Oseloka H. Obaze shares his perspective as Nigeria turn 59.
Has Nigeria as a nation done well at 59.
OHO: Anyway the answer is proffered, it will be relative. The perceptions and standards will always vary due to unmet expectations. We have done well by clinging together against all odds, by the nation not imploding. But we have not done well by way of development and accommodation of broad interests of segments of the nation. As a person from the south east, I feel that our other compatriots believe they can contrived conducts that offend every sensibility of decency and equity and get away with it. They continue to ignore the call for restructuring; some day something will snap and it will be too late for all concerned. We need not walk down that road to perdition .
What was it that the leaders have done wrong.
OHO: Indifference and not putting history and experience to use are as dangerous as impunity in any circumstance. Our leaders are seemingly indifferent to glaring national challenges. Achebe said our trouble is leadership; he was partly right, our trouble is also the followers. We put bad leaders in. We reelect them. Then we turn around an complain when they don’t deliver. There is need for shared responsibility in nation building. Any leader, elected or appointed must strive to make a difference by making sacrifices and lifting beyond their weight. For now our notion of leadership is rather pedestrian; we are content with mediocre leaders, and that is dangerous.
What do you think is the way forward?
OHO: We need leaders at the federal and state levels, in the private and public sectors, who can borrow from history elsewhere to make our nation and people better. President Lyndon B. Johnson of the U.S. enunciated the doctrine of the The Great Society in 1964, aimed at the total elimination of poverty and racial injustice. Subsequently, every administration regardless of party affiliation piggybacked on that platform to address the nation’s education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation needs. The rest, as they say is history. We can replicate such mindset here. That may be the way forward.