By Adisa Adeleye
To many Nigerians, the message of the President to the nation on October 1, 2011 to mark the 51st year of the country‘s independence was assuring and pleasing. The speech, once again, depicts the President as a man dedicated to peace and prosperity of our great country, called NIGERIA. There is no iota of doubt that President Jonathan would prefer a prosperous country in an atmosphere of political stability.
As President Jonathan was assuring the nation of effective method of combating terrorism, innocent Nigerians lost their precious lives in Maiduguri. An act which demonstrated the fact that terrorism as an evil act could not be easily caged like a lovely bird. It is an accepted fact that the country is in a state of insecurity ‘ and that evil men still roam freely in some parts of the country.
The curious (innovation) of abandoning the Eagle Square (for official engagements) for Aso Rock, reinforces the danger that lurks everywhere. The vital question is, to what extent moral suasion and secret diplomacy would suppress terrorism? The President, by action and words is a man of peace and would like all people to work with him in peace and harmony.
The concept of ‘radicalism‘ referred to in this article is not to be nixed up with bloody revolution of the 18th century French type but an intellectual revolution that could move the nation towards a prosperous present and glorious tomorrow. Such radicalism would brook no appeasement to the forces of terrorism and disunity.
It is a sort of refined radicalism that would lift Nigeria from its 16th century mentality to the idea of the 21st century. No nation can grow into a modern state if it is still bogged down by ethnic, regional and religious considerations.
It seems that the country is at the moment creating the problems of appeasement and not solving them. How long could the country wait to appease the North, the Yoruba and the Ibo, to move Nigeria forward? The predominant Nigerian interest has been bruta.lly sacrificed on the altar of solving the North, Yoruba and Ibo Question – a solution which had ignobly defied the civil war. How long will the nation appease the North for having a southern minority as the President?
It is a matter of history that Nigeria is not a compact entity but a geographical expression of many nations bound together by a common desire to survive. Certain norms have to be established to sustain peaceful existence. In areas of turbulence, realisation of past mistakes and adjustments are realistic tools of dialogue are not dangerous compromise.
If Boko Haram sect wants a Sharia State and MENDS believes in regional control of oil resources – all these if well formulated could be discussed under a calm Nigerian atmosphere without the throwing of bombs or firing of deadly rockets. Terrorists are terrorists, no matter under any guise which they may appear.
President Jonathan has promised to provide security and promote stability in an atmosphere of near anarchy and total darkness. As a man of God, he did not mention total extermination of the enemies of the country as some radicals would prefer. However, a leader who is wedded to the concept of pacifism would have to strengthen his case with large doses of good governance to prevent radicalism turning into extremism.
The first step in the concept of good governance is the recognition of problems and the determination to solve them. The radicalism of the elite is the believe in more innovative ways of solving the country‘s political and economic problems. There should be a change of attitude and approach if Nigeria is to move forward.
They see in the, ‘Let us pray‘ and wait for God attitude of the present federal government on political matters and ‘The_Stop_Go_Stop‘ approach on economic policy, as not particularly suitable for a modern nation.
Many Nigerians believe in radical approach to economic operations and sensible approach to national politics. A good leader and a statesman would sit down calmly and examine some aspects of the Constitution that could prevent economic prosperity and political stability. His priority is to seek legislation for changes.
As some would suggest, the dissolution of Nigeria because of its multiplicity of tribes is not the answer. However, there is a very urgent need to re_examine the deficient structure of the country. The 36 states structure, as some assert, could not support economic viability of each state to promote development. A six or nine strong zone could be a better and more economically viable proposition. It would also reduce cost of governance.
It should also be noted that the practice of true federalism would involve the decentralization of the Police Force to enhance Security. The present Nigeria Police had proved to be neither sufficient in number or equipment to maintain overall security of the country. Countries like Britain and United States operate a decentralized police system which is efficient and well equipped.
The most effective but radical way of solving Nigeria‘s diverse problems is not only prayer but also work. There must be electric power to promote manufacturing and growth and also to make living comfortable. There must be full employment to arrest youth unrest and promote national growth.
President Jonathan should now adopt a more radical approach than the present leisurely (my party in power) stance. There is ample evidence that more fertile brains and innovative minds exist outside the present cabinet which is composed mainly of party loyalists. It may be in the interest of a good leader and a statesman to find ways of attracting people of quality to the service of the fatherland even, if they are worth government officials dubbed as ‘radicals‘.