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

Pray For Better Nigeria, Buhari Tells Clerics

President Muhammadu Buhari charged Islamic clerics to intensify prayers for a better and progressive Nigeria. He made the call during breaking of Ramadan fast with religious leaders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Recalling his last meeting with the scholars during the last Ramadan period in 2015 and similar meetings with Christian clerics before the Ramadan period, the President said the meetings were useful and meaningful as various developmental ideas were offered on how best to...

Firebomb Attack Outside Australian Mosque

Firebomb attack outside an Australian mosque while worshippers were at prayer was condemned Wednesday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with one Islamic leader calling it a “hate crime”. No one was injured in Tuesday night’s blast which destroyed a car parked outside a mosque and Islamic college in the Perth suburb of Thornlie. “It is believed an accelerant was used to start the fire,” Western Australian police said in a statement, adding that three other...

Police Arrest 10 Boko Haram Suspects In Zaria

No fewer than 10 suspected Boko Haram members who reportedly fled Sambisa Forest in Borno State have been arrested by the Nigerian Police Force in Dogarawa area of Sabon Gari, Zaria. Some good Samaritans volunteered information to us on the activities of the suspects. We immediately mobilised with about 100 mobile police and we successfully surrounded the house the suspects were living in. We were able to apprehend them and they are in our...

Hotel Operators Decry High Electricity Tariff

Hotel operators in Rivers State yesterday called on the management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to stop supplying electricity to their hotels. The operators, who made the demand when they met with a delegation of PHEDC, led by its chief executive officer, Mr Jay McCoskey, in Port Harcourt, said they were not comfortable with the outrageous bills from the power distribution company. Speaking on behalf of the hotel operators, chairman of Nigeria...

Frozen Account: Fayose Drags EFCC To Court

Governor Ayodele Fayose has dragged Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and a second generation bank before a Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti over freezing of his personal bank accounts. The court has ordered the anti-graft commission and the bank to show cause why an Order Exparte to unfreeze the governor’s accounts, submitted yesterday by the Fayose’s legal team, should not be upheld. The judge gave Monday, July 4 for the EFCC and the bank to appear in...

First Foreign Victims Confirmed In Istanbul Blasts

An Iranian and a Ukrainian have been confirmed as the first foreign victims in the Istanbul airport suicide attack, a Turkish official said Wednesday. “I confirm one Iranian and one Ukrainian national have been killed in yesterday’s terror attack,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. At least 36 people died in Tuesday night’s triple suicide bombing at Ataturk airport, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early Wednesday. Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister...

Why Buhari Ordered Arrest Of Close Ally & Arms Panel Member

President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the arrest of a key member of the panel investigating the mismanagement of public funds meant for the war against Boko Haram after receiving damning reports that he was involved in alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms, reliable security and presidency sources have said. Despite being his close ally and loyalist, Mr. Buhari okayed the arrest of Mohammed Umar, after perusing reports alleging that the retired Air Force officer ran...

EU Meets Without Britain For First Time Since Brexit Vote

European Union leaders will Wednesday assess the damage from Britain’s decision to leave the bloc and try to prevent further disintegration, as they meet for the first time without a British representative. And as the shockwaves reverberate around British politics, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also expected in Brussels “utterly determined” to keep her pro-EU country in the club despite the Brexit vote. Five days after Britain voted by 52 to 48 percent to...

Woman Burns Boy’s Genitals For Stealing N100

The police in Lagos State have arrested a woman identified simply as Saratu, for allegedly burning the private parts of her seven-year-old nephew, Razak Qudus. It was learnt that Saratu allegedly burnt the boy’s private parts with a stove after he was accused of stealing N100. A reporter learnt that the victim, who is a primary four pupil in a private school, lived with the suspect in the Afariogun, Oshodi area of the...

Ekweremadu Writes Int’l Community, Says Buhari Wants To Silence Him

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has written to the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and governments of the United States and United Kingdom, alleging attempts by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to truncate Nigeria’s democracy. Also copied in the letter were the United States Congress and European Union (EU) Parliament. This is just as the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami is expected to appear before the Senate Committee...

Meet 35 Year-Old Entrepreneur Who Owns Nigeria’s 2nd Largest Rice Farm

Nigerians consume more than 5 million metric tons of rice every year, with a significant portion of its consumption needs sourced from imports. Rotimi Williams, an ambitious 35 year-old Nigerian entrepreneur and rice farmer, is on a quest to change that. Williams, a former Journalist, is the owner of Kereksuk Rice Farm, the 2nd largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria by land size. His farm, which is situated in Nasarawa state in northern Nigeria, currently sits...

UN Releases $13m For Life-saving Assistance To 250,000 People In North-east

The United Nations on Monday released 13 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving assistance to 250,000 people in the North-east area of Nigeria. Mr Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, issued the release. According to the UN, the destruction of crops and looting of livestock have left many people unable to support their families. “No fewer than 50,000 people need seeds and tools for the...

FG Pays N1.6bn To YouWin Awardees

The Federal Government has paid N1.6 billion to 638 awardees of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme, a statement from the Ministry of Finance has said. The statement by Mr Na’inna Dambatta, the Director of Information in the ministry, which was issued on Tuesday in Abuja, said the amount was paid in June. It recalled that under the programme which took off in 2011, a total of 18, 000 young entrepreneurs were...

Your Claim To Take Over Anambra In 2017 Laughable, APGA Tells APC

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has described as laughable, a claim by the All Progressives Congress (APC) that it would take over  Anambra State by 2017. It also raised the alarm over alleged threat by APC to use its federal might to cause a revolution that would put other political parties on the run during the 2017 gubernatorial election in the state. Describing the alleged threat as “treasonable felony,” the Anambra State Secretary of APGA, Sir Tony Ifeanya...

254 Teachers Drag Wike To Court Over Unpaid Salaries

No fewer than 254 workers, whose salaries have been stopped since February 2016, have dragged the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Bayelsa State. The workers, who are teachers of primary and demonstration schools of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, and Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, have prayed the court to compel the government to pay their salaries.

Dasuki Authorized Payment Of $40m To Jonathan’s Cousin’s Company– Witness

A prosecution witness, Ibrahim Mahir, has testified that retired Col. Sambo Dasuki authorised the payment of 40 million dollars in favour of One Plus Holdings. Mahir made this known when he testified in the case of Azibaola Roberts, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday. He said that Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), instructed him to prepare a payment mandate of 40 million dollars in...

EFCC Arraigns Ex-Ministers, Fani-Kayode, Nenadi-Usman For Allegedly Laundering N4.9 billion

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, accusing him and three others of laundering N4.9 billion. A planned arraignment of Mr. Fani-Kayode was stalled last Tuesday by the absence of the trial judge. Judge Sule Hassan’s absence was said to be due to an “official function”. Mr. Fani-Kayode, who served as director of media and publicity during the campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, is facing...

Man Arraigned For Sexual Abuse On 3 Daughters

For allegedly raping his three daughters, a 48-year-old man, Micheal Ogbar, on Tuesday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court. The Chief Magistrate, Mr Tajudeen Elias, refused to hear his plea and remanded him in kirikiri prisons. Elias said the court had no jurisdiction over the case and therefore transferred the matter to Apapa Magistrates’ Court. The accused, who lives at Oke-Ogba St., Badagry, a suburb of Lagos, is facing a two-count charge of defilement and...

Terrorists Now Disguise As Vigilantes And Hunters- DHQ

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ, has alerted members of the public that the Boko Haram terrorists in the North Eastern part of the country now disguise as vigilantes popularly known as the Civilian JTF and hunters to carry out their activities. The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, stated on Monday that following the coordinated military offensive against the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest, the fleeing felons now disguise as vigilantes or...

Argentina Begs Messi Not To Quit

Argentine football legend Diego Maradona and the country’s President Mauricio Macri urged Lionel Messi on Monday not to leave the national team despite his vow to quit after a humiliating defeat. The Barcelona superstar left the field in tears after missing a spot-kick in the Copa America Centenario final shootout against Chile on Sunday. He promptly told reporters he was quitting, throwing Argentine football into turmoil ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Made In China Plane Makes First Commercial Flight

China’s homegrown regional jet made its first commercial flight Tuesday, operator Chengdu Airlines said, after years of delays raised questions about the country’s ambitious plans for domestically-produced planes. Chengdu Airlines flew the ARJ21 from its eponymous home base, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, to the commercial hub Shanghai carrying 70 passengers. More than half were paying customers who were aware they were flying in a new plane, an airline spokesman told AFP.