Football had failed to bail us out this time. The unimpressive Nigeria under-20 team crashed out of the FIFA tournament on Sunday. Having defeated the host in the round of sixteen, one would have expected more vigour and intentionality from the Ladan Boso’s team. Rather we saw a team with no desire to go beyond the quarterfinals.
One of the things that quelled the June 12 agitation was the FIFA world cup in 1994. Nigerians are always divided on all fronts except football. Unfortunately, the U20 team could not rally us together in unison and stem the tide of the looming NLC strike and the crisis created by the removal of the fuel subsidy. Should Labour be fighting for subsidy or something more substantial?
Unlike in 2012, when Oga Jona wanted to remove the fuel subsidy, the average Nigerian is more aware going by the support of the Northern Elders and those interviewed on the state of the nation. I saw people supporting the President’s pronouncement to remove subsidies despite the hardship it has created. We should give Lamido Sanusi and Ngozi Iweala kudus for being the apostles of subsidy removal.
President Tinubu said we could get to where we are going as a country if we are ready to do the needful. What is the needful for a prosperous Nigeria?
Their messages as messengers under Jonathan Goodluck have sunk into people’s sub consciousness. The subsidy is making a few rich people in the industry richer to the detriment of the majority. One will also wonder why Oga Buhari didn’t do the needful for eight years and allow the corruption of subsidies to live, wine and dine with him. O mase (what a pity!) The apostle of anti-corruption couldn’t deal with the most apparent corruption in eight years of the sit down and look government. Let’s leave the appraisal of Buhari till another day.
Buhari is gone, with the good, the bad and the legacy. I will return to write my views on the eight years of ‘Baba go slow’. Time will tell if APC has moved from go slow era to move fast network, as noticed with the Tinubu prompt subsidy removal. Where is the appointment list? Abi, we go wait for six months again.
Nigeria is undoubtedly a giant elephant, more prominent than the usual one. We have a multitude of elephants, six different ones combined as one big elephant made by the British. The marriage of convenience was a premonition for embracing diversity when the world wasn’t a global village yet.
Therefore, our work as Nigerians is not to look back in regrets but to find how the marriage will work and how the big elephant will take steps forward and more forward than backward and ultimately dance to the tune and music of the current reality.
The important artefacts of our country are our population and its composition. The youthfulness of our demography is both an opportunity and a challenge. The young people must be provided with work and a sensible atmosphere to strive. Otherwise, they would channel their energies into something else, including fighting the rich and fighting based on our faultiness- religion, ethnicity, and tribal sentiments.
The story of IBM cannot be taken away from my headline. IBM was the largest corporation in America and ran into troubled waters in 1993. It was the most profitable in 1990, and by 1993, it was given only a 20 per cent chance of surviving due to changes in the industry and the world of computing generally. The largest corporation in America, like Nigeria, found itself on the verge of bankruptcy and liquidation.
Louis Gerstner was the CEO and turned the company around in five years. At the end of his tenor, Louis changed the story of IBM and documented his sojourn at IBM in a book tiled-who says the elephants can’t dance.
Nigeria is on her knees as a country. Our divided, economically grounded, and structurally deficient country cries for leadership help. We have six big elephants known as the South-west, south-east, south-south, North-west, north-east, and north-central.
We have the biggest of the elephants, known as the Federal Government in Abuja, where contracts and money are shared with less concern for people and even development among the constituent nations. We have many smaller elephants as states and local governments, closer to the people wanting them to dance and fulfil their purposes. The job of the elephants is to dance irrespective of size and position.
The elephant is created to dance the dance of safety, security, amenities, and coordination of the economic and political activities of resilient people desiring to make things happen. Every year, everyone riding the local elephant wants to be the big Abuja elephant. There Abuja elephant is where power lies, and money is shared irrespective of the state and conditions of the local elephants.
We have developed a culture where even the most critical people craving equity and development are saliently seeking to join the elephants, especially in Abuja. We have more individuals who are fifth columnists, and national interests have been subjugated for personal interests. Our leaders are all tuning in and listening to WIIIFM-what is in it for me?
In his second week, President Tinubu said we could get to where we are going as a country if we are ready to do the needful. What is the needful for a prosperous Nigeria?
He has removed the fuel subsidy. And Labour has pronounced a strike of calumny against its people. Would Labour prefer the continuous enrichment of the subsidy cabals against the development of the people?
The elephants can dance if we all focus on ensuring what is required is done, irrespective of the temporary pain. Labour as an elephant should focus on how workers will not suffer more than necessary. The increment in wages, the accountability of the subsidy removed and the probing of the past fraudulent enrichment of the subsidy cabals should be paramount for the Labour leadership.
To the new government, it is enough to generate more revenue through subsidy removal. The institutions that will guarantee the proper usage of the removed subsidy funds, accountability and even development among the regions and people is a dance that must be danced.
The new administration must brace itself to reverse the damage done to the economy and security of the country in the last decades, especially the last eight years. As a country, we must negotiate our family ties with the country’s restructuring in terms of power, distribution of resources and how the opportunities are being allocated.
We must recognise the rights of the farmers as well as encourage the herders to adopt a new way of rearing their animals without killing innocent landowners. Thus, equity and fairness are fundamental.
Nigeria’s elephants can dance. It only requires the elephant owners and holders to turn away from the norms and be sacrificial in their approach to things. We need more accountability at all levels.
For us to reverse the current trends, our political officeholders must focus on people rather than their positions. The political parties must make accountability their watchword, whether as the power holders or the opposition parties. They must focus on the country’s development and peaceful co-existence rather than the next election. Nigeria’s elephants can dance if we do things differently at all levels for history to be kind to people leading this era.