Wanted: A Joseph To Revive Nigeria’s Economy!

There is no denying the fact that a huge population of Nigerians are facing crushing life’ challenges at the moment, and more and more of them are getting angry as demonstrated during the EndSARS protests; even from among those who seemed to be doing reasonably well under the excruciating circumstance. The reasons for the hunger and anger in the land are many, among which are bad governance and corruption. As daily observed, insignificant minority of the people have paradoxically become very rich overnight while majority of the people are languishing in poverty, thereby creating a huge gap between the rich and the poor. As gathered,The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently released the “2019 Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria” report, which highlights that 40 percent of the total population, or almost 83 million people, live below the country’s poverty line of 137,430 naira ($381.75) per year.

The NBS report is based on data from the latest round of the Nigerian Living Standards Survey, conducted in 2018-2019 with support from the World Bank’s Poverty Global Practice and technical assistance from the LSMS program.

Against the foregoing backdrop, there is no denying the fact that our Country is in deep crisis. For the sake of clarity, a crisis is an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty. Yet, it can also be turned into a moment of grace and of a new beginning, if those responsible for causing the crisis repent, heed the cry of the people and foster a change of heart and mind, especially during the imminent Christmas and New year season.

In Nigeria today, there are leaders who literarily speak to the people with one side of the mouth, and go back to Abuja or any other location of seat of power to eat with the other side of the mouth; and there are many that are familiar enough with the power that be to speak the truth but as it seems, they are unarguably sitting on the fence. Why will they not sit on the fence when they are hypocritically feeding from the rot?

Since the hardship we have been facing began since God knows when, we have been reflecting on the situation, particularly as the hardship has in the last few years become unendurable. We have tried to understand the reasons why this is so. Personally, I have concluded that the crisis of our Country is, in essence, a crisis of governance and a crisis of leadership.

As you read, not few apologists of those at the helms of affair will ask, “Crisis of governance?” Yes, the hardship we all are collectively facing today is as a result of crisis of governance. For instance, the national health system has all but disintegrated as a result of spasmodic industrial action by medical professionals, lack of drugs, essential equipment in disrepair and several other factors.

In the educational sector, high tuition fees and levies, the lack of teaching and learning resources, and the absence of teachers have brought activities in many public schools and institutions of learning to a standstill. The number of students forced to terminate their education is increasing every month. Is it therefore not surprising that private schools are unprecedentedly mushrooming, and even charging school fees which majority of the parents cannot afford to pay?

Another challenge we are faced with in the country is that of moral crisis. It is the burden that is borne by virtually all Nigerians, especially the young ones who grow up in search of role models. The youth are influenced and formed as much by what they see their elders doing as by what they hear and learn at schools or from their peers. If our young people see their leaders habitually engaging in acts and words which are hateful, disrespectful, tribalistic, corrupt, lawless, unjust, greedy, dishonest and violent in order to cling to the privileges of power and wealth, it is highly likely that many of them will behave in exactly the same manner. The consequences of such overtly corrupt leadership behavior as we are witnessing in Nigeria today will be with us for many years, perhaps decades, to come. Evil habits and attitudes take much longer to rehabilitate than to acquire. Being elected to a position of leadership should not be misconstrued as a ticket to do as one pleases at the expense of the will and trust of the electorate.

Against the foregoing backdrop, it is not hyperbolical to say that the leadership challenges been faced in Nigeria today is not only political, economic and moral but also spiritual. This can clearly be seen from the perspective of the fact that as our naturally endowed nation struggles to find its common national spirit, not few Nigerians are reacting against the "structures of sin" in our society. Pope John Paul II says that the "structures of sin" are "rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate them and make them difficult to remove”.

To some of us in the Christendom, it is not out of place to harangue in this context that when the Roman Empire started to fall, it was due to greed, the mistreatment of slaves, murder, sexual immorality, and a spike in the rate of divorce and remarriage. It therefore suffices to say that as Rome fell, so too will any nation that swims in sin and the consequences of national sin are immense. To this end, it is germane to say that Sodom and Gomorrah went into oblivion because of deep rooted level of sins the nationals of the biblical countries were involved in. The depth of sexual immorality the nationals relished in then was preposterous, and because of that, God sent His judgment on them by fire and brimstone. In the same vein, one may not be wrong in this context to say that Nigeria has had her Christian roots choked out by sin and its roots replaced with the weeds of immorality. The Old Testament is full of nations that were destroyed due to their lack of repentance and turning to God. Just as with individuals, God will not hold any nation that breaks His laws guiltless. Does this apply to Nigeria? You may have asked. At this juncture, it is imperative to ask, “What does it mean to us in Nigeria as majority of our leaders are today enmeshed in the quagmire of corruptions and lies? There are consequences to every sin because we know that God cannot be mocked…what is sown will be reaped (Gal 6:7).

At this juncture, it is not an exaggeration to say that the present leadership crisis in our Country has its roots deep right from the colonial era. Despite the rhetoric of “Change mantra” brought about by the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, the colonial structures and institutions of Nigeria that are replete with maladministration and attendant corruption continue to persist at every level of governance in the country.

However, despite the crushing life’s challenges which we are facing at the moment, I am optimistic that Nigerians no doubt want a leader that shares similar glory and leadership qualities with the biblical Joseph.

It cannot be an overstatement to say that with the gargantuan challenges been faced by Nigeria, and consequently by Nigerians, that there is no denying the fact that a leader, like Joseph, who will have a lot of things going his way and has great dreams that can change the fortune of Nigeria will be the most qualified presidential aspirant that should be rooted for in the next electoral dispensation, specifically in 2023. To me, the era of electing inept and clueless leaders, mainly on the grounds of party, religious and tribal sentiments should be eschewed. The reason for the foregoing recommendation cannot be said to be out of place as Nigerians have suffered enough in the hands of incompetent leaders.

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Articles by Isaac Asabor