By Dapo Akinrefon
FORMER Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, Monday, expressed worry over the security challenges confronting the country, noting that the situation is now over-stressed and over-stretched beyond the bounds of acceptability.
George, in his speech entitled: ‘Nigeria: Time to chart a new direction’, said Nigerian polity is now straying towards its elastic limit.
While he called for urgent steps to be taken to curb the violence in the country, he said Nigerians cannot continue like this.
His words: “The Nigerian polity is now straying towards its elastic limit. It is now over -stressed and over-stretched beyond the bounds of acceptability. Our survival as a nation is genuinely being questioned from the desert to the sea.
“Violence sprouts everywhere, from the distant outpost of Ajangbadi in Lagos, to the farthest reaches of Malum-Fatori in Borno, from Kiṣi in Oke-Ogun to Odiani in the swamps of Delta- our nation gradually descends into a dangerous gangland where the rule of the bayonet and clubs seems to be the norm. Surely, we can’t continue like this. Our survival as a people is to reverse the ruinous course and retrieve ourselves from the gaping chasm that confronts us all.
“This is the time to change the path of old, to look beyond what hobbles our progress, to redefine our value system, to rejig and restructure the various anomalies that presently hinder the greater possibilities of the Nigerian union.
“The challenges before us are far beyond the confines of partisan politics. The turmoil within the Nigerian entity is about the twisted present situation. It is about who we are. It is about what we ought to be. It is about the greater tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, the sway and the swing of the present political culture do not favor the triumph of merit. It does not favor the promotion of excellence. It does not encourage the accommodation of hard work. And it discourages the blind indifference to ethnic or sectarian provenance.
“Alas, our political culture is still much engrossed in the glorification of cronyism over intellect, the celebration of charlatans over patriotic commitment, the narrow worship of the gains of the moment over the truth and the base withdrawal into nepotistic lager over the greater good.
“Surely, no nation can long endure on this limiting vision. We live in a very competitive global village where the entrepreneurial drives are often predicated on the ethical draw and the business friendly nature of the environment. Global conglomerates like Twitter, Kia, Hyundai, Facebook and so many others are trooping to Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa.
“And our nation is losing an estimated $29 billion every year due to epileptic power supply. This is not sustainable. Electrical Power is the very life-blood of all industrial revolutions. It is the fuel of all economic development.
“A nation without efficient power supply cannot rise into the bright dawn of the digital civilization. It is stuck forever in the bleak dark side of economic underdevelopment and teeters inevitably on economic ruination.”
Speaking on the way forward, the PDP leader said: “Indeed, something must give way to spur a Nigerian rebirth and renewal lest we become the permanent invalid giant of Africa.
“To change cause, to redefine our path, we must cultivate the essential ingredients of meritocracy as the critical building blocks of modern nations. Wherever young, vibrant, intelligent minds are given a pride of place to steer the destinies of their nations, such societies invariably are widening the opportunities for competitive growth, encouraging a healthy contest of ideas, strengthening their developmental advantages.
“The skewed structures of political power are equally an inherent hindrance to national development. Every stakeholder from Kaura-Namoda in Zamfara state to the farthest reaches of Isaleko on the edge of the Lagos lagoon now agrees that the excessive centrality of political power in our nation is destroying competition, holding everyone down to an unhealthy indolence, strips the states of individual growth and development, disallows free-willing local initiatives, strangles fairness and equity in the larger Nigerian union, inflames tension and fissiparous tendencies.
“We can do better than this. We must listen to the voice of reason. We must induce debates and let a thousand flowers bloom. We cannot stifle peaceful dissent through the gulag and the stakes. The iron steel does not breed genuine patriotism. It merely drives dissent underground. This is more dangerous. This is not the road to be taken.”