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Nigeria; The Way I See It – By West Idahosa

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Our population is increasing by the minute. Unemployment seem to be growing at geometric rates. Infrastructure is decaying daily nation- wide and even in Abuja. We all know the level of insecurity prevailing in today’s Nigeria. There are many who hold the view that poverty has its headquarters here. Our people are despised worldwide and only foreigners who are still interested in engaging our best heads or taking advantage of our common wealth pretend to have a relationship with us. The prognosis for improvement in our national life is poor.

Divided Nigerian flag
Divided Nigerian flag

For those of us well over 50 years of age, we had a fair deal from Nigeria and it is sad that we have been unable to give back what we got from this wonderful country. We have a duty to ensure that the present and younger generations enjoy commensurate benefits from our nation by keeping it politically, economically and socially strong.

If 2023, is still about who gets power amongst Ndigbo , Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani or ethnic minorities and not about who will fix the mess we are in, then it may really be that hope has finally traveled out of our country.

The country needs a political engineer to reconstruct it. Many were hopeful that Buhari would be the man to lead our national renaissance. For now, he may be doing his best. As it is today, his work is far from where many want it to be. Without doubt , he came to government with probably the highest level of personal integrity and desire to reduce corruption amongst those who have ever sought to lead our country since 1999.

Inspite of his endowments and zeal, a few factors have let him down so far.

First, he is too trusting of his associates and as such moves too slowly against them when what the situation calls for is quick response in the face of adversity. This is why the Service Chiefs, long overdue for retirement, are still serving despite the near unpalatable security situation in the country coupled with the state of high indiscipline in the Armed Forces. It is the main reason why the FCT minister who is probably the worst in our national life is still there.

Second, is the the very slow pace of appraisal of situation reports. Just look at the state of Federal roads. Unbelievable. National disgrace. There is no way that the President would not have been briefed about this. What emergency measures are in place to temporarily resolve this impasse by the Minister in charge of the Works Ministry? There should be no sentiments about failure. It is bad for development. For a man like President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, such a Minister would have been history by now for lacking innovative ways in dealing with the disastrous state of our federal roads.

Third, is the unwillingness to punish appointees who frustrate presidential directives. Remember the directive to recruit 10,000 policemen to improve police presence in the country. The project is on hold because the Police Service Commission is fighting the Police Force over which institution would carry out the recruitment. While the fight is persisting, the problem of insecurity is worsening. Is the police service commission going to be held responsible for the security situation in Nigeria? Is this not an avoidable policy impediment? Should the President not call the commission to order?

Imagine the case of NDDC. The President sent a list of nominated Board members to the Senate for confirmation. On the same day that the correspondence was read on the floor of the Senate, the Minister of the Niger Delta Ministry had the temerity to announce an illegal interim management team of three persons and got such outlaws to take over the affairs of NDDC. This is the height of ministerial rascality and character deficiency. I won’t be surprised if he is still retained after this defecation on presidential powers. The story is endless.

However, it looks like these narratives are about to change. Our borders with some countries have been closed for overriding national interest. We hope the differences would be resolved soon in our economic interest. No one saw that coming. Ministers were barred from traveling during the period of the 2019 Budget Defence at NASS. Good decision. Certain categories of public officers are now limited to flying in the economy class. The President has personally been engaged in salutary foreign diplomatic economic shuttles as a way of boosting foreign investments and fast tracking our national development. Maybe the real change that was promised is trickling in after all.

Let us be fair. No matter what anyone may say, the war on corruption is really on. EFCC is leading the attack line very well and credit must go to the President for not interfering with the Commission’s job so far. Kudos to Magu for his relentlessness in this fight.

What the country needs now is a network of support for the President in the form of voluntary policy advisory services, whistle blowing on corruption and misfits in government, change of mindset and behavior modification.

2023 is far away. It should not be about who gets power amongst Ndigbo, Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani or ethnic minorities. It should be about men of masonia and mahogany with the conviction and skill-set to bail us out as a nation. Men who can restore our dignity as a nation and polish our image as a people. Men who can appreciate our population explosion and work out a future, but pragmatic solution to it. Men who understand the economic complexities that we are in, but are determined to functionally improve it in order to increase our GDP, reduce unemployment, curtail insecurity, improve educational standards and health care, ensure a complete coverage of all citizens under a viable national identity scheme. Men who are not slaves to money and know the real difference between running government for the people and turning government to a means of livelihood.

Yes. These are the men that our country needs now and in 2023. Not ethnic or religious sloganeering for the mere sake of acquiring political power.
We need more than that. We want tangible progress that would be reckoned with both at home and abroad.

This is the way I see it.

Dr. West-Idahosa.

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