Monday, 2 October 2017

Dyeing our Mosaicked Fabric

Like the approach of eventide, gradually intensifying with time, a country so dear to us is sinking gradually into a sea of trepidation, and we are quite unsure about our future. We have heard statements from very highly placed Nigerians stating very firmly that Nigeria must remain one and that the unity of Nigeria is not up for discussion. I like hearing these statements a lot because quite frankly, they are the only source of belief for me now. The Nigerian state today reminds me of an earth tremor on the verge of eruption. Whether we like it or not, our country is unstable and like every chaotic situation, opportunists prowl cunningly, seeking to take advantage where they can. At this time in our history, we must ask ourselves if we want to continue to be Nigerians.
If your answer is yes, then we can move on to the next melody of this piece. If your answer is no, then we may have lost you a long time ago and I hope you change your mind at the end of this article.

I may not know everything about our history, but at least I know how the nation Nigeria came to be through the events of the famous amalgamation of northern and southern areas in 1914. I also know a bit about our struggle with governance and the interplay between military rule and democratic rule. I still see and hear from some people who have been in government and have remained politically prominent for more than 40 years. This is strange to me because I know prominent personalities from other countries who have become internationally renowned figures through great humanitarian contributions. It would seem to me though that in Nigeria, these group of persons I speak about continuously draw relevance from our seemingly unhealthy nationhood. I am afraid to think about how deep the rabbit hole goes. Nigeria’s existence may be currently premised on all kinds of unholy internal and external alliances. We keep attributing the grand scale sophisticated acts of sabotage against our nationhood to cabals. Who are these cabals, and how have they continued to sustain their selfish interests in Nigeria? The truth is we know them, and we are witnesses to their ongoing fraternisations and the outcomes of their desires. What we don’t know however are the number of tentacles these groups of persons have developed with foreign interests and what goals they have set for themselves.

It is a fact that a house without a solid foundation cannot withstand the test of time. We have witnessed several buildings collapse in Nigeria so we all know what that means.  We have had governments run by Nigerians since 1960. We have evolved our structure of governance through the guidance of necessity over the years. History constantly reminds us of the sacrifices we have made as a nation. Even though significant conflicts in our past along political, ethnic, and religious lines are still rife in our memories, there seem to be some kind of dark matter continuously injecting the recipe for conflicts into our society. As long as we remain unstable, the leaking sources will continue to service the wants of cabal fraternities. Have you ever wondered why our constitution does not provide all the answers we want? The people who drafted and shoved it on us had a long serious thought about what it presaged for them. A constitution drafted with the inclusive will of an entirely sovereign people should be the first step in nation building. Upon such a constitution should relevant institutions be established, and systems and processes set up. We don’t have any of these. Nigeria is a nation that is coping with inadequacies in every sector.  We will continue to cope and give room to government after government to embark on trial and error roadmaps. We seem to be more concerned about the players in government than the substance of our dear nation. Through my extensive knowledge of project management, I know the significance of identifying root causes and the importance of quality assured processes. Nigeria is country blessed with great minds and very intelligent people. We have known what to do for a long time. Nothing is entirely new these days. There are documents in our archives with some of the most effective strategies to get us from where we are to a nation to be reckoned with in 10 years of committed leadership and followership.

Thank God we have democracy now. A democratically elected government is the best way to address the root causes of the structural deficiencies we are experiencing as a nation. But, there is a precondition. We must all collectively resolve to initiate and ensure the implementation of the process together. Since we all became converted democrats in 1999, we have seen our democracy become stronger, or so it seems. This conversion however should have begun with the drafting of a new constitution and a definition of the kind of democracy that would really work for Nigeria. This never happened or was not allowed to happen. Notwithstanding, it is never too late to do the right thing. Whatever kind of government we desire, it must be one that intends to thread through the arduous road which is obvious to us all. A road which has a new and acceptable constitution as an early milestone. A road which will be filled with confrontations with the gods that have emanated from the faulty inadequacies we have coped with as a nation. A road which will see our institutions, systems, and processes thrive effectively.

I met a 72 year old man some time ago. He spoke very passionately about our dear nation. One thing he said that struck me was that the African man would not see the invention of mobile phones as a miracle but would rather look out for miracles like the lame walking. He questioned Africa’s reluctance to embrace science, technology, and development as aggressively as we have witnessed in some other parts of the world. As an example, he mentioned Beijing’s ability to commute ten million people on a daily basis with underground trains that always run seconds ahead of time. He analogised Beijing with our dear Federal Capital City Abuja. He decried our contentment with underdevelopment as can be observed with our rural populace which form the majority of our population. He concluded that there was something wrong with the African mind. Africans must begin to apply home grown and adaptable scientific knowledge and technology to solve the real life human problems Africans are faced with. Actually, my conversation with him provided the inspiration for this article.

I know that some of those responsible for the mess we find ourselves in today, are still around, and continue to profit from the current situation. If the illegalities of military coups were comprehensively addressed in our constitution, maybe the political landscape would have been different today. I know Africa is a great place with great people. I know Africa has future potentials that have drawn the attention of the world. I know Africa has become a dumping ground for parallel market weapons, hypocritical ideologies, and neo-colonialism. We all are aware of the evils of terrorism and other conflicts in Africa and the increased use of sophisticated weapons. Surrounding all these conflicts and acts of terrorism are the political challenges of bilateral relations, regional collaborations, North – South collaborations, and South-South collaborations. 
On October 1 2018, the Nigerian state will celebrate yet another independence day. Would we still be divided along prismatic lines? We must remember that the backbone of a successful democracy are widely accepted and effective agreements by the affected populace. We must remember that Nigeria as a sovereign nation has serious constitutional deficiencies. We must remember that the continuity of the Nigerian state is bigger than any individual or group ambition. We must remember that we have only one country called Nigeria. Lunctus stamus, divisum declinemus!