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A new dawn we cannot afford to mess

AFTER  much ado and the hodgepodge that trailed the 2007 general election, we finally began crying out, then ultimately ended up yelling for sanity, order and sincerity of purpose in our polity – three principles which more and more we have come to understand as ingredients that cannot be diluted, in so far as the development and advancement of Nigeria is concerned.

So far, we have managed to put a half-century of a promised nationhood down the drain – come October 1, Nigeria will mark its 50th independence anniversary and yet, for the hoi polloi, nothing of true substance had been achieved.

The benevolent purpose set out by our founding fathers had been denied its glory by the coups and counter-coups of the mid-1960s.

Nigerians had fought a senseless and bloody civil war. Senseless because judging by today’s pitiable state of the nation — in terms of unity, the economy, infrastructure and human resource development — it may very well have been better that our political state was never born.

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka could not have been more correct when he referred to Nigeria as being only “a nation space” – an entity yet to be transformed into true nationhood.

It may be said that the civil war never really ended with the declaration of “no victor, no vanquished” – that it continues, albeit in other less-recognisable forms, to wreak havoc on our lives and make us all habitual losers.

While we could have used the lessons of our bitter experiences for the betterment of our lot, we dashed off such an opportunity. Instead, we paved the way for sycophants and economic saboteurs rushing into the stage of governance after the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed.

Until now, we mostly sit and watch in virtually helpless abandon, as they continue to perpetuate themselves in power.

Thus, it can also be said that for 50 years going, our so-called nation-state has achieved nothing other than becoming a spigot of petro-dollars, directed at foreign bank accounts owned by these home-grown economic saboteurs, which enhances the host-countries’ economies at the expense of Nigeria’s.

Meanwhile, our youths have come to be tagged as “unemployable”. The truth is that the untrained youths, and the leaders responsible for having made them such unproductive heirs, are birds of the same feather – both are functional illiterates.

No wonder some Nigerians view the earmarking of  N10 billion  for the golden jubilee celebration as the apex of national wastage, if not insanity.
Dismal as it is — our Nigeria’s state-of-the-nation — from a critical lens, a counter-perspective bears out that in fact, on the dawn of our country’s second-half century, a fresh opportunity to make Nigeria a true nation, and a force to be reckoned with by the international community, has presented itself.

This opportunity is occasioned by the emergence of a young-generation leader, longed for by the youths and by many among the more matured generation who still sincerely hold this nation dear to their hearts, who has the potential of finally taking Nigerians to the “Promised Land”.

The stated determination of President Goodluck Jonathan to pursue the dream of  20: 2020 — of Nigeria becoming one of the world’s top 20 nations by the year 2020 — which was first enunciated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo; his pronouncements in favour of a free and fair election; and his strong support for the electrification of the country as attested to by his chairmanship of the committee – these are steps in the right direction that could propel Nigeria’s betterment in the foreseeable future.

In our long-term quest for nationhood, founded on justice and equity, we should always bear in mind that a free and fair election, come 2011, is the key to our success.

It allows for the election of credible leaders with foresight and probity. Indeed, it may very well pave the way for the rise to power of think-tank type leaders, the kind of state stewards with the best abilities to build a “ship of state” and steer it toward our 20: 2020 advancement adventure.

However, the truth must be told that the ruling political party — the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — by its nature, cannot win in a fair contest.

This was amply demonstrated in both the 2003 and 2007 general elections.
Thus, the task in need of immediate attention by the President is, first and foremost, the reformation of his political party, the PDP – which at the moment, is rather seriously detested by the electorate as a “party of plunderers”.

Continues on Monday

Dr. Adebayo, a commentator on national issues, writes from Chicago, USA.


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