Nigeria’s Centenary: Celebration or time for Critical Examination?

Published:27 Feb, 2013

Nigeria has embarked on the celebration of its 100 years of existence. Wait a minute; must we celebrate? Do we have success stories which should spur celebration or should this provide an opportunity for introspection — to think through our challenges and possibly proffer solutions to them? Should we celebrate just because of the number of years we have been together as a nation? If Nigeria rolls out the drums to celebrate 100 years and the major achievement is that we have managed to stay together, survived a civil war and possibly retreated at the last minute from many cliff hangers that should have scattered the nation during military rule, then we really have no need to celebrate.

What should we be doing as a nation as we mark 100 years of nationhood? It is to dispassionately and critically examine the journey so far and on an imaginary scale count our successes, achievements, challenges and failures and think through which side weighs more. We should not shy away from doing some form of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis and examination on Nigeria. This examination will provide us the opportunity to interrogate our challenges and failures and why we have been unable to overcome our challenges. It will also identify the critical success factors that led to achievements so far recorded. In identifying the drawbacks, the interrogation will come forward with ideas on how to overcome challenges, accentuate, replicate and intensify the critical success factors so that our scale of achievements will outweigh our challenges and setbacks.

At 100, both the leadership and the led are in agreement that we are not happy with our situation and our level of development. We are not where we are supposed to be as a nation. Admittedly, we spent the first 44 years under colonial rule but we are no exception in the comity of nations because other countries also experienced the same colonialism. Our peers have mechanised their agriculture and are able to feed themselves; started the production of industrial goods and machinery for local consumption and for export; enhanced and improved their health and education services; organised their societies in a way that responds to the needs of their people and are enjoying relative peace and stability. Some of our peers have even broken the atom and started journeys into space. How did they achieve their feats and leave us behind? This is a question that needs to be answered by the centenary celebration.

If we are not at the same level with our peers, the implication is that we are going in the wrong direction and doing the wrong things. Then, it means there is something fundamentally wrong with our governance, economic, political, and social value system that delivers sub-optimal results. Alternatively, there is something fundamentally wrong with the players in the field. The coach may have devised a good and winning strategy but the players have failed to play to the coach’s specific instructions. Within this context and whatever is identified as the reason(s) for our poor performance, we cannot doubt the need for a change of direction, systemic change and change in personnel in our governance architecture. Indeed, Nigeria is in dire need of renewal.

How do we effect this examination, introspection and renewal? This is the major challenge for the celebration. Everyone agrees that we are going in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, those who currently find themselves in the corridors of power believe that more of the same medicine they are serving us will eventually cure our ill-health. But there is no empirical evidence that things are getting better which will lead us to hope that after sometime, we will actually take our place in the comity of nations. Thus, the current leadership and those before them cannot but be wrong and are merely being selfish because of the pot of jam which they are presiding or had presided over. The current leadership is averse to an interrogation of the reasons why we have performed poorly. They want the status quo to continue. Yes, they want a President who is almighty and accountable to no one; a legislature which is law unto itself – enacts laws and breaks the laws; a judiciary where judges set guilty men free on technicalities or give them a slap on the wrist judgments. The current leadership want to continue ruling us in turns employing ethnic, religious, zonal and outdated cleavages. There is nothing on offer in terms of new ideas, philosophies and ideals and there are no credible solutions in sight to the myriad of our national problems.

Despite the foregoing, we still have a Presidential spokesman, Doyin Okupe, who will abuse an elder statesman and foremost constitutional lawyer Professor Ben Nwabueze and describe him as unpatriotic simply because he stated the obvious that Nigeria is sliding into a failed state.  According to Okupe, Nigeria’s democracy is in its infancy and we have credible institutions. Let me ask Okupe: How many years does it take to exit the infancy stage? What are the indicators that your credible democratic institutions are working and delivering value for money? Is there a day that goes without reports of killing of defenceless Nigerians by armed groups challenging the authority of the state? With the assurances given by the President, has our security situation improved? How much have we lost to corruption in the last 12 months? Is the amount lost to corruption in the last 12 months not higher than our national budget? How many new megawatts of electricity have we added to the grid in the last 10 years, for instance? How many kilometres of roads were fixed in the last three years? Indeed, can the Jonathan administration give a good account of the resources entrusted to it for the benefit of the vast majority of Nigerians? The system is not working and cannot work and no amount of abuses on patriotic elders who have seen the hand writing on the wall will change the facts as they are.

Back to the question of how to effect the renewal and interrogation that will lead to the design of a new and functional system, we cannot run away from a conference, a discussion of the Nigerian people convened solely for the purpose of proposing a model that will solve our problems and whose decisions will be subject to ratification by the people. This will provide us the opportunity to interrogate what has gone wrong and why it went wrong. It only takes a mad man to continue repeating the same experiment without changing any of the variables and yet expects different results on each occasion. Continuing with the current system will amount to digging deeper when you are inside a hole and looking for a way to climb out.

Yes, do we need to celebrate or critically examine what has gone wrong? If we want to change the system and reposition it towards development which will guarantee individual and national fulfillment, then we need a critical examination. Formulation of new strategies and re-orientation of our values are also imperative.

 

Eze Onyekpere (censoj@gmail.com)

Read original article via Punch

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Buhari Assures Children Of Better Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with all Nigerian children on the occasion of this year’s Children’s Day celebration, reassuring them his administration remained fully committed to fulfilling its promise of a better Nigeria. The president, in his Children's Day message to the nation yesterday, said it was a thing of joy that on the occasion, the country could also celebrate the safe return of one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, Amina Ali Nkeki and many other abducted...

Metuh Wrote EFCC, Ready To Return N400m – Counsel

The immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh’s lead defence counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), has said his client has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that he is willing to return the N400m he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser in November, 2014. Metuh is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly receiving the money, which the prosecution alleged was collected from the...

No Group Will Illegally Occupy Nigerian Communities Under My Watch- Arase

Solomon Arase, the Inspector-General of Police, on Thursday assured that no group will overrun the country or illegally occupy any part of it under his watch as the chief police officer. Mr. Arase gave the assurance in Abuja at a public hearing on the influx of herdsmen to Benue, organised by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Police Affairs. He said the Nigeria Police Force have so far arrested 18 people in connection with the...

CAF Bans Giwa, 4 Others For 5 Years

Confederation of African Football, CAF, has slammed a five-year ban on embattled Chris Giwa and four four of his disciples thereby confirming and extending the same five-year ban placed on them by the Amaju Pinnick- led Nigeria Football Federation. The four others affected by the continental ban are Muazu Suleyman, Yahaya Adama, Sani Fema and Johnson Effiong. In a letter signed by CAF’s Secretary-General, Hicham El Amrani and dated May 27th 2016 and copied to NFF’s...

Entering Second Year, Buhari Faces Economic Turbulence

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari marks one year in office on Sunday, after 12 months dominated by efforts to end the brutal Boko Haram conflict and tackle endemic corruption. But as he enters his second year, the fallout from the nearly two-year slump in global oil prices has left the country facing economic meltdown, as potentially dangerous new security threats emerge. “There is a major challenge to get the economy reactivated, stimulated and boosted,” economist Bismarck...

Ese Oruru, Alleged Abducted Girl, Delivered Of Baby Girl

Ese Oruru, the teenager who was allegedly abducted and impregnated by Yunusa Dahiru, a Kano indigene, has been delivered of a baby girl in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. Her baby came on Thursday about 10.15 am at the Government House Clinic in the state capital. Her elated father, Charles Oruru, confirmed yesterday that the girl, who was in Junior Secondary School...

Herdsmen Attack: Police To Train Neighbourhood Watch Outfits In Enugu

The Enugu State Police Command has concluded arrangements to train neighbourhood watch security outfits in communities in the state. The plan is a fallout of the attack on Ukpabi Nimbo community by suspected Fulani herdsmen on April 25. Although some communities in the state already had neighbourhood watch units, a decision to set up the outfit in all the towns in the state was the major outcome of a stakeholders meeting convened by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi after the Ukpabi Nimbo attack. The...

EFCC Re-Arraigns Ajudua For $8.4m Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday re-arraigned an alleged serial fraudster, Fred Ajudua, for an alleged fraud of $8.4m.   Ajudua was accused of swindling the complainant, a former Chief of Army, Staff Lt Col. Ishaya Bamaiyi, of the sum sometime in 2004 at Kirikiri Prisons in Lagos.His re-arraignment on Thursday followed the transfer of his case from Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja to Justice Kudirat Jose of the same court. The amended charge...

FG To Assist Communities Reclaim Lands Damaged By Mining Activities

The Federal Government says it has made provisions in the 2016 budget to help communities reclaim lands damaged through open cast mining. The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja. According to him, the ministry has a law that gives conditions for environmental complaints.   ``Talking specifically about the conditions in places like Jos and Enugu if you look our budget this year, you will see specific allocation for reclamation...

Military Pensions Board To Complete Payment Of 33% Increment Arrears To Pensioners By 2017

The Military Pensions Board (MPB) says payment of 33 per cent increment arrears owed military pensioners since 2010 will be completed by the end of 2017. The Chairman of the Board, Air Vice-Marshal Muhammad Dabo, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday. He said the administration of Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the welfare of Nigerian military pensioners and had been fully supportive of the board’s activities in the past one year.   ``There...

Army Acquires Vehicles To Enhance Communication

The Nigerian Army has acquired six vehicles to enhance communication in its fight against insurgency in the North-East. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the vehicles were inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, during his visit to Lagos on Wednesday. Buratai said the vehicles, procured by the Army Signal Corps, would be deployed to help in prosecuting the fight against insurgency in the North- East. ``We are still pursuing the terrorists and we will continue...

FG Constitutes Committee To Address Demands Of Organised Labour

The Federal Government on Wednesday constituted a 16-man committee to address issues that necessitated the three-day strike called by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) after the fuel pump price hike. Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this in Abuja after a meeting of the Federal Government delegation with the organised labour. He said that the meeting was called to work out modalities on ways to resolve the issues raised by the organised labour. ``I am...

Former PDP NWC Members Endorse Constitution of Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee

Members of the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have endorsed their dissolution and other decisions taken at the party’s National Convention held in Port Harcourt. This is contained in a statement jointly signed by the immediate past Deputy National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus and six others. The statement stated that in the absence of the then National Chairman of the Party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, Secondus presided over the...

Agunloye Advises FG To Fight Corruption In Power Sector

Former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr Olu Agunloye, on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to address corruption in the power sector. Agunloye gave the advice during a chat with newsmen in Abuja. He had purchased Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the Ondo gubernatorial election on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP). According to him, electricity generation is not rocket science and tackling corruption in the sector will ensure stable power supply across the country. ``When I was minister of...

FAAC: FG Recovers N1.5 bn, Shares N281.5bn To 3 Tiers Of Government

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said in Abuja on Wednesday that N1.5 billion, being excess bank charges, was recovered and paid into the Federation Account. Adeosun announced this while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting. She said this was done by a consortium of consultants for the Federation Account and that the money was proposed for distribution. She also said that N281.5 billion was shared among the federal, states and local governments as...

Army Renews Call On Boko Haram Fighters To Surrender

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday renewed calls on repentant Boko Haram fighters wishing to surrender to do so without wasting more time. Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, made the call while speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) Nursery School and a Day Care Centre at the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri. Irabor said that those who failed to surrender would pay the price for being stubborn. He added that ``I will like...

5 Herdsmen Arrested Over Enugu Massacre

The Police Force Head­quarters in Abuja, have announced the arrest of the masterminds and perpetrators of Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State on April, 25, 2016. The attack led to the death of several persons and destruction of prop­erty valued at millions of naira The attackers compris­ing a five-member-gang were arrested by op­eratives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT). The suspects were found with one...

Economy In Volatile Situation- Buhari

Nigeria’s economy is currently in a volatile situation due to the crash in oil prices, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. The president’s remark came at a time when oil price yesterday rose to nearly $50 a barrel, even though Nigerian will earn less from the boom due to drop in production in recent times.  Buhari spoke yesterday at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja at a farewell audience with Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria,...

Reps Order Halt Of Refineries Privatization

The House of Representatives Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop its planned privatization of the nation’s refineries or joint investment ventures with some multinationals. The committee’s chairman, Hon. Ahmed Yerima (APC, Bauchi), who gave the order yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session with the managements of the NNPC and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the planned privatization of three  refineries in the country, said the...

$200 Billion Loot: EFCC Raids Dubai Firm’s Office In Abuja

As part of the ongoing probe of the laundering of over $200billion loot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by former political office holders, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) yesterday stormed the office of a Dubai property firm, The First Group Company,  in Abuja. The company is also being investigated for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians by luring them to invest in real estate in Dubai. A prominent Nigerian lost about...

Dana Air Pilots Go On Strike, Passengers Stranded

Dana Air pilots have gone on strike in protest of the non-payment of their salaries, grounding the airline’s operations and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded nationwide. “The strike started this morning and passengers that were supposed to travel this morning are stranded,” a source at the airport said. According to the source, the airline had continued to sell tickets to passengers earlier today in the hope that the dispute would be resolved.