A NATION AT DEVELOPMENTAL CROSS – ROADS
I was one of the incurable optimists that believed in the concept of building a prosperous and richly diversified economy from the confetti of National derivatives, such as rich culture, numerical strength of population, arrays of talents and ingenuities, resilience of an untiring people and God given natural endowments.
But with the recent tidal waves of events hitting us hard from every quarter, my optimism is fast declining like a furious water fall flowing impatiently, with a cascading swiftness from a tall mountainous cliff. From youth restiveness in the creeks of Niger Delta to religious insecurity on the plateau-where men have turned to emergency carnivores that satisfy their appetite with the dead flesh of mostly women and crunchy delicate bones of lifeless babies- the story is dismal, from agitations eventuated by quest for judicious control of resources to full blown guerilla warfare in the guise of militancy, the enfant terrible youths of Ogbunike cave to no-holds barred kidnapping in the entire East, the story has not changed, from the protracted hide and seek game about the health status of our president to the 'dog-eat-dog' mentality of the political class, the story culminates to a heightened crescendo.
Hitherto, there had been questions, insinuations, reservations and doubts as to whether Nigeria had the capacity and capability for development within the context of some very unique national situation such as her unpalatable position at birth, the heterogeneity of her constituent parts, the lack of commitment of her leadership and the near or total absence of abiding faith in the Nigeria project on the part of the led. These questions are popping up again, this time, with an unmitigated tenacity and intensity.
Fears have also been raised in several quarters as to whether Nigeria can ever develop again especially now that there is economic recession of a global dimension, corruption, injustices and democratic dishonesty. These questions flow from the realization that the greatness of any nation is primarily hinged on the three pronged indices of development, management and control of its virile workforce and inherent Godly heritages. To capture it in a better light, real and progressive development would continue to elude us until the leaders and the led understand the dire need to constructively and meaningfully engage labour, talents, time, natural resources and energy in our collective quest or drive towards economic and social emancipation and fulfillment.
Vision 2020-20 is today the language everybody speaks, even the toddler still strapped on his mother's back may not be unaware of that mantra. The leaders must go beyond propaganda and political showmanship.
The vision 2020-20 should not just be about a bogus white elephant project that is perpetually on the drawing board, it , is not about the sensational grandiloquence of a sly political class, it's not about the quixotically ideology of an over zealous pedagogue, neither is it about the 'immediacy' philosophy of an aspiring political office holder, who does not think about the 'next generation but about the next election'
The young school leaver, for instance, who is now forced to make do with riding okada, several years after graduation because of non-existing job opportunities may have a different understanding of the word development. To the young Nigeria widow-whose husband's life has been cut short through an industrial accident, no thanks to the inhuman and denigrating conditions of the workforce and the work environment-development simply means availability of the next meal for her starving children, for the budding young undergraduate- who is the eye and heart beat of his tragically indigent parents-overcoming the prohibitive hurdles of outrageous school fees, sexual harassment by lecturers and unconducive learning environment are tasks that must be achieved. The unskilled artisan who ekes out a living on a constant and subsistent basis identifies with the term development, only and when it ensures that there is a constant electricity supply for his business to thrive.
It is evident then that the concept of development should be a functional word that offers a new lease of life to anyone that seeks its somnolent succor. A developed nation is only interested in providing electricity, water, shelter, food basic infrastructure, education etc for her citizenry. A developed nation is only interested in creating an enabling environment that stimulates competitive productive activities aimed at improving the lots of the populace, and also creating an environment that is free of rancor, strife, religious crisis, sectional contentions and tribal friction.