• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Africa’s giant still in dire need of visionary leadership

In the course of Nigeria’s 54 years of independence, the nation’s resilience has been put to test by an early political crisis, military intervention in politics, a civil war, intense ethnic politics, widespread political and bureaucratic corruption, and rabble-rousing fundamentalist insurgency.

Yet these nation-building challenges, not in any way peculiar to Nigeria’s evolution, are not enough to demand the break-up of a country that in all ramifications is imbued with all it takes to stand tall as a leader in the comity of nations.

In an era when nation-states are coalescing to form bigger blocs for economic and political value, the direct and indirect calls for Nigeria’s break-up are hasty and not well thought-out.

Population and size are assets and drivers of economic and political strength. The huge populations of countries like China, the United States of America, Brazil and India have been the basis for their industrial growth.

It is true that the current wave of fundamentalist insurgency across the northeast region of Nigeria is an emerging threat to nationhood, but such threats are not unprecedented in the history of nations. What is required is an overriding unity of purpose among the leadership class and this rabble-rousing phenomenon will be overcome.

Nigeria is a prototype of a great country in wait for true and visionary leadership. Fifty-four years in the history of nations is but a minor span of time. The missing link is leadership. True leadership can only emerge if Nigerians begin to make demands of the political class, scrutinising them and holding them to account at all times.

Ikenna Obi

See inside for full ‘Nigeria is 54’ Special Report