The Nigeria’s quest for prominence and recognition among the comity of nations no doubt is predicated on our ability to provide the basic essentials of life for our citizenry, ensure security of life and property, create an enabling environment for investment as well as imbibe the culture of discipline, probity, accountability both in our public and private life.
It has often been said that ‘the journey of a thousand kilometres begins with a step’. Our founding fathers certainly had taken the step then when they fought to a standstill the colonialists in order to gain independence for Nigeria, way back fifty years ago in 1960. The labour of our heroes past in Abubakar Tafa balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the great Zik of Africa is enough to provide us with good direction towards attaining the Nigeria of our dream.
The opportunities we had in the sixties and, especially in the seventies during the oil boom era to change the fortune of our country and its citizenry by using the resources in providing free and qualitative education, to restructure power and energy, revolutionise agriculture and industries, provide good network of road, railways, inland waterways and air traveling; were misused and abused through corruption and bad leadership occasioned by long years of military intervention.
Meanwhile, since independence, we have unceasingly been blaming the military for the derailment we had in our developmental effort as a nation without thinking for a moment of the collaboration of the civil society in the plundering of our fortune in a profligate manner by men either in Khaki or Agbada. But we should ask ourselves the question, what does it take to build a nation? How long does it take to transform a nation? Or better still, what form of government does it require and the type of people needed to make a nation great?
Honestly speaking, I do think that the fundamental requirement in the process of building any institution, including a country is resources which could either be human or material.
The story of how blessed Nigeria is no longer news given its oil, minerals and others. The fact is that the size of the country and the advantage of its population of about 150 million people speaks volumes about its resources. The good climatic conditions from the aquatic belt of the south to the warm embrace of the northern savannah, dotted with plateau and hills, laced with plains and valleys, boost agriculture, tourism and others.
The history of development in advanced nations of the world point to the fact that having identified their resources, all they did was to quickly tapped in it and harness it productively in such a way and manner that the majority of the citizens could adequately benefit from it, unlike in our own case whereby our resources were poorly harnessed for the benefit of few highly-placed individuals and families. Also, these countries were able to make the best use of the brains in their country through encouragement and patronage, whereas talents, brains and ingenuity here are discouraged and not appreciated.
The presidential democratic system Nigeria adopted as a form of government is expected to bring about progress and development in all the facets of our national life, but alas! our political players and actors are not more than mere bunch of selfish individuals whose personal interest override national interest. The spirit of patriotism and selfless service is lacking in majority of them. They come out to say one thing and go out to do another thing, igniting lack of public confidence and true spirit of followership among the citizenry.
If we continue in this way; I wonder if the country will ever be able to realise its dream of attaining any great height. Who will bail the country out of this squalor and penury? As prayerful as Nigerians are, in line with Christian and Islamic doctrines, does it mean God or the Angels will come down from heaven to build our country for us. Definitely our destiny is in our hands. We are to rise up to the challenges of decay in infrastructural facilities, bad leadership, corruption, ineptitude and all other social malaise which has plunged us into the development dungeon we find ourselves today.
It will not take a long time for us to enjoy the benefit of proper planning of our economy, if good and enduring foundation of our socio-political structure is firmly put in place.
Thank God for the new government, under the leadership of Jonathan Goodluck, which Nigerian are looking up to in the hope that, he would be able to understand our immediate needs in the areas of stable provision of electricity, regular supply of fuels, free and transparent electoral system, revamping of the ailing industries and agricultural sector, as well as adequate security for the citizenry irrespective of where they reside and whom they are.
Nigerians are actually prepared to cooperate with government in its effort at making our country the envy of others, in making our country the giant and leading black nation of the world that we profess to be. However, this can be achieved only when our leaders desist from their kleptomaniac attitude and demonstrate high sense of responsibility in the discharge of state affairs/functions. The inherent potentialities in our collective ability to sincerely work towards making Nigeria a great country, will no doubt, propel us to heights beyond our aspiration.