To Be Or Not To Be

That the very existence of our nation is threatened by violence, bad leadership and poor governance at all levels is no longer news. Never since 1970, at the end of the 30 month civil war, has the existence and survival of our nation been so threatened by these unsavorable factors. Such is the enormity of the threat that questions about the survival of our nation have been asked more in the past one year than probably in over 40 years. On all fronts and facets- economic, political, and infrastructural and in security, there are enormous challenges that threaten the very existence and survival of the Nigerian state.

Jos: Once the home of peace, now known for unending strife

As an incurable optimist in the greatness of our nation, I find it quite saddening that we’ve found ourselves in this state- one of insecurity and violence, leading to wanton destruction of lives and properties, and huge infrastructural deficits. From the violence in the North to the flooding in parts of the South, the whole nation is in a state of disorder and the reaction of the government at all levels leaves much to be desired.

The reaction of the presidency was as lack luster as its overall performance in office- lacking in character, lacking in passion, lacking in optimism- lacking in everything but the mediocrity that the administration is gradually being known for. The official press release did nothing to douse the fears of the citizenry and the president’s statement was quite unconvincing and uninspiring for a president whose country was under attack by a group of faceless terrorists, stating inter alia that ‘maybe it’s Nigeria’s turn….’. Nigeria’s turn? Turn for terrorist attacks? Turn for suicide bombings? But he failed to tell us when it will be our turn for good governance, or our turn for a people oriented government or at least when it will be our turn to enjoy the democratic dividends we so much desire.

The failure of government at all levels has led to renewed calls for the break-up of the country along ethnic lines, but what proponent of these calls do not realize is that these calls will do nothing to solve these problems. Our problems go deeper beyond ethnic or tribal issues. Violence, bad leadership and poor governance are not exclusive to a particular tribe or religion. Splitting up or Balkanizing the nation will only result in producing nations with similar problems.

A break up will not necessarily translate into an end to the problems bedeviling the nation. The lawlessness that characterizes the nation is bound to continue as long as we fail to tackle the causes of these problems. We might just have a situation where Islamic extremists continue to terrify in the newly formed Northern entity, OPC rules in the West, MEND controls in the South while MASSOB holds sway in the East. It will do nothing to address the poor governance or bad leadership in government. Neither will a split-up fix the roads as long as government officials fail to shed their garment of corruption and inefficiency. Most importantly, nothing will ever change if citizens continue to be apathetic to governmental processes and leave everything unto God.

We as a people need to change our overall mentality and attitude. We should have realized by now that apathy and our ‘siddon look’ attitude will do nothing to bring the desired change and development we so much crave. It’s high time we stood up to the destructive forces and anti-development elements in the society and government. We need to start holding our leaders accountable for every of their utterances, actions and promises. We need a whole new state of mind, mentality and attitude. Things will never change if our attitudes remain the same. Nigerians need to stand up and demand an end to all these anomalies- bad leadership, poor governance, corruption and all they ills they bring along. Without these we will continue to wallow in this unpleasant quagmire we have found ourselves. We all should realize that we have a right to good governance, a right to be led fairly and we need to demand these. They are rights, not privileges.

Only you and I can make Nigeria great

Failure to do these will signify acceptance of the status quo and condonation of the lawlessness and violence that pervade our nation. Irrespective of tribe, religion or social status, we all need to stand firm together and tackle these monsters threatening our existence as a nation. The survival of our nation depends on you and I. We alone can make Her great. God bless Nigeria.

Originally published at on April 30, 2016.

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