Leaders of Tomorrow: 60 Years Of Nigeria’s Togetherness {First Edition – 2022}

Not everyone realizes the pride that comes from being a citizen of the largest indigenous black nation on earth. Although, our togetherness may have been an instrument for easy administration by the colonialists, we have been left today with an enigma that its subsistence and growth spells greatness for the African continent.

There is no society without its problems; therefore, the Nigerian society has been repeatedly hit with myriads of conflicts which have been paid in innocent blood and large scale destructions that brought the nation to its knees. Although the country is no longer in a civil war, corruption endemic has apparently taken over and has perpetually hampered the growth of the nation beyond petty religious and tribal sentiments while promoting nepotism, incompetence and politics of calumny.

There is always going to be injustice in a society that promotes inequity. Injustice breeds contempt and places citizens at a dilemma which was succinctly explained in John Locke’s exposition of the choices before citizens in unjust regimes.

There is no saint in the entity called Nigeria as every unionist in the clime has engaged in activities necessary for their own survival within the amalgamated federation since independence. This includes political alliances, subterfuge, stirring the polity, media attacks, spread of fake information and outright abuse of state instruments under their political control for the good of their region above the rest.

But, despite the difficult challenges facing the country, those who believe the unity and progress of the country lies in appreciation of the heterogeneous diversity of the polity have a solid point. This stems mostly from the fact that the things that divide us are petty at best compared to the greatness which we know the country is capable of achieving if it can let go of hypocritical ideologies within the Nigerian democratic practice.

The return to democracy in 1999 may have offered the country a lifeline from the myriads of successive coups that once plagued the country. However, the inability of successive governments to realize the fragility of the unity which is based mostly on ethnic interest above national ideologies is proving to be a dangerous cankerworm that has now threatened the very fabric of the nation’s existence. As stated above, injustice will always perverse a society that promotes inequity and corrupt practices.

What Are the Inequities and Injustice Being Promoted in Nigeria?

We can always take a dive into the nation’s number one instrument of sovereignty, the 1999 Constitution as Amended. The general consensus is that the one thing that should have made the union a progressive one is actually the main impediment to its growth. A look at the constitution reveals that the makers serially chose to absolve politicians of accountability by making the benchmarks of their elections into political offices non-justiceable. A cursory glance at the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy under the 1999 constitution as amended spells doom for our democracy. That single provision has practically given the elected officials a leeway into mistaking political offices as their private enterprises.

    The other day, the governor of a northern state called upon the Joint Admissions Matriculations Board to stop giving preferential treatments to candidates from the north. It is no longer news that the southern and northern parts of the country operate different grading system in the same country which purports to promote equality by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

On the surface, it may seem like the educationally disadvantaged states are being helped to stand a chance of getting admitted into the higher institutions, but the disparity in knowledge will always continue to show in the long run. When observed in line with Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution as Amended, you realize it is blatant discrimination to favour a citizen against the other based on academic intelligence and performance to organized tests.

Organized tests are admittedly not the ultimate test of knowledge, but they are based on materials which are made available and taught to all prospective candidates within stipulated periods. Choosing to discriminate with scores is a pure judgment on the failed educational system. It’s not a must that everyone must go to tertiary institutions after the senior secondary school training stage. However, lowering the scores to enable incompetent and unprepared candidates gain admission is a future certified disaster waiting to happen. For all we care, the reverse could have been the case, and the South could have been the beneficiaries of this backward policy. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who is being advantaged with it, the practice is wrong and breeds injustice and all sorts of despotic tendencies.

There are so many ills to talk about that this write up may not have the time to address, but the Nigerian masses deserve the best.

I have been to a lot of places in Nigeria. I grew up in a rural area at Owerri before moving to Aba. I studied at Abia State University, Uturu. I did my Law school one year program in Abuja and served my fatherland in the furthermost Northern region of Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State. I am currently in Lagos State trying to eke out a living. I know firsthand what it feels like to be an average and poor person in Nigeria.

From my own travels and living around the country, all I see are ordinary citizens trying to live their life in peace. Far above the religious and tribal sentiments, everyone is just trying their best to make ends meet and survive till the next day.

Unfortunately, the so called representatives are not making it easy for the common man. By their willful greed, providing basic infrastructures to improve the country’s material and human resources into capital producing resources has become a tool of campaign promise and stomach infrastructure politics. By their ineptitude, crass politicking and negligence, the country invariably continues to spiral out of control, causing many to start cutting corners in order to make ends meet.

   Admittedly, governance is not easy and uneasy is the head that wears the crown. But, to whom much is given, a lot is also expected of them. A government is better off having only four critical agendas that fixes key infrastructures which it can start and complete within four (4) years than over bloated promises which are mere political gimmicks to gain access to national resources and to sustain their oligarch frivolities. It becomes disheartening that despite the obvious facts, the wrong priorities and white elephant projects continue to compete for national relevance.

Above all, the problems bedeviling the country are systematic and therefore can be corrected with the right political willpower, enabling laws and supportive environment. Among other things, accountability must rule. But, the ability to make elected officials accountable also lies in a free judiciary independent of the executive and who are not afraid to perform their constitutional duty. A weak judiciary is doomsday for us all.

At 60yrs of age, it’s time to assess where we are so as to plot a map for a just society where peace and justice shall reign in the future.

By Oha Michael Odinaka, Esq.

Email: ohamichael5@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s