Nigeria: As We Build Trust… By Odusote Oluwakayode
Now that N7 billion is in the news as the total package for delegates at the National Conference, I hope the anointed delegates will be patriotic enough to reject their respective allowances and focus on the serious tasks ahead.
Be that as it may, the conference has its advantages and disadvantages, antagonists and protagonist. It is perceived in some section that the exercise will end in futility because there is no law backing it and we have heard rumors of interests nursing predetermined agenda.
Due to failing promises of elected leaders, there are more doubts than trusts in the exercise that is believed to be a gathering of handpicked delegates.
As the three months journey begin, I reproduce my article titled:
EGYPT’S REVOLUTIONS: SEASON OF PROTESTS SEASON OF LESSONS
What is the state of our fellow African nation – Egypt? The resultant effects of revolution and counter revolution have left the nation in disarray. There were deaths recorded in the first revolution that led to the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak. What remains of Egypt when protests were easily taken advantage of to remove a constituted authority?
We must not fail to ask questions in the style of governance as it mostly affects developing countries. First we battle with the abuse of power by “sit tight” leaders, secondly we suffer the harsh treatment of corruption, thirdly, insurgency is increasingly killing the system of nationhood and yet most affected countries lay claim to the practice of democracy.
The first and the most obvious observation that can be made about democracy as a political philosophy is that it, perhaps, best guarantees the liberty of the private individual against the tyranny of collective or state power. Since democracy enshrines the equality of all individuals, it is also said to best promote merit as against the privileges of riches or connections.
For the liberty of an individual to be made real, however, it has to be safeguarded against possible violation by other, equally ‘free’ individuals or groups. And for individual merit to be developed, it needs the protection and the nurture of the democratic State.
What have we learnt from the practice of democracy when the institution that is supposed to protect the system is made weak by sentiments? Now it’s just simple for us as Nigerians to learn from the instability in Egypt. We are sometime told that “you learn from other people’s mistakes’.
Where does Nigeria stand in the light of the entire crisis going on mostly in the Arab countries? It was termed “Arab spring’ and the best a nation is expected to learn from all these troubles are seriously taking the system of government the way it should be –Respect.
Nations that had refused to understand what democracy means have failed woefully to live by its tenets. Understanding democracy is totally different from the rhyme derived from its definition. The total failure had contributed to the resentments shared amongst inhabitants of supposed free nations. Minds that claimed victories over colonial masters have become enslavers of their own people with promotion of self interests. The conflicts being witnessed in most troubled nations is as a result of continued failure in the palace of democracy.
The deliberate refusal to adhere to democratic principles has its own consequences and we are left to think in fear that in the light of all these numerous challenges we face as a nation, what does tomorrow hold? Tomorrow is on the run and we gasp to catch up.
We live in fear as a country and most of the inhabitants of the nation called Nigeria seek a life out of theirs. We live in fear of what 2015 have in stock should President Goodluck Jonathan decide to go for a second term or not. We sometime enjoy the theatrics of the media and propaganda between our political gladiators without reasoning to identify performance from failure. We sometime forget to note that claims of democratic dividends should not be limited to the pages of news papers for the governed to read – it is to be felt.
The point here is that we have failed to learn from our teachers. The problem with us is lacking the will to put service before self. Our armed forces claim to be disciplined yet the lure of power and wealth has always caught them off guard. We have generals that rise to such positions not as a result of victories achieved at war but as a result of successful connection to political powers that be.
The decency inherited from our teachers had been lost. Prof. Oyewole Tomori clearly described the pathetic state a nation has been subjected to that “Today, we live in another country, another country filled with people in the throes of decadence, a nation in the turmoil of corruption. A nation where vice is victory, where nasty is nice, where sadism is sweetness, where stealing is saintly, where brutality is basic, where malice is magnificent, where arson is acceptable, and where looting is our first love. No segment of our society is free from corruption. Corruption roams freely in the corridors of our Ministries. It has a place of honor in the bedroom of our leaders, in private and public settings. Indiscipline and falsehood are to be found in the sacred and whitewashed sepulchers of our churches and citadels of worship.”
Most of our problems have solutions. It is only dependent on a collective resolve on how such salient problems would be addressed. One proponent of a National Dialogue is Prof. Wole Soyinka. If we sincerely intend understanding how democracy works, then it has to start with a collective and acceptable dialogue. Some of our leaders make mistakes that our major problems are as a result of our differences. As far as the contributory factor of differences cannot be totally ignored, we must understand that families of the same blood line have differences.
We cannot continue to preach sermons of peaceful co-existence when an Igbo man does not see himself as a Yoruba man and when an Ijaw man believes a second term presidency is the right of the tribe with the Hausa singing songs of war for a chance to take their turn. These are baffling and dangerous agitations that most Nigerians have either been ignorant of or deliberately choose to ignore. These selfish agitations emanate as a result of selfish ambitions.
The Egyptian revolution and counter revolution should be a reference point for our government and the governed. Nigerians may love and choose to suffer and smile, unlike the Egyptians; our citizens are used to accommodating pains and subjecting their livelihood to the direction and decisions of the political gladiators. It is expedient, if a national dialogue is so much hated, that we begin to devise realistic and sincere political solution which would represent the collective interest of Nigerians. Such collective interest is not of political/ power rotation but of ethnic nationalities, religion etc
Nigeria will need to pay more attention to the developments in troubled countries and take actions that would not allow such event take place in our country.
The time to act for our nation is in between the fears we nurture and the courage to face our challenges. Does a nation allow dialogue in the event of incessant crisis? The Egypt and Syria revolutions should teach us to know better.
In the face of our common challenges, hardship and sufferings let us remember that we have a future to protect. With hope and courage, let us brave to fight a common battle, and endure the effects of our collective decisions.
Generations should not waste but relevant and effective to tell the future that when we were failing, we corrected ourselves to collectively forge ahead, that we did not turn back nor did we falter.
We should be known and respected as a nation that conquered fear to establish the freedom individual minds deserve.
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