It is going to be difficult for you to understand the mood or the spirit of this piece you are about to read if you are not bothered about this country. If you see all the loopholes and the rot that are obvious even to the blind and you see an opportunity to enrich yourself, you will also find it difficult comprehending this piece, so just do yourself a favour and stop reading so you can use the next few minutes for other things you might find productive.
When King Solomon said the words, “With more knowledge cometh more sorrows”, I never really figured out the practical implication of what he meant. It was until recently that it dawned on me. Nigeria is a perfect case study for this phenomenon. With more knowledge of the politics and the rot everywhere and why those things are the way they are, comes more sorrows in its fractions. To remain optimistic and bothered at the same time becomes your lot and you are forced to reconcile your mental status with the provision of answers as to what and what can be done or might be done idealistically to pull this country out of the quagmire it is in.
Another option is to give up on the country and carve out a path for yourself in such a way that NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, YOU ARE REGARDED AS SUCCESSFUL no matter what goes on in your surroundings and your society. Usually, the easiest path is leveraging the opportunities that are available outside the borders of the country and simply moving on with your life. The fact however remains that the land of your fathers remain in a state that no adjective can perfectly qualify and there is nothing you would have done about it.
I have heard various pathways for us to follow in building the kind of Nigeria that our parents and grandparents could not leave for us, for our children and still, I am yet to be convinced that we would achieve our task of leaving a better country to our children than our parents did. You see, I am bothered about the next 10 years and how it affects the next twenty. By then, my children are old enough to start asking me why the state of the country is the way it is and what I and my generation have done about it.
Today, I see a lot of young Nigerians trying to put things in order in one way or the other in their own capacity and I must say here and now that everything that everyone in this category is currently doing matters and contributes one way or the other in getting us to that Nigeria of our dreams. The civil society is filled with so many young passionate Nigerians who are trying to show to the oldies who have monopolised the resources and the government structure that building a prosperous country is not magic. The private sector is another bigger field where you get to see individuals who are strong people in their own right and as powerful as they can be in their various sectors and everywhere you look, every sector you observe except the public sector has young people under 35 doing great and literally taking over.
The problem however is, the PUBLIC sector gets to decide every other sector. No matter how brilliant you are as a business manager or an investment guru or a civil society maestro or a development consultant, the nature of the public sector dictates all the rules every other person follows. Unfortunately, we don’t find young vibrant people taking over this sector. We have abandoned our societal fates in the hands of those who are not as reform minded as we are. We have neglected our institutions and our systems to people who do not care about its ripple effects on us and our children and we continue to lament that our systems are bad. We all practically radiate our passion for education and adult literacy and all we can do is set up non-profit organisations that teach hundreds of adults in a year and leave the education boards and ministries to people who are politicians and cannot reconcile education and literacy. We say our environments are not conducive for investments and business and quote indexes where we are ranked as low as crust of the seafloor and the best we can do is organise entrepreneurship programmes and fund-granting schemes to one thousand ‘lucky’ youths every year to compete in a system that is designed to frustrate the entrepreneur while we have teas and cocktails with those who refuse to make the policies that will affect the ease of doing business. What we are all engaging in right now is the same thing that our fathers did. They looked and said they would survive no matter what the system offered. They challenged the system and the institutions to a duel and the systems and the institutions replied with a degradation that continues even up till tomorrow morning. We, the children are repeating the same feat. We are continuing the tradition and following in the footsteps of onlooker–ism.
We think we can change this country by doing the little we can do and leaving the rest for the ones who are coming behind so that in say 25 generations, our country will be at least better than what it is right now. But , I am sorry, in 25 generations, the world will be way gone into the future we would no longer be considered a part of it and the stories we would have left behind is how we lamented and complained and refused to respond to the urgency of political system reforms that kept staring us in the face.
Back to the solutions, I must first say, there are no magic wands and a process of CHANGE in the quality of lives of the people will require a process of reforms and rebirth, a process that cannot be shortcut. Having said that, I must say categorically that there are no non-political solutions to the problems of this country. The problem we have in the Nigerian Society is a political problem and it can only answer to a political solution. I apologize to those who think we can pray ourselves out of the situation we are as a country, or we can socialize ourselves out or we can philanthropist-ize ourselves out or we can altruist-ize ourselves out of these problems. We cannot! There is no amount of good we can all start to do today that will ensure that we achieve a better Nigeria for our kids if we still have a bad political system. For every good step that an NGO makes in trying to impact the immediate society, a bad political system draws it back 10 steps and we cannot all create NGOs and have access to funds that will bring about the intended impact. Our Problems as a country are political problems and as such require political solutions. Don’t get it twisted!
Again, this is not to say that those who are in the business of impacting society by the little they can do in their environments should stop. I would have been misquoted. The point I am trying to make is simply that our bad political system requires as much attention as we have given to civil society, the private sector and the entertainment sector. Nigeria needs a political caucus that will comprise of the best minds that we can afford who will tackle the political problems that we have in this country and provide solutions and action plans that we all can rally round and help bring to fruition.
To this generation of under 35s, I plead, Please let us not neglect our political systems for the time when we all make money and hope we would come back and invest that money to change the country, the same way our fathers did. It will not happen. Please, see this as a clarion call for a caucus who will be ready to put in the time and the efforts into the political system in the bid to reform that sector like every other sector is been taken over.
I believe this generation is best placed to hand over a better Nigeria to the next generation.
We have an opportunity. Let us not be an onlooker, Let us take it.
I tweet @juded27
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