Satanic verses or a journey towards hope (2)
Nigeria is better as one big united country with a greater diversity of culture and people. That was my latent theme in part one of this article. How would this be achieved is my focus in part two of the Satanic verses or a journey towards hope.
History has a way of repeating itself. The past can be used to prepare for the future. Countries with good leadership have learned to correct their horrible past through changes that institutionalise their culture, value and corporate identity.
Nigeria’s past, no matter how horrifying it is, can be turned into a better tomorrow for the citizens. The starting point is the realisation that our leaders have mismanaged our resources and our diversity and divided us more than they have united us.
The starting point is the realisation that our leaders have mismanaged our resources and our diversity and divided us more than they have united us
Nigerians have been more divided in the last seven years, but the division started since the amalgamation and is fuelled by the lack of merits in appointments. The mindset of being born to rule resulted from the lack of creativity on the parts of leaders but reliance on government as a source of economic value and power.
The first satanic verse for Nigeria was the decision of the British to amalgamate different entities without cognisance of their individual preference. As bad as that was, our leaders tolled the line of regional preference.
They magnify our differences above our common interests. Hence, adopting the Federal Character principle was a regional agenda with no national value. Though it has given an educational advantage to the north that needs it most, it has led all parts of the country backwards and divided. I would have preferred a less education section without religious bigotry than a few educated people amid mass uneducated people.
The leaders who benefited from the initial education wasted the opportunities because they didn’t replicate their education. We have failed our people. The religion we focused on has not saved us. I shared in the first article how Kamal Ataturk abolished the emirate system and made education compulsory for girls in Turkey. Why haven’t our leaders of the same era thought like the father of Turkey?
Our failure to prioritise education in the north is damaging to all of us. One of the reasons the first republic was a wrong foundation for Nigeria was the introduction of political hooliganism across ethnic lines. Our future was being damaged by the preference of all the political leaders to be the regional champions. Thus, there was no national agenda; unfortunately, the region without the requisite education and skills became the leaders and the majority. I am sure a few of our founding fathers regret the decisions and indecisions in the graves. If the result is what leaders are measured with, then all our founding fathers have failed, and there should not be any reason to eulogise any of them. The efforts of one had been destroyed by the idleness of others.
The most pathetic satanic verse was the military’s incursion into our politics. The military damaged the ability of Nigerian political elites to continue negotiating with Nigeria. With the military, power replaced words. Unfortunately, the military has become more corrupt, not civilised, and ethnic and religious oriented. The junta did more damage than the corruption they accused the civilians of.
Read also: Human security is beyond military protection
The discovery of oil was a curse that impoverished Nigeria. Unlike Nigeria, Ghana declared oil as one of the natural resources, not the only one as Nigeria did. We abandoned agriculture for oil. The groundnut pyramid of the north can feed us. Where is it today? The rubber and timber have been destroyed without replacements. Farmers have been taken for granted. The herdsmen were not deployed but ignored. All we did with the oil was to enrich a few people who found themselves close to the corridors of power.
We can list the problems endlessly. The civil war, the annulment of June 12, tribal sentiments in appointments, the lack of adequate development of the Niger Delta region and many more. The Fulani herdsmen’s incursion into other people’s land is more dangerous. That is likely to be the final time bomb to disband Nigeria, except the government decides to change the trend. We want solutions and no more excuses. Nigeria will be better, bigger and more diverse. If the Oyinbos can take our doctors and other professionals and give them citizenship, why can’t we tolerate one another?
And to a few of the solutions. Let’s deal with the root cause and make an example of people who had destroyed the golden opportunities the country gave to them. All the leaders who had not helped us should be removed from our celebration list. We should remove their names on our streets and refrain from referring to them. They are the corrupt men and people who have made erroneous severe decisions for us. One is the annulment of June 12 and the stolen money being repatriated. Imagine what our democracy would have looked like and how the stolen wealth would have helped us in the past.
We must sack the products of our past leaders and elect leaders with visions devoid of religion and ethnicity. We need to empower our people to be educated. Enough of all the illiterates we keep to us as voters and later groomed to become bandits and terrorists.
We need a national rebirth policy. We need to stop believing the lies of politicians consciously. Take a look at some of our leaders. Some have changed political parties like a man changing his undies. Some have contested all elections as if being in an elective position is a live call for them. Yet, we are still reckoning with these parasites.
It is time we take a new look at who we listen to or follow. It is time we give our votes to people of impeccable character who have done well in the past and can resist the influence of the godfathers.
Nigeria ‘go ‘better, not as a slogan but in a peaceful revolution. We need action and forces that can change the narratives of this great country. We need to hold people accountable for their wealth and the opportunity Nigeria is giving them. We need to question the use of our public offices and resources. And above all, we need to relegate the influence of religion in our national and political life. We need to focus on civilisation and development on all fronts.
This can be achieved when there is a paradigm shift between the masses and the leaders. We cannot afford a Nigeria of this situation in the next few years. We need all of us to be involved and be involved beyond politicking.