The Search for a New Nigeria (20): Leadership, Citizenship and Social Contract

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When we diligently conduct ourselves in a just and equitable manner as citizens, a worthy leader would naturally emerge from among us. A situation where a lecturer who insists on sex before a female student can pass his course is complaining about the rot in Nigeria, and the aristocrat who pays his driver a paltry N25,000 a month even when his own children school in Europe and America also complaining about the hopelessness in the country is, to say the least, the height hypocrisy.

The abnormalities and absurdities are unending in our clime. Most often, we hear people complaining about politicians doing nothing whereas we carelessly overlook those serious misdemeanours we sometimes engage in that end up complicating and sabotaging the system.

Imagine a trader who removes two bowls of rice from a bag, re-bags and sells same as a ‘full bag’ complaining about the wickedness in Nigeria. The provisions shop owner who is altering the expiry dates on his products and selling same to unsuspecting customers. What about the civil servant who comes to work late, adds no value to his job but still shows up at the end of month to receive salary? Let’s visualize a student who spends the weekend partying only to start posting Instagram pictures on Monday who takes part in complaining that Nigeria is stealing his/her dreams.

Don’t we hear how drivers who simply can’t join a queue but prefer to keep darting in and out of traffic to shunt also complain about disorderliness in Nigeria? It is not different from the security agencies and those charged to enforce the laws who see such as an avenue to collect bribes and enrich themselves. Doctors/Nurses on government payroll in public and teaching hospitals who abandon patients on the floor while paying better attention to their private hospitals still involve in complaining that Nigeria is hopeless and needs to be fixed.

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An old man who has married 4 wives with 18 children without trade or any form of education is part of those complaining that life is hard these days; same way the pastor who had never attended a single accredited institution but addresses himself as Dr. and Man of God also screaming that Nigeria must be fixed.

The businessman who cuts corners with endless sleaze, bribing his ways through business proceedings, fleecing us off a large wodge of our collective patrimony in tax theft; is just as blameworthy. The artisan whose only route to fame is illicit dealings in contrabands and not-fit-for-the-shelves knockoffs is also as culpable. The average policeman, in scandalous disregard for his sworn oath to protect king and commoner, revels only in stashing forlorn Naira notes in his distended unmentionables; is equally as blameworthy.

We are just as blameworthy. Our complacencies daily give accent to their resolve to hold sway without the slightest compunction; we are on no moral grounds. The all-inclusive decadence being experienced in our country could be the only reason for the recent event involving a young lady, Chidimma Ojukwu, a University of Lagos undergraduate of Mass Communication that turned into a messenger of death. Until we realize that the value of Nigeria today is the totality of our individual values, we will continue fooling ourselves. As Prof. PLO Lumumba said, “If you vote for the hyenas to take care of your goats, don’t complain when the goats are being eaten.”

We are truly the architects of our developmental woes. The destruction of our water bodies is something that will affect generations to come and must be resisted by all. Yes, our attitudes. We all need attitudinal change, which will evidently reflect in our entire system. So, before we snarl about the Nigerian ‘factor’ in our conversations, there’s the need for more questions as to how we should progressively advance the course of moving Nigeria from the crucial stagnant junction that it currently sits.

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Anything worth achieving comes with hard work, dedication, perseverance and consistency. It is time to do away with the proponents of violence, hate, and bigotry in our midst. Also the notion that a particular group of persons and religion is superior to the other over the years has been largely responsible for the continued dissatisfaction and disunity that has today gained firm root in the country. The present political gladiators must do more than the unwarranted attacks on critics.

We do know that in a capitalist, cut-throat, unfeeling, winner-takes-all economy under which Nigeria falls, no one considers the poor. It is therefore important to state that the social contract that exists between the leadership and the governed should not be about providing cover for the elites particularly in any untoward dealings against the citizens for such primordial purpose that borders on regime protection. A case in point is the protracted issue of #TwitterBan.

This campaign is geared towards the rescue of reasonable numbers of our compatriots from the erroneous thinking about Nigeria being a fat cow to be consumed. We may not be able to get the majority because change is a very difficult thing, particularly in relation to a highly materialistic society like ours. This is where “Restructuring of the mind” comes into play.

It is indeed a sad commentary that Africa’s failure in infrastructural development coupled with very weak institutions over the years are the core reasons the continent had continued to multiply incompetence and over bloated system that encourages corruption.

The word ‘nation’ is not an abstract construct; it is an amalgam of every one of us. Thus, we are all responsible for what Nigeria is or, by a plausible stretch, what it ought to potentially be hence, we need to own up as answerable citizens, too. The middle men in our country, the value chains are Nigerians, in blood and spirit. Let’s start the blame train from within.

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In all, our search for a new Nigeria can be better realized with quality leadership that appreciates the essentials of social contract with citizens; a leadership that is free from all forms of ostentatious lifestyles by its public office holders as is currently the case in our country.

With the president and his handlers not seeing anything wrong in the continuous squandering of the nation’s commonwealth through unending medical tourism and with such reckless statement as “Nigeria is poor and will continue to borrow” coming from a high-ranking public officer as the country’s Senate president, one can only hope that citizens see the urgent need for a vigorous search for a new Nigeria as a task that must be accomplished.

May God bless Nigeria, the only Nation we can truly call our own!

Richard Odusanya
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism

Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE (ACRI).

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