Nigeria is an amazing and glorious country. It is one with so much potential that it makes one breathless thinking about what it could be when as a country we allow ourselves to blossom and take ownership of our greatness. The world awaits us.
In raising Nigeria to glory, we have to have a mindset that is positive and accepting and tolerant of the fact that we are a Nation of diverse people and accepting our diversity as it is and looking at how we can harness the strengths in our diversity while acknowledging and respecting our differences. We must be ready to accept the uniqueness of everyone and know that even though we might differ in our culture, beliefs, and thoughts, but we occupy the same entity called Nigeria which is our collective responsibility to make it not just work but be a glory among Nations.
We must not “love” each other, but we must have respect for the human life and every life matters.
We must do away with the generational hatred that has been handed over to successive generations making them hate or dislike or be suspicious of the other. We must learn to view ourselves as citizens who matter to its country and Nation.
I often ask people “Who really do you think you are? You are who you are today because your parents told you so. What if they were to tell you that you are not what you think you are but another? What if they told you that you were adopted and you happen to be that tribe that you dislike so much? What would you do?”
We must learn to accept our diversity and work towards a common goal. Great Britain is one example that comes to my mind anytime I think about how diverse people can work together. It’s so diverse and looking at their history of antagonistic wars they have been able to come together in spite of their diversity and make a country work with each retaining its uniqueness. The Scots are as different from the Welsh the same way the English are different from the Irish. But the people have made conscious effort to make things work there and in the process flourish enough to have the world come over.
This brings me to my next point on making Nigeria glorious. We need to allow regions work at their own pace and style. Let’s have a loose federation. Let’s have the regions owning themselves and contributing to the federation. This would breed healthy competition and a sense of ownership instead of lumping all together and forcing some to go at a slower pace or others at a faster pace and route than what they would want and in the process building up frustration all around and lack of motivation and patriotism.
We need to all sit-down and have that Nigeria talk and look at it as our personal entity that we all must contribute to as best as we can rather than as a no man’s entity that we all must rip from and take as much away as is the case today.
A nation can never grow more than the minds of the people that work for it or in its system. We cannot have a glorious Nigeria without a glorious civil service. The civil service needs to be overhauled totally. A new set of people brought in based on a merit-based employment. Nations that are working today have their best minds in the civil service. What we have today is more of a welfare system rather than civil service. What do we do with those in the civil service many would ask? Pay them off I would say.
The educational system has to also be overhauled to fit the information age we are in today which is gradually giving way to the intelligence age. We cannot continue to have an educational system that is modeled towards catering for the industrial age that is long over as we once had Stone Age. Focus and emphasis must be put towards early school education to secondary school education
State of Origin should be replaced by Place of residence. Where you stay, and the contribution you make should be more important than the place your ancestors were born. Federal character continues to undermine merit and excellence and breeds incompetence lack of motivation and patriotism
As a nation, we must actively work on a more educated and informed populace. We must ensure no one is left behind as anyone left behind is a potential risk to all. We must come to the acceptance that sadly we must have a “lost population” that would have to be managed and focus on the next generation. We must have a cut-off generation of let’s say five years and below who would be given free and quality education. A new breed of teachers would be used with this generation. Qualified and motivated teachers who would have to pay to rival the best paid in the country. This generation of teachers and students would develop the human capital for the great country Nigeria is going to be.
To attain glory, essential and social services must be provided by the State which can boost employment and give quality of life to the people and that would also mean that there is no excess money about for those with quick hands to pick from. By providing services, many would be employed and monies judiciously used.
Not many people want to fly all over the world or own exotic cars. Many just want decent accommodation, quality and affordable food, healthcare, transport system and free quality education for their children and we have all it takes to provide that in Nigeria.
Nigeria would not attain glory if we continue to drag State of Origin, Catchment Area, Quota System, Cut off mark based on states, Federal Character and other criteria as such. We must drop some and replace some. State of Origin should be replaced by Place of residence. Where you stay, and the contribution you make should be more important than the place your ancestors were born. Federal character continues to undermine merit and excellence and breeds incompetence lack of motivation and patriotism. If some feel marginalised, then they should take up the challenge and build up human capital through education. We cannot continue to sacrifice Nigeria at the altar of making all feel good. It’s high time we rest Federal Character. In popular social media parlance “Who Federal Character don epp.”
It would not be easy to get things to work. It would be a hard grinding work and sometimes be frustrating, but then nothing good comes easy we all know, but at the end, we would all be collectively amazed at what we would have achieved in a Nation that some are on the verge of giving up on. That our parents handed us a failed or failing Nation doesn’t mean we have to do the same to our children. Let’s all get up and get going. It’s our collective responsibility to raise Nigeria to glory
Happy 57th Nigeria
•Hajiya Aisha Yesufu, housewife, co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, group. Relatively unknown until the April, 2014 kidnap of the Chibok Girls, Mrs. Yusuf has poured time and resources in championing the interest of the kidnapped girls and other victims of forced enslavement in the country.
Unlike many activists, Mrs. Yusuf is largely non-partisan throwing stones at anyone who she sees as an impediment to the liberty and freedom of her fellow human beings.
Link: The world is waiting for Nigeria – Aisha Yesufu