• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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BusinessDay

The hope of a new Nigeria

Four charts show Nigeria is not a rich country

In 21st-century Nigeria, hope is scarce due to the bleak socio-economic and political conditions, hindering improvement and growth. The recent suicide of a young female banker in Lagos underscores the pervasive despair, with achievable goals becoming impractical. Stressors like unemployment, job loss, and economic challenges contribute to an underreported surge in suicides. Despite the government’s ‘Renewed Hope’ mantra, many Nigerians struggle, questioning the government’s presence in the face of widespread hardship and hopelessness.

Urgently, Nigeria needs a transformative rebirth and renewed hope in the new generation. Outdated elements must be discarded to make way for a new Nigeria. Calls for a complete system overhaul, including the atrophy of politicians, suggest a radical approach for new leaders. The impending emergence of a new Nigeria will involve a fierce battle between those who sold out the nation and foreign powers that have contributed to its impoverishment.

Amidst the economic challenges in Nigeria, with $1 exchanging at ₦1,400 and basic goods unaffordable, hope wanes. Since May 2015, a change initiative led to a decline, marked by economic turmoil and illegality. The Central Bank, tasked with financial stability, contributed to the economic downturn through embezzlement. It is crucial to emphasise hope, restoration, and positive change for the well-being of Nigerians who have endured the consequences of a faltering economy and questionable governance.

In October 1960, Nigeria gained independence, starting its journey to nationhood. The military intervened in July 1966, citing corruption, leading to a prolonged period of military rule from the second to the third republic. Northern dominance and Fulani hegemony characterised military leadership. Although civilian rule briefly returned in 1979, military interventions persisted, driven by leaders’ insatiable desire for wealth, a misconception that continues to affect the political landscape today.

A ‘New Nigeria’ signifies more than hope; it symbolises growth, development, advancement, and improvement across various facets. The envisioned leadership embodies competence, commitment, empathy, and compassion. Unlike merely addressing corruption or insecurity, the vision aims for economic prosperity, social justice, and peaceful co-existence. The upcoming leaders prioritise enhancing lives and fortunes, eschewing self-enrichment through unnecessary bureaucracies for the betterment of all Nigerians.

Regrettably, Nigeria is currently marked by regression, setbacks, and failures, with basic items costing exorbitant amounts. Current issues evoke disillusionment, highlighting the need to address factors like leadership, governance, economy, and social aspects. While various aspects hold potential for improvement, the pervasive notoriety and criminality in governance have silenced progressive voices, dimming the predisposition for positive change among Nigerians.

A new Nigeria doesn’t require international support; it’s the desire of Nigerians for Nigerians. Foreign involvement has led to poverty, corruption, and conflicts. The Police Force is weakened, and soon, the army at checkpoints may be overwhelmed. Leaders in the new Nigeria won’t need to prove integrity; selfless service to the nation will be their priority.

Regrettably, political leadership in Nigeria over the years has been showmanship galore. In the 1970s, after the civil war, when Nigeria descended from a unitary system of government to a federal system, the allocations meant for some regions were shared among key players before getting to the regions. When Yakubu Gowon made Ukpabi Asika the administrator of the Eastern region, the resources meant for the East were shared among the main figures hindering development. It happened during the time of Chris Ngige with the Uba’s unholy trinity. Nyesom Wike is gradually planning the same method in River State by playing the role of political father.

The responsibility of reclaiming Nigeria primarily falls on the youth, with Peter Obi expressing commitment to the vision of a new Nigeria. Despite challenges, he asserts the vision’s eventual realisation. When God gives a vision, darkness may follow, requiring patience. It is not a matter of common sense; one must trust in divine timing. The civil society’s role is crucial, but empowering the youth for active participation is essential in securing a better future.

Despite apparent hopelessness, the vision of a new Nigeria remains steadfast, urging those perpetuating doom to reassess. It promises renewal, revival, restoration, and comfort for all citizens. Unconcerned with comparisons or blame games, the vision stands alone. Drawing parallels with developed nations like Singapore, Malaysia, India, or China proves incongruent. The history of Egypt, once a centre of civilization, serves as a cautionary tale, emphasising the urgency for Nigeria’s transformation and departure from a troubled past.

Reflecting on our political leaders’ foolishness and recklessness, it’s puzzling how we admire them for bringing the nation to its current state, reminiscent of the Titanic’s captain and crew. Despite the Atiku, Kwankwaso, and Obi merger hinting at progress, some may not witness a new Nigeria. Fears should not dominate us; a self-defeatist mindset is unwarranted. While today’s Nigeria stifles hope, the envisioned new Nigeria promises youth development and productivity, steering away from the current leadership’s shortcomings.

Finally, let’s not lose hope. We must keep hope alive by participating in civil matters that would usher in a new Nigeria. Renewing the face of hardship, and suffering gives no hope to Nigerians rather the emergence of a new Nigeria will bring solace, and succour to many wounded hearts.