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

‘Consider South East In Your Appointments’ – Okorocha Appeals To Buhari

Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has appealed to President Buhari to consider the people of the South East in his appointments. According to Vanguard, Governor Okorocha made the appeal during a meeting with selected stakeholders in the state over the weekend "What I can only do is to continue to appeal to the president to consider the South-East in his appointments. And as far as I am concerned, the president had executed what the office empowers him to do,...

Ohanaeze appeals to Ndigbo for calm over skewed appointments

Following the outrageous outcries that have greeted the recent appointments made by President Muhammad Buhari, Secretary General,apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, has called on Ndigbo to remain calm in the present circumstance of unexplainable and skewed pattern of appointments which has completely excluded Ndigbo from key strategic positions in the Federal Government. Speaking with Journalists in Enugu, Monday, against the backdrop of the appointment of principal officers in the presidency and Secretary to the Government of...

P-Square brothers narrowly escape death in auto crash

Peter and Paul Okoye of the popular pop duo, Psquare, narrowly escaped death on Sunday after a ghastly auto-crash along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Sensational R&B duo, suffered a crash in their ox-blood coloured Range Rover Sport Jeep on their way back from a concert staged in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. Peter Okoye who took to Instagram, narrated that an oncoming lorry bashed their car as they were returning from a show alongside their assistant manager and lead drummer, Papi...

Nigerian woman among 10 killed in Saudi fire

An unnamed Nigerian woman, three Canadians and one Pakistani, were among the 10 people killed in a fire outbreak at a residential complex rented by oil giant, Saudi Aramco over the weekend as reported by Saudi authorities.   According to the report, the fire resulted from an electric shock circuit in the underground park where 130 cars were parked. It is believed that about 35 vehicles were completely destroyed by the fire.   The civil defense confirmed that 259 people were wounded but 179...

Buhari Congratulates D’Tigers For Winning African Basketball Championship

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, on their victory over Angola in Sunday’s final of the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship in Tunisia. In a statement on Monday, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the President has assured that his administration will give the team and Nigeria’s other representatives at the next year’s Olympic Games, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the fullest possible support to ensure that they are well prepared to excel against the...

Nigeria Police Force reduces governors’ security detail from 150 to 62

The Nigeria Police has reduced the number of security detail attached to Governors in obedience to the admonition of President Muhammadu Buhari for it to prune down the number of personnel attached to VIPs.   This followed the reorganisation of the functions of police officers and men, which has led to police security attached to the governors being reduced to a maximum of 62 men – which is a unit – from the 150 policemen which some governors used to have...

Tyga Features Kylie Jenner In New Music Video, Kissing Scene Confirms It’s Official

Tyga has just dropped the music video for his new song "Stimulated," and oh, look, it serves as another ~official~ confirmation that he and Kylie Jenner are coupled up. Watch video below... https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=196&v=X8AurWRkRpo

Former Governor Akpabio involved in auto crash after disobeying traffic light

Former governor of Akwa Ibom state,  Godswill Akpabio on Monday morning escaped death narrowly after his car got involved in an accident along the Airport Road in Abuja, having violated traffic law.   An eye witness narrated that the Senate Minority Leader, was moving in a motorcade towards the City Gate when his vehicle ran into another car near the Bolingo Junction close to the Ship House.   “My wife and I were coming from the NNPC Mega Station and we stopped at...

Kanye West Declares 2020 Presidential Bid

Kanye West says he's planning to run for president in 2020. In a candid and at times heartfelt acceptance speech at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the rapper concluded his remarks by announcing a presidential bid for the election five years from now. "I don't know what I finna lose after this. It don't matter, though; It's not about me. It's about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People...

Femi Adesina, others sworn in

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has been sworn in today, 31st August, 2015, by President Muhammadu Buhari, a few weeks after his appointment was announced.   Others sworn in at the event included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal; and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen....

Amber Rose & Blac Chyna Make Bold Statements At The VMAs

Leave it to none other than Amber Rose and Blac Chyna to show up at the 2015 VMAs with choice words emblazoned on their outfits. The models-turned-entrepreneurs strutted down the red carpet with "golddigger," "stripper," "slut" and other racy terms painted all over their nude ensembles to promote Rose's upcoming Slut Walk in Los Angeles, California this October. While Rose revealed that she and her bestie have both been called these names, here they are taking back control with bold...

Watch How Nicki Minaj Almost Started A Fight With Miley Cyrus On The VMAs’ Stage

While accepting the award for Best Hip-Hop Video at tonight's MTV Video Music Awards, Nicki Minaj held host Miley Cyrus accountable for comments she made in an interview. Watch video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YAR1yxUh7o Credit: HollywoodScoop/ YouTube

Fayose apprehends over 30 civil servants for lateness

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, apprehended over 30 civil servants who came late to work on Monday. The Governor arrived the state Secretariat at 8:00am today to the surprise of the state workers. Many of the civil servants on sighting the Governor scampered around to avoid being apprehended.   Fayose has directed that a disciplinary committee be set up to try...

MTV VMAs 2015 Winners, See Full List

Here is the full list of winners from the 2015 MTV VMAs (winners in bold/ Italics): BEST FEMALE VIDEO Beyoncé – "7/11? Taylor Swift – "Blank Space" Nicki Minaj – "Anaconda" Sia – "Elastic Heart" Ellie Goulding – "Love Me Like You Do" BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO Fetty Wap – "Trap Queen" Nicki Minaj – "Anaconda" Kendrick Lamar – "Alright" Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – "See You Again" Big Sean ft. E-40 – "I Don’t F–k With You" BEST MALE VIDEO Ed Sheeran...

Chibok Girls Narrate Life In America

Emmanuel Ogebe, a U.S.-based Nigerian human rights lawyer collaborated with a couple in Nigeria to help bring some Chibok schoolgirls who had escaped from Boko Haram to the United States. Boko Haram kidnapped Lily and 275 other schoolgirls one night in April 2014. In a remote town in northeastern Nigeria, the radical fighters grabbed Lily and the others as they slept inside the local high school’s dormitory. They stuffed them into trucks and drove off into...

Boluwatife Adekunle: What Are The Sins Of Home Less Nigerians (The IDPs)

It’s one of such days where it would seem the writer of this article woke up to a rather sobering morning. I couldn’t help but ask again the very question I am sure many concerned Nigerians home and abroad have asked on numerous occasions.  And naturally it’s almost sounding like rhetoric. Nonetheless, I believe as a people we must continue to scream and overwork our voice until the deaf finally get the message. I understand several...

Police Foils Sea Pirates’ Attack In Bayelsa

Bayelsa Police Command yesterday said its Marine Division in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state had repelled an attack by sea pirates on a passenger boat in the area. Mr. Asinim Butswat, an ASP and spokesman of the Command, said in a statement that the attack occurred on August 28 at Gina-Gbene area of Southern Ijaw. According to the spokesman, an AK-47 assault rifle and live ammunition were recovered from the pirates who...

Buhari Set To Swear In SGF, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari is set to swear in the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal. The event which would be held at the presidential villa, Abuja any time soon will also include other newly appointed presidential aides. President last week Thursday, appointed Babachir David Lawal as Chief of Staff to the President; Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) as new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi,...

Low: Germany Less Reliant On Schweinsteiger Now

The 55-year-old boss believes he no longer needs to start the Manchester United midfielder in every game, while he is already laying plans to defend the World Cup in 2018   Germany boss Joachim Low has suggested he will use captain Bastian Schweinsteiger sparingly over the coming years amid concerns over the midfielder's...

ISIS Shows New Gold/Silver Coins In New Video

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has come out with plans to mint its own gold and silver coins,which it reveals in its latest video, entitled: "The Rise of the Khilafah and the Return of the Gold Dinar.” The hour-long video, released on Saturday, which ISIS narrated in English but subtitled in Arabic, began with an extensive analysis on “the capitalist financial system of enslavement, underpinned by a piece of paper called the Federal...

Sola Ajibola: The Case For Youth Inclusion in Top Government Positions In Nigeria

To many Nigerians, 'Change' has finally come and to some others, every move by the new government must be critiqued. The overall interest of Nigerians is priority and as such, it is important that we do not take the usual route of praise singing or blind criticism of the current administration, but point out salient issues that have held the nation bound for years. The general elections has come and gone, but it is safe to say the campaign...