Now That Change Has Come
Nigeria is such an interesting country that a day outside it is like an eternity, at least that is the feeling I get whenever I am away for a few days or weeks. Recently, I was out for about a month and while I was away I followed with keen interest developments in the polity; APC “National Assembly” crisis, renewed insurgency, states’ economic melt-down, Buhari’s delayed appointments and so on and so forth. Let me start by saying that in as much as I do not claim to have solutions to all the problems, Nigeria’s problem is more systemic and attitudinal in nature. I am not too young neither am I very old but in my about four decades of existence I have seen a lot and I have also learned a lot. I have said it at different fora where I have been privileged to discuss national issues that the current state of the nation is far from sustainable. We are like a set of people that know what is right but refuse to do it, we talk so much about the ideal nation but not ready to make the sacrifice needed to build the nation.
Delayed Ministerial Appointments
I saw the “Snail Baba” cartoon which surfaced as a result of Nigerians reaction to President Muhamadu Buhari’s perceived slow movement since assuming office, It was hilarious and somehow indicative of the mindset of an average Nigerian who expect a quick fix for everything, live for today and leave tomorrow to take care of itself.
This may be very unpopular but I believe in a slow but defined, calculated and sustainable start rather than an uncontrolled speedy take off that lacks direction. For the purpose of this exercise let’s look at the Nigerian state as a project which it is. For any project manager to take over any project and to be successful, he needs to his take time to study the project charter and if available the lesson learned documents and other organizational process assets. In a nation where the government is supposed to be continuum but sadly has not, the Buhari regime took delivery of the previous government’s hand over note few days to hand over and we expect the new government to hit the ground running, to where? Even if you have the best team of engineers in the world, with the best engineering designs and plans, no project manager will kick off a project without defining the scope of the project and the risks and the resources available for the project success, which is exactly what I believe is going on. The truth be told, there is no quick fix to the hydra head problems we face as a nation, at the end of this process we need to evolve a system that works irrespective of whoever is the President, Governor or Local Government Chairman so that there are accountability and visibility across the board.
States’ Economic Meltdown
The present state of the nation is a clear indication of how we as a people have deliberately run down every system and processes for personal and immediate success and yet when we go abroad we conform and admire the systems that were built and maintained over decades. Nigerians are well traveled, if not the most traveled but we refuse to learn lessons. For example, every state in UK or US is self-sustaining, takes care of it business, pay workers and provide basic amenities for its citizens from the proceeds of its IGR. But what do Nigerian governors do? Go to Abuja monthly to share money from the federal revenue, even though every state is blessed with natural resources only very few states are viable and sustainable because the Chief Executives have refused to be creative. The states as a matter of urgency need to devise means of generating incomes, reduce recurrent expenditure, initiate income generating capital projects and attract investments to their states.
APC (National Assembly) Crisis
As for the APC, it was obvious to every discerning mind and keen observers to have foreseen a disaster. The APC was a project with several stakeholders with the sole purpose of dislodging the PDP, and instituting “Change” however, for every project that has business benefits there are equal risks, and for every stakeholder, there is an expectation. It is obvious that the party focused more on the opportunities that the different stakeholders bring, most especially the “New PDP” as against their risks. The undefined and unmanaged expectations led to the crisis within the party evident in the result of the National Assembly elections. The party needs to manage its diverse interests and properly balance power amongst its stakeholders.
Resurgence of Terror
Lastly, the insecure state of the nation is of great concern not only to the citizen but also to foreigners seeking to do business in Nigeria. There can never be development without security. Truth be told, there is a total system collapse, from military who we gathered were unequipped to the police whose welfare is nothing to write home about and have resulted to bribery and harassments for survival, talk less of the Intelligence Agencies and the Secret Service that have been politicized and compromised to Economic and Financial Crime Officers who have resulted to negotiating percentages of loot for freedom. The level of decadence is so awful that immediately you step into the country you can almost see greed on the faces of the Immigration and Customs Officers who are ready to compromise once you are willing to “drop something”.
My take is simple, we can complain from now till eternity and nothing will happen until we as a people are ready to change while the government institute a monitoring and controlling (checking) mechanism in all sectors that checks the activities of public servants and most especially the law enforcement officers. An average British or American law enforcement officer would have been worse than his Nigerian counterpart but guess what the system makes it difficult to do so and when you do you risk been caught and when you are caught you serve the punishment. But in a situation where the law officer is law himself and there is so much impunity, then a crime is lucrative.
Going forward we should start naming and shaming all those that have impoverished Nigerians and turned our national resources to personal estates. We should strengthen the systems, not the individuals, eliminate mediocrity and reward merits. Until there is an equitable society, there can never be the advancement and until we change ourselves as a people, there can never be real CHANGE.
GOD BLESS NIGERIA!