By Kabir Ibrahim
That a country like Nigeria endowed with abundant natural resources yet the majority of its people suffer crashing poverty calls for thorough examination to make it sustainably viable.
A cursory look at the several indices of economic development supported by the availability of God-given resources in all parts of the Nigerian heterogeneous society leaves one wondering at the low level of quality of life among the majority of our people.
Nigeria discovered oil in commercial quantities over fifty years ago, a gift from nature, to augment other resources such as cultivable as well as irrigable land to make life better for the people yet we are all largely suffering from abject poverty, insecurity occasioned by inequity and general mismanagement.
Some people living in small countries that are less endowed with natural resources such as Japan, Singapore, Rwanda,to name only a few,have much better living conditions than our people!
The only glaring reason for this is our attitude towards corruption, transparency, fiscal management and discipline in leadership as well as focus on economic development in all its ramifications.
Our oil ought to be looked upon as a bonus to help unleash several facets of development such as the existence or provision of consistent power or energy,Science and Technology, education, Health,Agriculture, transportation etc.
Other countries blessed with oil such as Saudi Arabia, Libya(until lately) and some other Countries like Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria,Tunisia in the Maghreb,which are not so endowed with arable land like Nigeria appear to be clearly more prosperous than Nigeria due largely to their stance against corruption!
Before the discovery of oil, Nigeria heavily relied on its Agriculture to bolster its economy such that a fairly educated group emerged to lead the Nation into temporary prosperity to the extent that some of leaders back then are even known to have openly expressed satisfaction with the state of affairs ,at some point, by thinking allowed as to what to do with the excess money in the treasury!
What really happened along the line to change our fortunes?
Interrogating above issues dispassionately brings out my thesis to be thus:
1. Ineptitude, corruption and mismanagement plunged us into the present quagmire.
2. Nigerians must all wake up to the realization of this and take decisive action beginning with electing credible people to lead us in 2023 and finally charging them to finally and definitely stem insecurity!
3. We must scrutinize the antecedent of an aspirant,by ascertaining how he or she was able to purchase the necessary Contest Forms as well as expression of interest before entrusting them with leadership at any level.
4. Nigerians must not allow the use of money or any form of inducement to persuade them to vote for any inappropriate or incompetent persons henceforth.
5. Nigerians must all come out emnasse to cast and protect their votes to ensure that the people they voted for emerge victorious and not unwittingly swapped by corrupt umpires!
6. Nigerians must expose corruption rearing its head in all matters such as judicial,governance, legislation, and especially around election going forward to ensure good and sustainable governance and thereby attaining sustainable prosperity.
7. Nigerians must insist on accountability and transparency from all those given responsibility by showing resentment to any display of ill-gotten wealth by anyone no matter how highly or lowly placed.
During the course of this year’s Ramadan we have all experienced,first hand, the pangs of hunger and thirst similar to what the majority of our poor compatriots go through every day to warrant a change of mindset on Nigeria’s governance going forward.
This among other ills in all facets of our society and daily living gave me the impetus to outline the above in the hope that it will help to stir empathy in the hearts and minds of those of us saddled with the responsibility of bequeathing a better tomorrow to our Children, Grand Children and great grand children!
Arc Kabir Ibrahim,FNIA,
All Farmers Association of Nigeria(AFAN)