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My Reflection On Nigeria @63 - Politics - Nairaland

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My Reflection On Nigeria @63 by ajuksobi: 9:58pm On Oct 03, 2023

Ajukura, Fidelis O.
2nd October, 2023.

Nigeria, yesterday, clocked 63 years of existence as an independent and sovereign state. The journey so far has been quite tasking and challenging. On 1st October 1960, it gained political independence from Great Britain, its colonial master that saw it more as a means to an end. To the colonialists, the Nigerian state as well as other states within the African continent was a contraption that had no relevance except to serve the interest of its designers. The state of Nigeria outside the service of Great Britain, its inventor was problematic and inoperable. Everything about it moved anticlockwise. The early nationalists bickered and fought against one another over trivial issues. No sooner had the colonialists left the shores of the country that they abandoned their rhetoric of building a formidable common front and began to pursue tribal and regional domination.

As a multinational state, the new leaders were completely at a lose over how to coalesce the diverse ethnic and religious groups into a united entity. The situation was made worse by the volume of naked power the leaders wielded. Over time, they began to see themselves as gods worthy of worship. Following the glamour and grandeur surrounding such exalted positions, others began to clamour to have a feel of it. As a result, less than two years into self-rule, election crisis had started in a large scale in Lagos, the seat of government and other major cities within the Western region. This situation spread to other regions.

The Nigerian state was not built around the golden values of equality, fairness and justice but on aberrant values such as; mediocrity, inequality, tribalism, favouritism, hatred etc.

As a result of the skewed nature of the Nigerian state, the supposedly Nigerianess was discovered to be nothing but a mirage - an illusion! Nigerians felt only at home in their regions of origin. Outside their regions, they were viewed as lepers (outcasts). This situation continued unabated until a civil war broke out in 1967 (less than 7 years after independence) claiming millions of lives.

After the civil war which lasted 3 years, Nigerians haven't learnt their lesson. Rather than pursue national cohesion, leaders are busy following the same primordial political tenets that dragged the country into a needless war. After the civil war, Nigeria has recorded series of tribal and religious crisis that have claimed lots of innocent lives.

One major problem in Nigeria is the calibre of its leaders. The country, from time immemorial has been plagued by dearth of leadership. Majority of people who come forward as leaders are nothing but 'dealers' - they come to pursue their personal or selfish agenda. Leadership in Nigeria is never associated with selflessness and stewardship. The concept of leadership in Nigeria is one that deifies leaders. According to Nigeria's understanding of leadership, it is the people or followers that serve and worship their leader and not the other way round. While the people starve as a result of mis-governance, the leaders are allowed to stand tall and basking in their applause. In Nigeria, leaders do not care about the people; it doesn't matter whether they're dying or not, the leaders will never change their regal strides.

In Nigeria, leaders don't belong in the same world with the people. In the words of Aristotle, while the people belong to the polis, the leaders belong to Mount Olympus - a dwelling place of the gods. The privileges accorded leaders in Nigeria are out of this world - with the word of mouth, they can command anything they want including sending of 'prayers to email boxes'. In fact, Nigerian leaders are miracle workers: they can turn water into wine. With only one month in a leadership position in Nigeria, you're already seated on the empyrean throne. This situation has made the struggle into leadership positions extremely competitive and hellacious. Because of the power that leadership confers on its holders, many of them tend to act with reckless abandon - they behave as if they're beyond the vagaries of human life.

Elections in Nigeria are fraught with irregularities. Hair-raising frauds and evil are perpetrated before, during and after elections. Why do people undertake this arduous and tiring adventure just to win election or become a leader? The answer is in having unfettered access to wealth. Since having unquestioned wealth is the motive of going into leadership in Nigeria, the people's welfare and interest is of no significance. Against this background, the country's common wealth has been viciously plundered by members of the ruling class. The economy of the country has continued to nosedive irredeemably. It is however surprising how Nigerians are surviving in the present dispensation following the abrupt removal of fuel subsidy and its attendant effect. Today, many Nigerians are surviving by the grace and mercies of God. The economy is simply in shambles. Food has become a luxury that many homes can't afford. Staple commodities and basic services have balled out of the reach of the common man. It is a pity to say that Nigerians are now like animals marked for death in the slaughterhouse - they're only waiting for their time.

The economy of the country has so degenerated such that, on her 63rd anniversary, the exchange rate is $1 = #1,000 what a pity! Many observers are of the view that $1 may become equivalent to #1,500 in December. In the early 80's, the naira stood taller than the dollar.

One issue that has become of paramount concern to observers is the rising level of midiocrity among the people. Many of people, owing to their loyalty to their tribes and religions prefer to be in bondage. They do not care if they're dieing as long as their kins men remain in positions of authority. To such people, their tribe and religion is 'numero uno'. In this regard, credibility and competence is cast into the abyss. Even in mono tribal/religious settings, many people choose to support leaders based on empty sentiment instead of credibility and competence. The truth is that we can never get out of the mire of corruption and mis-governance if we continue to behave in this manner. Only meritocracy, objectivity and sound judgement can help us put our country in the path of greatness.

With the right mentality and attitude, our country can reclaim its lost glory as the giant of Africa.

Happy 63rd Anniversary!

Long Live Nigeria!

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