Thinking about True Change

To understand what I am about to share with you I will need you all to keep an open mind, one that indulges my possible multiple missteps and no minimum amount of ignorance.

A voting line somewhere (Credit: AFP)

I have mulled over this subject matter endlessly and come to no definite conclusion. To end ethnic bias and religious intolerance in our country is no doubt something to be viewed as a constantly on-going debate and application of mutually agreed upon policy, but to actually achieve a significant level of progress will truly be most remarkable.

As a country Nigeria occupies multiple unique positions when viewed globally; it has a truly ethnically diverse population with over 100 languages spoken among her people, an almost equal percentage of two of the most popular religions in the world and the most populous black nation in the world so it is no small matter when something remarkable comes out of Nigeria. Yet we find ourselves struggling to embrace our anticipated role, with endless infighting for one reason or the other; ethnic disagreements, religious intolerance, entitlements and most of all a total lack of credible and competent leadership.

It still is a wonder to find Nigeria still in relative stability despite all these issues always wanting to help heat the polity up. Who can deny the lack of a divine presence when one lives in a country like Nigeria. For years we have watched/observed/experienced militancy, terrorism, corruption, incompetence and yet a significant percentage of the population seems to believe that staying as one Nigeria is still our best and most reasonable path. Yet if we do continue as we are without seeking a drastic change in approach and thinking then I fear that notion of ‘one Nigeria’ will increasingly become unwelcome by the larger population.

Who stands to benefit from our current status quo as a nation yet to taste its full potential apart from those who have enabled and engineered us into this present form; a handful of seemingly powerful elite who greedily derive satisfaction from gathering up these riches for themselves alone. People who have so far insulated themselves from the troubles the masses around them experience everyday.

Constantly I ask myself what the possible solution to our problem could be were we to one day become fed up with complaining and move on to actually actively trying to solve our issues. At several moments in time I came to realize how unprepared for a better future we are, as we continue in our rapid societal decline, experiencing decay from multiple angles. On a weekly, if not almost daily basis, our news headlines are filled up with statements and headlines that point to a deteriorating situation; A worsening health system, a sub par educational system, inadequate economic infrastructure and worst of all, a bloated, most underpaid, inept and corrupt civil service.

You might be wondering why I am repeating myself, I really want you to truly understands how far reaching our problems are, that key aspects of the foundations of our society have already been eroded and compromised so you can begin to appreciate the full gravity of what kind of work lies ahead. People in government have talked up all kinds of rhetoric about orientation policies and programs set out to ‘correct issues’, usually with the aid of foreign government bodies who on the surface feel their presence in Nigeria is sufficient enough to tackle our myriad of problem without exactly having the proper knowledge or understanding of our unique situation.

Solutions as far as I am concerned requires a joint effort and policy development from the government, the interest groups of all parts of the country, the educational system experts (not the government workers who have clearly lost touch with how to educate a 21st century child) and religious leaders (this part I begrudgingly concede as Nigerians can’t seem to be pulled away from their Qurans & Bibles).

You see there needs first of all to be a common objective or result agreed upon by all interest groups, not one that is vague or broadly defined but rather one that clearly outlines milestones, grades strength of policy implementation and makes allowance of a variation in possible outcomes. This requires a highly intellectual & philosophical level of assessment of the true nature of where we are now, all possible angles considered and what in the realistic sense is achievable should a common objective be agreed upon.

I look at the current structure in place comprising of the 3 arms of government, the states, the local governments, they might seem adequate but are they truly Nigerian solutions to our peculiar problem? Since this form of government was introduced in the 90s have we sat back to conduct an assessment of it’s efficiency, one independent of groups who are biased and find the present system beneficial. One of the benefits of democracies and its inherent laws is that the people have the ability to assess and decide if specific laws do really work to their benefit, if it doesn’t upon a majority decision, such laws can be altered/changed/modified.

As a people we haven’t fully exercised our mandate as citizens of this Country, well, here is an opportunity, one which if charted and guided properly could be monumental and historic.