Friday, December 18, 2009

Mo Adefeso sends in her essay. She is one deep Nigerian.

What I think is currently wrong with Nigeria
and my thoughts on solutions to address the problem.
Mo Adefeso. April 2008

Most of Nigeria’s major problems - lack of adequate healthcare, falling standards of education, institutionalised corruption, rampant crime, poor transportation, insufficient energy and power provision and disregard for the rule of law - are the ripple effects of fundamental structural problems which originated long before the current dispensation.

Nigeria as a geopolitical entity was created without sufficient consideration for the existing governance structures that characterized the different communities. Successive governments, most of whom were military, focused on the creation of a pseudo-federation, and economic reforms which were not strategically thought through. The resultant devastating effect on Nigeria’s socioeconomic wellbeing has only recently begun to be addressed. There however continues to be little individual commitment to the greater good because that greater good appears non-existent. Citizens have become more concerned with meeting their own needs –often through unscrupulous means, because it is natural to become disenfranchised with a system that disregards human dignity and continues to fail its subjects.

In democratic Nigeria of today, geographical representation at the executive level of government (ministerial appointments) is still erroneously perceived as representative democracy. In addition, the average Nigerian has been socialized not to demand accountability from the leaders he/she has elected (or ever so often that have been selected to govern) and even partakes of the gains of their leaders’ corrupt practices. Our value system has been skewed to the extent that examination malpractices are viewed as ‘simply helping’ each other and the collection of bribes by police officers is considered as routine practice. No community can thrive without adequate mechanisms to enforce the rule of law. In Nigeria today, law enforcement systems which were systematically weakened by several incompetent governments, continue to be challenged. We have a crisis of leadership but there is no crisis of leadership without a corresponding crisis of followership, for people get the leadership they deserve either by their action or inaction.

There is a need for a strategic plan to identify each of the interrelated facets of our societal existence which have been corroded over the years and develop a holistic and systematic approach to correct these. As a people, we must not only acknowledge the mistakes of the past but also take responsibility for our continued exacerbation of same by our mindset and actions. If we are indeed to take a place amongst the world’s leading economies, we must begin to question our national identity, collective priorities and value systems. It is however worth remembering that Nigeria is a nation in transition and historical analyses of the evolution of many ‘developed’ nations reveals that these also passed through phases such as Nigeria is currently undergoing. The solutions to our challenges, though simple, are difficult to implement due to vested interests of those who benefit from the status quo. What is urgently needed is a generation of leaders with a clear and unified vision for the country and its citizens; leaders of all ages and in all spheres of endeavour who would learn from past failures of the country, dare to challenge the status quo, and collectively build and strengthen institutions which would outlive personalities.

- by Mo Adefeso

3 comments:

DonCasiragi said...

It is hard to disagree with this point of view. Basically, we've been attempting to build something on nothing! Hence, I think trying fix roads, electricity etc. is a losing proposition in Nigeria of today.

Of course, one recognize the need for stop gap measures while the social fabric is restored; but I truly believe that only a truly bold visionary leadership that can get Nigerians back to square one to determine the nature, shape and structure of the country they want, as well as a restoration of the social contract between the governed and the governors, will truly solve fundamental problems that bedevil us over a long run. Some call it national conference, others call it a dialogue. I however believe strongly that you cannot create a progressive nation without some sort of determination by its constituents on these fundamental questions.

Of course the alternative is a benevolent dictatorship, where I happen to be the dictator! God Bless Nigeria.

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