Nigeria at 58: It is not yet Uhuru, here

[FILE PHOTO] Buhari, President of Nigeria

Is the reason for our arrested national development far-fetched? No, it isn’t.

It takes a visionary, selfless and morally scrupulous national leader to revolutionise a country and take it to unprecedented economic and technological heights.

A great national leader can envision and imagine the type of country he would like his country to become.

Then, he would be set to task about it, and work assiduously with his leadership team to achieve their collective national dreams and aspirations.

Think about Chairman Mao Tse Tung and other great Chinese thinkers, who laid the ground work for the Chinese rapid industrialisation, technological greatness and sustainable economic development and prosperity.

And, Israel, which was created in 1947, is not populous; and its land mass may not be bigger than that of Anambra State.

Yet, today, Israel, which is surrounded by very aggressive and hostile neighbours, has military might and technological culture because it has been led successively and continuously by visionary, brilliant, able leaders.

More so, Singapore, India, and Malaysia have out-paced Nigeria in national development because they have philosopher-kings as leaders.

Is there not a nexus between national development and good political leaderships?

It is sad and incredible that since our attainment of political freedom and sovereignty in 1960, Nigeria has been bedeviled by myopic, irresponsible, profligate, insensitive, and corrupt political leaderships interspersed with oppressive military regimes.

But, the departing British colonists sowed the seed of our egregious political culture of recruitment of leaders.

They helped Alhaji Tafawa Belewa to political power at the expense of his political betters like Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

However, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa could not weld the peoples of Nigeria together, and entrench national unity in the country, which is a sin qua non for national development.

Not surprisingly, soon after we had become a politically independent country, Nigeria descended into a fratricidal civil war, which nearly caused her dismemberment.

Thereafter, the successive military regimes, which ruled Nigeria, would proclaim that their governments were corrective ones.

But the military leaders deepened our miseries by their iron-fist rule, corrupt deeds, and suspension of the constitution as exemplified by the military governments of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the late Sani Abacha.

Gen. Babangida’s political shenanigans, maneuverings and transition to civil rule rigmarole caused the third republic to become still-born after the first and second republics had failed abysmally.  

Happily, since the dawn of the fourth republic in 1999, Nigeria has been enjoying uninterrupted political leadership with one political party handing over political power to another party, peacefully.

The change of the leadership baton did not cause political chaos, here, as expected by the people. In fact, it’s a milestone in our political annals.

Sadly, however, the PDP’s leadership of Nigeria under the civilian governments of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan could not transform Nigeria to an economically prosperous and technologically advanced nation-state.

It is an unpalatable and incredible national narrative given our immense human and material endowments.

So, when Nigerians voted massively for Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 Presidential election, and he became our President, we thought that he would unveil a road map for the re-making of our battered country.

Considering his ascetic nature, avuncular disposition, Spartan mien, aversion to corruption, and zeal for political leadership, millions of Nigerians believed him to be our political messiah.

Then, he evinced the traits and tendencies of a moral reformer and revolutionary.

However, today, President Buhari is not living up to our expectations to the chagrin and utter disappointment of millions of Nigerians, who cast their votes for him. 

Now, in Nigeria, there is insecurity of life and property because President Buhari’s appointments of personnel into our country’s security apparatchik are determined by the factors of religion and ethnic origin.

The murderous campaigns that are being waged by the Boko Haram group and the Fulani herdsmen against other Nigerians have imperiled our national unity. Again, there is infrastructural rot in the country.

The dilapidated Enugu-Onitsha express-way brings back sad memories of egregious roads in war-torn Cambodia and Afghanistan.

The deplorable state of the road calls into question the Federal Government’s claim that it has performed creditably, so far.

More so, the regular and steady supply of electricity, which ought to be a given here, as it is obtained in Europe and America, is a mirage, here.

More so, while our population is burgeoning, exponentially, our economy is shrinking or growing at a slow pace.

Consequently, Nigeria has an army of unemployed angry and hungry youths.

Are our leaders aware that secessionist groups and terrorist organisations can enlist the unemployed youths into their groups and exploit their vulnerability to destabilise our country?

Fixing our economy as well as tackling the issue of unemployment should become our top priority and imperative now.

Are our leaders satisfied that Nigeria has been designated as the poverty capital of the world when we have the natural resources and human capital, which we can harness to turn around our ugly national situation?

They should hasten up and right the wrongs in our polity lest the angry and hungry youths give vent to their fury. But it is not yet uhuru, here.

Okoye, a poet, wrote from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.

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