A nation in dire straits



Sir: From the crushing economic pains of the day, to the social dislocations and mounting insecurity everywhere in the land, coupled with the ignoble and dodgy power play at Abuja, a common thread runs through all these: a nation in dire straits!

But before we got to this precipitous crossroad, the signs were as visible as the day. Now, the economy is in avoidable recession as inflation, job losses, unprecedented unemployment and crippling poverty reign supreme with no visible respite in sight. Equally so, the oil boom has given way to doom, and like the dog who discountenanced the hunter’s whistle, we have strayed into the wild forest and now at the mercy of the wild beasts.

The land is equally afflicted by the cancer of hatred, which has manifested in form of tribal distrust and killings. Everywhere around us, there are palpable hostilities occasioned by a resentment rooted in economic pains and political alienation.

The daily cry is that of restructuring of the polity, ostensibly to put an end to the colonial lie called a united Nigeria.

But as we grope along this uncertain path, and with our ‘all-knowing’ leaders believing, erroneously of course, that we are on the right track, the more the reality stares us in the face, the more we play the ostrich.

But can these perilous times be allowed to consume us and make this African giant, though with feet of clay, sink deeper into the abyss?

Truth is: from ages, great nations have emerged from the ashes of their woes, and this new dawn comes about with visionary leadership. For instance, the persecution of the Jews by Hitler’s Nazi strengthened and made them to think of home, which culminated in the State of Israel in 1948. Germany after World War 1 and 2 lost her choice overseas colonies to the Allied Powers and was slammed with all manners of sanctions aimed at crippling her from becoming militarily strong enough to terrorise Europe again. Even Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima, was in economic mess and in ruins. But today, these nations have become world powers not only in terms of economic stability, but are more united, thanks to visionary and purposeful leadership.

Though Nigeria fought a 30-month civil war, and the victors in their frenzy of having a defeated and silenced the belligerent Igbo, failed to tap into the human ingenuities exhibited, especially by the Biafrans during the war, to rebuild Nigeria. The post-war oil boom ushered the nation into a new world of easy money and made our leaders and the people an indolent lot who never cared about how to seize the opportunity of the boom to build a buoyant economy.

The inexplicable fact is: Buhari can seize this moment and rebuild Nigeria into a socially cohesive, economically vibrant and politically sophisticated nation. But this rare feat can only be achieved if the President jettisons partisan politics and evolve a holistic strategy of assembling the best minds across the country on a rescue mission for a nation on her knees.

Nwagboniwe, a media practitioner, wrote from Lagos.

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