My thoughts on Nigeria today

Boko Haram fighters


Celebrate if you can, for it is good for one to be alive. We, Nigerians, live on hope for a better tomorrow, hence, suicides were in past rare in Nigeria. But, in the recent past, suicides have become more prevalent because of the myriads of problems, which have become seemingly insurmountable in the day-to-day lives of ordinary Nigerians. Today, there are all kinds of suicides.

Suicide from depression is on the rise. Suicide from other factors, including Boko Haram has not abated. There is despondency in the land and there is the need to call on the ruling class to pull this great country of ours, Nigeria, back from the abyss – the brink of self-destruction and alienation.

Nigeria does not need the divisions it is presently witnessing. While agitations for restructuring and even secession may be good to draw attentions to perceived flaws in the polity; such agitations must be channeled appropriately and within the confines of the law, be it, domestic or international law. We need an egalitarian society.

A strong, united and indivisible nation built on the strong values of equity and justice, rule of law and fairness. As a first step, the political leadership of all the political parties should apologize to Nigerians for failing to deepen the tenets of Democracy since May 29, 1999, which has invariably made it impossible for there to be the much needed pragmatic and progressive building of the nation by men and women of goodwill. While noting that the political space provided since May 29, 1999, have accidentally thrown up one or two men and women of goodwill, honesty and credibility into our political and public life, these very few, have not been able to bring about the much desired development, as the fundamentals and structures of their political parties, including the lack on internal democracy, make their impact insignificant.

Most Nigerians cannot explain the sources of their wealth, which in most cases are traceable to corruption both in the public and private sectors of the economy. There should be a compelling desire not to tolerate in our midst any person whose life style and means does not reflect his or her known sources of income. In other words, society must not celebrate anyone whose wealth is questionable. No one is against a person being wealthy, but we all owe this nation and ourselves the duty to despise persons whom we know have stolen our commonwealth, be it at the Local, State or Federal level.

Our attitude to work needs complete re-direction, so as to see us as veritable partners in the creation and sustenance of the wealth of the nation, which should be equitably distributed and utilized for the common good as appropriated by the various tiers of government. Conscious efforts must be made to create employment opportunities for the teaming masses of our people so as not to provide human beings who are easily mobilized as political thugs and suicide bombers.

The goodwill being enjoyed by Nigeria in the international community should not be taken for granted. We should closely guard our external relations from being undermined and deal with other nations on the much cherished principles of reciprocity. Every attempt must be made to ensure that Nigeria does not become a pariah nation that is isolated on important questions and issues in world diplomacy.  Now, more than ever before is the time, for the Political Parties who will soon begin politicking towards the 2019 general elections to realize that they have failed Nigerians. There is the need for a total political re-awakening to ensure the proper practice of democracy that will produce Statesmen (and women) who are deeply concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens and the nation-state, and not merely Politicians. Nigeria does not need to elect into office persons who have no alternative sources of sustainable income to return to at the end of their tenure in office.

As part of entrenching internal democracy within the Political Parties, it would be a welcome development for the Political Parties to scrap forthwith the selling of “Expression of Interest Forms” to would-be candidates to various elective offices and to conduct credible primaries so as to open the political space to attract credible candidates who would otherwise be scared by money politics and godfatherism which then places heavy burdens on Politician to recoup their heavy “investments “  and to appease their godfathers when elected. Similarly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should make rules that will make electioneering less expensive, so that a person elected into public office to serve does not have a mind-set of finding money to off-set huge election expenses and debts!  In addition, the culture of placing congratulatory messages for persons elected to serve the people at the beginning of their tenure should be discouraged forthwith.

Rather, such congratulatory messages could be placed at the end of a highly successful tenure in office, for it is then and only then that the congratulations become deserving, the purpose of which will be to appreciate the contributions and worth of those persons to the development of the society.  Nigeria’s case should not continue to be like that of a person who fetches water only to pour same on the back side of a calabash (a wasteful exercise), akin to that of a failed State where since Independence we have failed to develop as a nation-state. We must resist the constant clamor for division along ethnic and religious lines based on primordial considerations.

Yes, let us celebrate Nigeria. Let us celebrate being alive.  Let us make Nigeria work for Nigerians.  God bless Nigeria. God Bless Nigerians.Happy 57th Independence Anniversary Nigeria.
Ahonaruogho is a legal practitioner and past president of the University of Benin Alumni Association,

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