Microcosmic Privatisation: A Panacea to National Problems by Nnamudi, Anthony Chibuzor
I believe that continually x-raying the Nigerian ills without attendant solutions is like diagnosis without treatment. In fact, it amounts to being busy doing nothing. This is aptly represented in a distinguished (or rather infamous) medical doctor and specialist nay consultant who came out of his operating theatre and declared: the operation was successful but we lost the patient. The question is: what is the yardstick for adjudging an operation as been successful when the patient of the operation is dead? I believe the answer to the question rests on the shoulders of the non-critical critics of Nigeria who criticise the country’s system albeit providing solutions.
Even when we project the murky image of Nigeria onto the larger screen of reality, we can be rest assured that the image may appear shameful.
We cannot continually over flog the pathetic case of a nation that has refused to show a deep sense, nay an even slight sense of responsibility to the entirety of its citizenry. We cannot over-inundate the fact that the leaders and perhaps the administrators of the nation and the national wealth have perennially failed in giving back to the entirety of the shareholders of this national wealth, their due share of the wealth and vast resources. Yes, shareholders because it is the collective wealth of all and sundry. And thus, every Nigerian is a legal and worthy heir of this wealth. If need be, every Nigerian should be served in an equal magnitude from this national pot that has remained inaccessible to the poor and lowly in the country who wait endlessly in queues with their empty plates without being served.
A worrisome situation in which 80% of this collective wealth is been shared and lavishly enjoyed by only 20% of these shareholders (the cabalized, cheating minority) while the remaining 20% of the resources is been struggled for, by the larger 80% of the shareholders (the deprived, cheated majority) is to say the least, unacceptable. This may not be unconnected with certain violent situations whereupon members of this cheated majority decides to take by themselves what they feel is their due share. Nigeria as a country has her fair share of these conflicts.
A retinue of Nigerians has offered a gamut of solutions to the Nigerian pandemic. Prof Dora Akunyili believes firmly in her rebranding programme as the ultimate solution to national problems. A distinguished retired Prof Obeamata will rather propose reinvention as the way out for Nigeria. There are other notable contributions from other distinguished personalities as their numerous views are quite inexhaustible. These eminent Nigerians earn my deepest respect for their commitment to a radical change in the national psyche. Much as I concur (although to varying degrees) with the views of these eminent Nigerians, I believe in a paradigm shift from the “us” mentality to the “I” mentality when handling issues pertaining to this nation. Nigeria will be better for it, if Nigerians handle issues pertaining to the country as they would, their private ventures. This is the time for us to paraphrase an expression by John F. Kennedy and state in clear and unequivocal terms: ask not what Nigeria can do for you, but what you can do for Nigeria.
However, unlike most private businesses whereupon the emphasis is on profit generation for the private owner, the profit been generated from our collective patriotic ventures should be remitted into the commonwealth of our national purse, hence, the need for a selfless microcosmic privatisation as a panacea to our national problems.
The responsible family man who is a taxi-driver or an okada-man puts in his very best in his meagre transportation outfit in order to ensure that he realises enough money to take care of the needs of his family. Interestingly, they achieve this aim, notwithstanding the risk involved. In this country, we see multi-million naira government establishments and programmes fail woefully. Yet again, in this same country, we see a young man hawking just 6 loaves of bread on the highway and still remain in business, year in year out. What then could be the reason for this obvious unexpected anomaly of the former or rather business ingenuity of the latter?
I believe there is just a simple formula here; the various life endeavours enumerated here is in one way or the other privatised. As a matter of fact, one is tempted to argue and more so, strongly too, that the privatised systems are far more effective and successful than the government system. It is also believed that this phenomenon is not unconnected with the lackadaisical and unpatriotic attitude of Nigerians towards issues relating to government. This is no doubt what has come to be regarded in popular parlance as the ‘9ja’ factor. There is no gainsaying that this ‘9ja’ factor is prevalent and clearly visible in every facet of the public and civil service of the country. You see it shamefully displayed in the now infamous ‘oga’ at the top mantra. You see it clearly evident in the boss of a government agency who comes to office as it so pleases his whims and caprices. You see it also in the government employed medical doctor who runs his private clinic, spends most of his official working hours there and hitherto refers patients there for better medical
Attention. We can go on citing these examples in an endless fashion as they are inexhaustible.
Let us not lose sight of our target here. This is a clarion call to a patriotic personalisation and indeed, privatisation of our national affairs. I believe if the average Nigerian government worker handles his/her primary duties with the same dedication, zeal, commitment and the desire for success employed by the young man who sells sachet water on the highway at the risk of his life or perhaps, the market woman who sells fish and realises that she has to make a living out of it; the country will be better for it.
It is quite discernible that the average Nigerian businessman does not steal from his own personal business except perhaps he is kleptomaniac. Furthermore, the system will improve tremendously if our leaders handle issues relating to public fund in the manner they handle their privately-owned businesses (well, that is, if they have any). It is therefore high time we all became custodians of our national wealth by virtue of all our little individual contributions to that national purse. In that manner, we will all join the distinguished Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka as the consciences of the nation.
NNAMUDI, Anthony Chibuzor
Sango-Otta, Ogun state
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