Nigeria: Need for National Rebirth
By Mr. Kay Oluwole
The root of most political problems is economic. If we don’t fix the economy, it will be difficult to solve most of our other national problems. The economy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for solving all other national problems. Economics generally involves the generation, distribution and management of resources, primarily financial. Politics, in simple terms, revolves around who gets what (resource), why, how and when. The combination of economics and politics is the central issue of leadership and management, and the criterion most used in evaluating the success or failure of leadership. For a long time we have been mired in the cocktail of economic decline and political strife. It is time to build the state and forge a nation. As we strive to build bridges of cooperation and break down walls of division, fairness must remain our guide.
The constant instability of economic disaster, political turmoil, ravaging insecurity, erosion of national identity and threats of balkanization of the country are combined factors that lead to the loss of national spirit. Many people live on the fringes of the hand-to-mouth requirement. There is fear of real economic collapse, loss of confidence and loss of hope, which can ultimately lead to loss of patriotism. Hope, and only solid hope, will restore our lost innocence and revive our faith in politics.
Nigeria has long been identified as a country with great potential, even as a diamond in the rough. We have superlative indices of economic potential and geopolitical power for us. The country is the largest concentration of black people in the world with a population of around 207 million, the 7e most populous country in the world with a median age of 18.
Human resources in Nigeria comprise a well-educated, talented, dynamic, ambitious and adventurous workforce, presenting an enviable labor pool awaiting opportunities to participate in the country’s move towards a designation economy of choice for foreign investors and a haven for her. citizens. One in 6 black Africans is most likely to be a Nigerian. With a gross domestic product, GDP, of $432.3 billion; and a GDP/capita of $2,097.09, Nigeria is considered Africa’s largest economy.
Despite the abundance of natural resources like oil, arable land and a willing, dynamic and motivated workforce, the country remains in the quagmire of economic difficulties and political turmoil. After more than 60 years of political independence, the country has not become a nation in the proper sense of the term.
Our problems include insecurity, restless separatist unrest, tribalism, corruption, a rickety healthcare system, a sluggish economy and a crumbling foundation for a true nation. The country remains an atomistic collection of tribes, states and areas that have never come to an irrevocable agreement on the basis of its existence as a nation. There is the national question. There is the issue of leadership.
Given these stressful conditions, it is time for Nigeria to experience a rebirth or rebirth (reboot, revival, revival or reset) and seek new ways to move forward towards a more just and humane society where everyone has a chance to live a fulfilling life with human needs and security. It’s time to live like hopeful human beings and citizens of a hopeful society and not like yahoos fighting for carrion. As difficult as it may be, we must transform the economy from an unreliable rentier economy to a productive economy that will meet the needs of our burgeoning population in a competitive world.
. The Renaissance is a period, between the 14e and 17e Centuries in Europe characterized by the renaissance of culture, arts, science and economy. The Renaissance emphasized the creation of citizens capable of joining the civil life of their community. One of his major achievements was the invention of the PRINTING PRESS, while a major standard-bearer of the time was arguably the world’s most popular painting, the Mona Lisa, created by the inimitable Leonardo da Vinci.
For the country to embark on the quest for rebirth, leadership is important as it serves as the inspirational arrowhead for any rebirth or reset. For the renaissance to succeed, leadership must be visionary, competent, incorruptible, fair, just and almost sacrificial in a broad sense. Since rebirth involves culture change, it is a huge task that takes time to accomplish. Cultural change is the most difficult transformation to operate in a society. Rebirth will entail sacrifice, acceptance and pain comparable to the pains of childbirth when a baby is born again. The end result will be worth the effort and hardship.
The discovery of oil in commercial quantities at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State in 1956 transformed the country from an Agro-Federation into a Petro-Republic with lasting consequences. Since then, the country has suffered from two main ailments: Dutch disease and Stockholm syndrome. A possible third horseman, the two-year-old Covid-19 pandemic, a more-or-less global political stress test that has exposed the soft underbelly of our healthcare sector and bared the Achilles heels of a very unequal world. However, we hope that the covid-19 pandemic is temporary and will become more manageable over time.
Simply put, the Dutch disease happened with the discovery of oil. The new oil wealth led to a virtual abandonment of agriculture, until then the mainstay of the economy, leading to excessive importation of food and the concomitant depletion of hard-earned foreign exchange, deindustrialization and underemployment and the resulting massive unemployment. Stagflation (slow economic growth with high unemployment) has crept in and is now becoming a permanent feature of the economy in the face of a growing population. And yes, it’s stupid economics, always.
The second disease, Stockholm Syndrome, is more of an emotional response that is characterized by the development of trust and a positive feeling towards our abusers and our captors, primarily the political/leadership elites, the stewards of our economic resources. This response is usually made intentionally or inadvertently by allowing and celebrating the greed of the ruling elite, rationalizing its mismanagement, insincerity, rent-seeking behavior and calculated generosity with all bravado and flamboyance. who as a result.
NIGERIA is a country with immense potential due to its natural resources and its human capital. Despite our potential, we have not manifested our national destiny in the concert of nations. The country cannot remain an eternal developing Peter Pan. We need to grow and occupy our rights at the table of advanced (functioning) nations. It is time to ask ourselves why our progress is slow, lagging behind that of our contemporaries.
We cannot carry on business as usual and expect a different outcome. It’s time to take the bull by the horns, tackle our problems and make the necessary sacrifices. Management must sacrifice. Followership must be sacrificed. It has become customary to blame the traditional rulers – the president, elected members and unelected bureaucratic elites. The leadership and the followers are us. They come from our communal pool. Our collective leadership is nothing but a mirror image of our society.
To improve our current situation, we need a change that has a positive impact on our culture. Everyone has a stake in the game of building a united and prosperous nation, regardless of the many obstacles we face.
The RENAISSANCE would be initiated by the leadership at the top of which is the elected national president. The type of leadership will not matter as much as the character of the leadership. One of the reasons we lag behind our peers is that the country has never recognized a widely accepted champion of the national cause who represents the collective aspirations of the nation. Our original sin is lack of inter-tribal trust which has led to tribalism which in turn has led to our split tendencies and inability to become a nation.
The hijacked movement of the country did not start today. It started a long time ago and we have not been able to embark on a forward-looking path to place ourselves on the path to our desired destination of unity and progress. We tried the Westminster style of parliamentary democracy, it didn’t work. We were under military dictatorships for more than twenty years, this did not free us from want and deprivation. We are currently applying the presidential system of democracy, so far it has not yielded the expected results, but we are determined. It goes without saying that the problem is not with the type of government, but with us, the practitioners of the system. Certainly, if the issue is not in our stars, it must be in the way we manage our affairs, that is to say our political culture. The Renaissance will attempt a rebirth, retooling or resetting of our political culture and this will become the cornerstone of leadership.
Whether the leader of our Renaissance is a technocrat, a philosopher-king, a dotcom wizard, a political guru, an economic rainmaker, or a mixture of all, he/she must be able to relate an achievable vision to both bins -men and CEOs and peons and big business. The common man must understand and adhere to the national vision.
Leadership must combine competence and integrity because one without the other will lead to more frustration and anger. Possession of either of these two characteristics alone is a necessary but not sufficient condition for successful leadership. Every leader in our renaissance should strive to maintain the reputation of a statesman without losing that of a saint.
The original inter-tribal distrust led us to all sorts of missteps and delays. In a world that is becoming a global village, competition in all its aspects has become the watchword of progress. However, because of our mistrust, we have chosen the easy way by abandoning competitive strategies in our economic struggles, which put us in a sad state of waiting or searching for crumbs from advanced nations, sometimes bordering on begging. However, we can be both competitive and inclusive.
Our rebirth cannot be quick. It is not a revolution; it is a process that will take time. Our rebirth will gradually dry up the swamp and re-seed the field through a gradual process of regeneration and renewal. This is not a one-time job, or a two-term leader’s job. It should be an ongoing process. It must be a lasting cause, sometimes slow, sometimes hot, but never ending.
To be on the path to competitive advancement in science, technology, and the economy, our renaissance leadership must demonstrate vision, skill, and integrity. Enough political blockage. It’s time for an economic breakthrough.
* Mr. Kay Oluwole writes from the United States. E-mail: [email protected]