(By Goke Omolade)
“Taking advantageous cues from these developed societies, Africa’s giant urgently needs to re-organise its educational and cultural orientation from mere certification to being really educated thoroughly in thinking and deeds. Similarly, the present siege mentality of money accumulation needs to be completely dismantled and in its place, there should be a newly charged collaborative socialisation process; actively involving parental, educational, neighbourhood/communal participation.“
OVER the ages, nation-building has been an eclectic, interactive and generational process which conscientious leaders have had to hand on to their successors. In a way, such leaders on the line of this altruistic duty performance, usually key to the pervasive vision of a secure and better tomorrow. Since no individual actor is greater than his milieu, it therefore becomes imperative that no matter how powerful, well-meaning or visionary, a nation is the total sum of its citizenry’s shared values as well as communality of set goals.
At the outset of its January 1914 amalgamation, Nigeria was clustered not mindful of the sharp differences in the creed, race, ingenuity and aspirations of the various people. If only Fredrick Lugard had taken cognisance of the fear and background realities of the people being coerced as a united nation. Just imagine the degree of mayhem that might have resulted if both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland had been forcefully welded with the United Kingdom (UK) before now.
That the UK has not broken to warring pieces is the organic manner it has been able to balance its art of governance between its monarchic and democratic values. While the union of Britain, Scotland and Wales have trudged on their democratic process along with their monarchic conventions, the two Irelands have been republican in their democratic dispositions rather than by any monarchic ethos.
With this hindsight, can Nigeria for all empirical purposes be described as a working or healthy federation? Commencing from a definitive point, a federal system obtains in which several states form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs which range from one’s pace of economic development, internal policing, and collection of taxes to educational pursuits. The instructive examples of the United States (balance federalism); Canada (loose federalism) and former Soviet Union (extreme federalism) are quite relevant here. In reality, where can Nigeria’s federal system be situated between these three given examples, especially with the overbearing might and one-sided dominance of Abuja over other component parts?
Similarly, is Nigeria a functional republic? For instance, a republic is that state in which supreme power is exercised by the people and their elected representatives without any monarchic interference. If this is so, why then are the traditional rulerships of the Obas, Obis and Emirs still so sacrosanct? With these multiple distortions at its foundational outlay, is there any wonder why Nigeria has been held captive by all types of monsters since its conception (1914 amalgamation and 1960 flag independence)?
Having been caught between the spiral intrigue of neither belonging to a nation that was allowed to nurture its own patriots nor truly identifying with the roots of one’s ethnic motherland, Nigerians have been rendered weary sojourners on an endless, rudderless voyage of disorientation and disappointment. Rather than rally together and destroy their common enemies of ignorance, illiteracy, poverty; pseudo-patriots and career criminals who disguise as leaders; the citizenry at large have been warped in thoughts and deeds to assail the nation at all costs.
With absolutely nothing meaningful to offer, these tyrants and their ilk in power dwell in the vices of corrosive corruption, debauchery, needles wealth accumulation, power intrigues and their mainstay is covertly institutionalised in the spoilage system vis-à-vis power arena. Having enervated the nation’s oil boom for so long; they subsequently proceeded in integrating themselves in the party system with the advent of their craftily designed democracy.
In an environment where healthy democracy operates freely, a party basically plays the unique role of a match-maker and once the couple come together, the match-maker retreats until there comes the need for one to make any desirous appearance. Not for them any such dignified honour of being called when needed. They prefer to parade themselves as imposing godfathers to those who are elected/selected on the people’s authority and rather than allow equity and fairness to hold in the distribution of the common wealth; they just personalise the power arena.
However, in a viable political setting, the number of parties in operation is broadly determined by the type of voting system; simple majority or proportional representation. In a place where there exist genuine reasons for people’s aspirations to be represented on a broader perspective, more parties might exist in coherence with the proportional representation. Israel is one case study. But in a very fluid nation-state like Nigeria where people’s earnest yearnings are yet to be properly channelled; having more than a two-party system is to further compound an already worse scenario. Even in advanced and refined democracies like the UK, United States and other emerging democracies, the two-party system is really the vague for people’s choice.
One striking feature that stands out in an open minded and development-driven society is the free rein accorded interactive ideas. So eclectic and penetrating is the pivotal power of ideas in the market-place of human advancement that Victor Hugo was credited with the dictum that “no power or people can stop that idea which time has come.” How then can ideas manifest? This can discernibly be located in the legendry Plato’s allegory of the cave.
There were once a group of cave dwellers who lived on ignorance. While some were brought out into the limelight, they were said to have quickly retreated into the cave; for being too exposed to the limelight. Others were later brought out and these ones stayed awhile and gradually got used to the limelight and its after-effects. With time, their thinking and all else became forward-looking, particularly on the suggestive ways they could improve their lot. In essence, one principal reason why the contemporary world of the western democracy, North America and Southeast Asia is development-driven is because they readily embrace innovative/eclectic ideas. Their educational system is so receptive and idea-hungry that what their scientific discoveries dish out; their technological prowess almost effortlessly process to breathtaking perfections. Yet their quest for newer ideas is so relentless and inspiring to the point of being summed to a simple ratio of used past + an innovative present = a secure future.
Taking advantageous cues from these developed societies, Africa’s giant urgently needs to re-organise its educational and cultural orientation from mere certification to being really educated thoroughly in thinking and deeds. Similarly, the present siege mentality of money accumulation needs to be completely dismantled and in its place, there should be a newly charged collaborative socialisation process; actively involving parental, educational, neighbourhood/communal participation.
As a temporary measure, all those with the necessary wherewithals should be compelled to engage in large
scale/mechanised farming vis-à-vis establishing at least one standardised science and technology (S&T) park in each of the nation’s local council areas. With these in place, the issue of unending unemployment/underemployment would be adequately addressed. Just imagine how many Mohammed Modibbos, the panel-beater, who produced/exhibited Modibbo Wagon at the April 2010 Abuja Motor Show, are yearning to be pulled out of the abyss of helplessness that our present disoriented society has avoidably condemned to.
On the whole, securing the Nigeria of our choice where good governance, equitable distribution of available resources, impartial justice system vis-à-vis constitutional adherence may require some degree of coercive action. This is because those who are the beneficiaries of the current iniquitous status quo may not easily let go of their reins of tyranny and debauchery. But history is replete with the examples of those victors who dared and conquered their oppressors. The United States got its hard-earned 1776 independence only after it withstood and defeated Britain while the same British colonial dinosaur only yielded ground for the emergence of the state of Israel in May 1948 after Menachem Begin’s Irgun’s bombing of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem (in July, 1946).
In essence, there is hardly any human endeavour worthy of note that comes easy and long-lasting until the exacted price is supremely paid. By inference, no pain no gain; no coercion no cohesion!
Omolade wrote from Goshen Haven Ifelodun Estate, Off FUTA North Gate, Akure.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”