Nigeria @61: Making Nigeria work

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Nigeria this month, 61 years ago gained her independence from the British with high hopes and expectations both from Nigerians and the international community. The hopes unfortunately have waned and the expectations dashed. It is hard to believe that in spite its abundant resources both in nature and human, the country has the highest rate of poor people in the world, yet the country is a major player in the international crude oil market, this contradiction is alarming.

Adding to this is the endemic corruption in the country. We recalled that early this year, the Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC) presented a report titled Impact of Corruption on Nigeria’s Economy to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The report revealed that corruption in the country could cost up to 37% of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) by 2030 if it is not dealt with immediately.

The resultant is not far fetched, the state of our economy says it all. Corruption naturally cripples economy and Nigeria and Nigerians seem to enjoy the illusory and short term gain of corruption which is individualistic and damaging to national development. The long-term effects that have equally been evident in Nigeria are dearth of SMEs and weak investment, especially Foreign Direct Investment.

This has contributed remotely to the heightened insecurity situation in the country. While we cannot lay the total blame of the insecurity on the aggressive prowl of corrupt Nigerians, the insensitivity of the government’s handling of the crisis and its perceived invisibility and insulation from bandits, kidnappers and other criminals push the country to its current state where both the  governed and those governing are  vulnerable.

The President Muhammadu Buhari, in his 1st October Independence Day broadcast, said the security agencies in the country have made progress in addressing new security challenges bedeviling, the country. He said the Nigerian security agencies “are taking the fight to our enemies from all angles and we are winning. He was quick to inform Nigerians that over eight thousand Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered.

“To support our surge approach to fighting banditry, the Nigerian Armed Forces have recruited over 17,000 personnel across all ranks. Furthermore, I have also approved for the Nigerian Police Force to recruit 10,000 police officers annually over the next six years.

“I am also pleased to note that most of the Air Force platforms we acquired over the past three years have started to arrive in Nigeria. These will positively impact our security operations in all parts of the country,” he said.

We are tempted to align with Mr. President’s optimism however the procurement of military hardware to prosecute war would not catapult the country to its proper place in the comity of nations; rather it would make the country a fertile ground for prosecution of wars.

To make the country great is a collective responsibility of the leaders and the led, while the leaders must lead by example by being patriotic, the led must be committed to being good followers and be committed to patriotic ideas and deeds that would move the nation forward.

Nigerians must believe in the Nigeria project and strive to make it work. All ethnic groups and in the country must have a sense of belonging and no part of the country should be seen or perceived superior to the other. Above all for Nigeria to move forward as a federation, true federalism should be practiced in principle and all practicalities.

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