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The only problem with Nigeria

August 15, 2009

Nigeria is a country so blessed with all enviable potentials capable of tugging her to an advantageous pedestal among world nations. We have both human and natural resources in abundance the quarter of which would suffice a nation of dedicated people with a fleck of patriotism to make it one of the top ten developed countries. Nigeria’s huge deposits of untapped minerals could make an oil-rich nation of people with the least amount of nationalism at heart lessen their dependence on the fast value-diminishing oil and develop it ten times faster than our slow pace.

But why is our nation lagging behind in terms of economic advancement when compared to her mates?

Why is Nigeria not deemed worthy of being selected from this continent of Africa in which it is the most populous to be among members of the G-20 nations?

Why are Nigerians ranked among the poorest in the world despite these endowed resources?

Why does this country fail to play any laudable role that could fetch a shower of encomium from global community?

Why are our leaders not recognized with the same legitimacy enjoyed by other world leaders?

All these questions and many other similar ones are interlocked as a product of the same root. The only answer that can wipe away the problems bedeviling our country and at the same time serve as an efficacious remedy to the opt-repeated economic evils retarding our progress as a nation is our unreserved commitment to total eradication of corruption which comes in different guises. But how feasible is it for us to achieve this goal?

Past governments made some efforts to see an end to corruption but failed halfway because of some reasons ranging from insincerity of the said government or the officials entrusted with the task of making the country corruption-free, to modifying the purpose of the programme to suit some political ends. The Buhari/Idiagbon-led administration came with sincere intent to annihilate corruption once and for all. Corruption is widely but wrongly perceived as being done only on monetary grounds. Far from that, it is perpetrated in various forms. The worst type that breeds all others as far as this country is concerned is electoral corruption. This is the menace that gives birth to bad leadership which for years has been the bane of Nigeria. Some people are easily carried away by ethnic sentiments to a point that they fail to diagnose the actual symptoms of the illness troubling our nation but rather choose to attribute Nigeria’s retrogression to certain region or tribe out of sheer provincialism. The fact remains that this problem requires our collective efforts irrespective of our inherent differences.

However, we cannot easily bring about the desired change that would hopefully make positive impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians without making some selfless as well as priceless sacrifices. We must first identify those elements responsible for Nigeria’s pertinacious subnormality. And when our searchlight beams on anybody no matter how dear to us, we shouldn’t allow passion to overtake our senses and suppress the noble urge to purify our polity. We must always keep it in mind that no amount of self-deception in the name of reforming the electoral process could purge the country from the malpractices that imperil our future so far as we are not ready to talk less and work more. It is disheartening to see that after about fifty years of nationhood, we are still in search of leaders of equal quality with those patriots who fought for our independence; who agreed to serve rather than be served by the people; who used their foresight to pave a clean way for the posterity and emancipate the people from the shackles of carking poverty, misery, illiteracy and a host of other social ills. Our quest for such leaders will never yield the craved result until we are willing to do away with anything or anybody posing a threat to our national interests. Most Nigerians have been complaining of gross injustice by our leaders but when it comes to making bold moves towards dethroning the tyrants and enthroning more pious and patriotic ones, they decline out of unnecessary fear and daft laxity. They don’t carry out their civic rights and resolve to vehemently defend same. On the contrary, they opt to laud the same leaders if they hail from their vicinity.

The electoral corruption materializing in Nigeria is a harbinger of bleak future. Whether we like it or not, the progress of this country is heavily dependent on our collective physical dexterity to make sacrifices in whatever form needed. Let us stop the perpetrators of this heinous crime which impedes our long overdue advancement. We can do it. I am sure we can do it as far as we have the will. We should never mind those pessimists who are in the depths of total despair. Someone would say, “How?” The answer is not far-fetched. Everyone of us knows where he is deficient in giving his contribution to the development of this country; knows fully well how to mend his blunders. So, make amends now. Second, don’t ever offer a helping hand to anyone desiring a political slot once you know him as a lewd person capable of embezzling public resources. Third, encourage a God-fearing, just and upright person from your locality to vie for any available political seat. Fourth, learn to know the value of your vote. So, never miscast it. Fifth, defend it with all your strength so as not to give the slightest opportunity to those wishing to rig their way into elective offices.

I think these steps will help to lay to rest the issue of imposing unsuitable candidates on us via electoral malpractices or corruption of the highest order.

May Allah help us.

                                                                                                          Yakubu Muhammad Rigasa,

                                                                                                              [email protected]


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