No nation rises above the versatility of its people and the thinking level of its leaders. If you truly want to know the true capacity of leaders, then check the outcome in the average standard of living and per capita income. Yours truly is a man who believes so much in Nigeria. However, I don’t know how much the nation believes in me. In my daily interactions with Nigerians across the board in different countries of the world, the view is the same.
Despondency is usually noticed, so much so that it doesn’t matter to them – what the heck is a messenger and the message; particularly, when it is about the oneness of Nigeria? A classic example is the subject of the “Search For a New Nigeria” series. The reactions from so many quarters in and outside of the country today are worrisome. I am usually confronted with the separatists’ agenda: “Ooh! Let’s go our different ways, divide the so-called contraption (Nigeria) that has expired and not working for all”; “Let’s have Oduduwa Republic, Biafra Nation” – so on and so forth.
Much as I appreciate the pain, agony and the frustration of our compatriots home and abroad, I also share in some of the sentiments. However, it has been difficult for me to jump ship and follow the bandwagon fallacy of separatism as if that is the only option available to us as a nation destined for greatness. With profound respect to the proponents of separation, I beg to differ from such a position. I will itemize the reasons one after the other.
Firstly, let me use a very good outpost from a brilliant mind Saleh Mohammed, he posited: “You have four refineries, with a REFINING CAPACITY of 450,000 barrels per day. You mismanaged and abandoned them to rot. Niger republic is a small country with a REFINING CAPACITY of 20,000 barrels per day. You abandoned all your own and went to embrace the Niger republic.
“You signed an MOU of $2billion to transport your own crude oil via pipeline to refine in the Niger Republic, so you can buy the refined products. You have the resources to run a pipeline from Niger Delta to supply crude oil via pipeline to the Niger Republic, but you lack the resources to maintain the existing refineries. Yet you said you’re a government of the federal republic of Nigeria. You haven’t disclosed your mission faa”!
Further to the brilliant submission of Mallam Saleh Mohammed, I remember the documentary on “Nigeria, the Squandering of Riches” authored by our dear lady of song’ Onyeka Onwenu, which was jointly produced by BBC and NTA, shortly before the coup d’etat of 1983. Coupled with the facts of a nation that earned a surplus of over $400 billion dollars from crude oil revenue alone in less than 10 years, this got me thinking about the types of characters that emerged from within us as leaders over the years.
Yes! This is the sad reality and very unpalatable scenario, but the question is, how much did the society reprimand those who are responsible for the sorrow state of our nation? What is our involvement as citizens? What role did our leaders of faith play? Who are we as a people? Are we productive and futuristic and not just a materialistic society? This and many more are the questions begging for answers.
On the flip side of the coin, Nigeria has one of the best sets of accomplished personalities doing very well globally…some of them were part of the elements that run our affairs and the results are overwhelmingly different from their personal accomplishment. The country is richly blessed and endowed with beauty and natural resources including vast land, wildlife, crude oil, gold, bitumen, gas, iron, copper, zinc and many others. How then can we be described as the headquarters of extreme poverty globally?
Very recently, when the current Senate president Sen. Ahmed Lawan annoyingly announced to a bewildered nation, that earned a surplus of 400 billion dollars from the crude oil revenue alone which was mismanaged. He said: “Nigeria is not rich, and we will keep borrowing money left, right and centre.” I was ashamed for all of us, including those who are agitating for either Oduduwa or Biafra Nations.
The problem is far beyond scratching the surface, it is cancerous. If we don’t diagnose it properly, the same issues will continue to manifest in different forms and follow us to wherever we find ourselves, even if we achieve the desires of separatism. A quick fix cannot get us the desired results.
A nation with a huge population of over 200 million inhabitants, with the kind of characters that are saddled with the management of resources and diversity, which has obviously been mismanaged, coupled with a society that is heavily materialistic and not futuristic, it will take divine intervention and the mercies of God Almighty for us to get it right. Imagine we all did the right things at the right time; Nigeria situation will be better and possibly one of the greatest nations on earth.
A bad past doesn’t mean a bad future; let’s move on, we need to let go of the unpleasant past and trust in God.
I, therefore, maintain the call for RESTRUCTURING OF THE MIND, as the starting point. God bless Nigeria.
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.