only to be found taking a pee near a clearly marked “Do Not Urinate Here” Sign.
10years down that line I realized the issue is about ownership and national integration. Many will say environment but how do we begin to separate the people from their environment? Can we divorce the fish from water and expect it to live? Can we take the wild from the animal even if we succeed taking it out of the wild? We are society.
I believe this is why we have no king in the ants kingdom. They are organized locally, they develop culture, and that culture gives them the resilience to make them one of the world’s most numerous creatures. Culture will remain the most powerful force available to us for it is derived from each of us and transmitted through generations, from the connections between. It is not created by Presidents, Kings, Emirs or Ministers.
The sociopolitical dereliction you see in the Nigeria of now is as a result of a culture of disconnection, division, disunity, selfishness and lack of national integration. We don’t believe it matters if it doesn’t affect us directly. But we have seen where that leads and must begin to re-calculate our coordinates towards the #NewNigeria where the country is put to work, where human lives matter, where law order is prioritized, and where the rule of law is sacrosanct.
It has been difficult for our leaders since independence to find the connecting link that defines our union after the divide and rule scheme of the imperialist.
“At independence in 1960, the Nigerian state represented a contrived federal balance between three ethnically and politically divided federal states. The political rivalry and tension between the three factions precluded the evolution of any specific ‘Nigerian ideology or doctrine’ and the emergence of any single charismatic national leader who could be identified as the ‘voice of Nigeria’.
Thus, the characteristic conservatism of Nigerian foreign policy at independence, often interpreted as weakness or lack of sovereignty is more realistically ascribed to the uncertainty of the Nigerian political leadership’s domestic political footing. In formulating foreign policy the leadership elite was faced with the dilemma of internal disunity and a patently contrived and unstable federal political balance. In order to bridge the cleavage between internal divisiveness and the wider notion of ‘Nigerianism’, the political leadership (in view of the lack of any characteristic or cohesive Nigerian nationalism) sought to project Nigeria’s external objectives into a wider pan-Africanist framework.” – Michael Sinclair 1983
We just may have cracked the code to our “Nigerian Ideology” which makes us the happiest people on earth. That uniqueness that can’t be conquered by pain, hardship, impoverishment, sorrows, tears and blood.
We live in a dynamic world and the socio-political landscape will forever be changing but our leaders love comfort zones so much that they will always stick to a revisionary life that once worked for them regardless of how anachronistic this is with the present time.
This has since become a culture that got us stuck in the elect and regret cycle, of turn by turn politics of ethnic extraction and religious bigotry. We are a poor nation because of this. We are a poor nation and can only get poorer as long as meritocracy is sabotaged for cronyism, nepotism and tribalism. This is why productivity has plunged and capable hands won’t get jobs or be given the enabling environment to thrive.
This is the statement of problem and it certainly can’t be solved by mere discontent driven protests that can be replicated with a counter protest by those in question via their hungry ignorant hirelings sacrificing their future for temporary relief. It goes beyond the placards and display of angst cum being willing target practice for unprofessional zombie corrupt policemen.
We need to galvanize transformational leaders and enlightened followers that will be easy to govern, difficult to rule and impossible to enslave. Until this state of consciousness is attained we really can’t achieve much.
So our job is cut out for us. We have to enlighten the public and create more leaders. Leadership has nothing to do with political offices. Those that often change the world or are ordinary people.
The leadership example of Jesus Christ shows that much that we are created for influence and impact and if we reflect His light enough to brighten the path for others to find themselves, the world will be a better place.
First published in Nigerian Tribune online 07072018