Nigeria – A Country In Dire Straits

(By Chinedu Uche Okoye)

But, as the President of Nigeria, is President Goodluck Jonathan living up to our expectations? Has he shown seriousness and faithfulness in tackling our multifarious national problems? The truth is, President Jonathan is overwhelmed by the enormity of our national problems. We do not dispute the fact that he inherited most of the problems besetting our country. But, is he genuinely committed to finding solutions to our national problems?” 

NIGERIA has the potentiality to become the true and indisputable giant of Africa. Is her large landmass not arable and fertile? And, her weather conditions are equable and mild. Beneath its soil are such mineral resources as gold, tin-ore, bauxite, limestone, coal and crude oil. More so, Nigeria is a very populous country. Millions of its citizens, who are skilled and knowledgeable, are living in the Diaspora; and, they are helping their host countries to develop. These Nigerians can contribute their own quotas towards Nigeria’s development if they’re convinced to return home. But, why has greatness eluded Nigeria in spite of its abundant human and material resources?

  The answer can be located in the issue of inept and corrupt political leadership. Since we attained political sovereignty in 1960, Nigeria has never been led its finest and best political leaders. Politicians that ruled the country in the past emerged as national leaders through the imposition of leaders by kingmakers. The British colonial overlords laid the foundation of imposition of leaders in Nigeria when they helped Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to become Nigeria’s prime Minister in 1960. Other politicians that came to power via imposition are these: Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. But, a leader without moral probity and leadership qualities cannot transform a backward country to a great one. More so, before 1999, the military incursions into our politics devastated our country, economically and politically.

  President Good-luck Jonathan’s emergence as our President is fortuitous. It was an act of divine intervention. Expressions of joy and hope greeted his ascendance to the throne. It’s the first time that a man from a minority group has occupied the highest elective post in Nigeria. He owes his occupation of that exalted political office partly to God and partly to the environmental activism of some prominent Ijaw people. He was made the Presidential running mate of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on the ticket of the ubiquitous ruling party, PDP, in order to placate the people of the Niger-Delta region, who felt short-changed in the Nigeria’s scheme of things. He became President after Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in power.

  But, as the President of Nigeria, is President Goodluck Jonathan living up to our expectations? Has he shown seriousness and faithfulness in tackling our multifarious national problems? The truth is, President Jonathan is overwhelmed by the enormity of our national problems. We do not dispute the fact that he inherited most of the problems besetting our country. But, is he genuinely committed to finding solutions to our national problems?

  It is sad that President Jonathan’s act of playing politics of retaining power for ad infinitum has taken precedence over his offering us purposeful and quality leadership. And, Nigerians are the worse for it. A nation cannot rise above the visions of its leaders. It takes a visionary leader for a country to be positively transformed. President Jonathan is an underperforming and bumbling leader based on any benchmark for assessing leaders’ performances.

  The issue of education has not been addressed holistically in our country. In 2013, our public universities were closed for five months because universities lecturers employed wildcat’s measure to agitate for improved welfare conditions. Until now, the Federal Government’s budgetary allocation for education falls short of the UNESCO’s stipulation for the funding of education.

  More so, most Federal roads in the country are in state of disrepair. They are rutted thorough-fares that bear striking resemblance to the ones in war-torn countries. The Lagos-Ore road and South-West road easily come to mind. Good roads facilitate economic activities, and are catalysts for the rapid industrialisation of countries. Are our leaders aware of this fact?

  And, our hospitals, which used to be, in the words of Buhari when he overthrew Shehu Shagari, consulting clinics have transformed to mortuaries. Doctors working in government hospitals are always threatening to embark on an industrial action owing to the government’s insensitivity to their plight. While our leaders embark on health tourism and pilgrimage in foreign countries to address the issues of their health, poor Nigerians die daily of curable diseases in our ill-equipped hospitals.

  Again, death is now commonplace and cheap in the geographical space called Nigeria. There is insecurity of lives and property here. Kidnappers abduct people for ransom; armed robbers rob banks in broad daylight, hardly challenged. Haven’t we entered the state of anomie and anarchy?

  A large swathe of the North-eastern Nigerian has been overrun by Boko-Haram insurgents. Since they started their bloody campaign, thousands of people have been killed by the insurgents. Members of the bloody Boko-Haram group are fighting for the enthronement of Islamic theocracy in Nigeria. Irked by the occupation of the Presidential seat by a Christian from the minority south-south group, the Boko-Haram members have increased the tempo of their bloodletting. Their methods of killing people are blood-curdling and chilling.

  Consequently, the Independent National Electoral Commission has hinted that it may not conduct elections in the troubled states of north-eastern Nigeria come 2015. If elections are not held there, a politician who is defeated in the Presidential election may use it as an excuse to foment trouble in the country. In addition to the intractable Boko-Haram problem, some prominent northern politicians have engaged in Saber-rattling to dissuade President Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015. President Jonathan’s supporters are threatening us with war if their principal is prevented from contesting the presidential poll in 2015. Consequently, the political temperature in the country has risen. Meanwhile, many prominent members of the ruling PDP have defected to APC, the main opposition party in the country.

  But, President Jonathan is not forbidden from contesting the presidential election in 2015 by the constitution. So, instead of heating up the polity and increasing political tension in the country, President Jonathan’s political opponents should map out strategies and mobilise efforts to defeat him in the next election. Choosing the path of violence to achieve a political end is an improvident act. War does no good to anybody.

• Okoye, Uruowualu-Obosi, Anambra State.

08062220654.

“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.”

RISE NETWORKS

"Nigeria's Leading Private Sector and Donor funded Social Enterprise with deliberate interest in Technology and its relevance to Youth and Education Development across Africa. Our Strategic focus is on vital human capital Development issues and their relationship to economic growth and democratic consolidation." Twitter: @risenetworks || Facebook - RISE GROUP || Google Plus - Rise Networks