Color of Hope

by Yahaya Balogun

There is general uneasiness and peace of the graveyard in Nigeria. The current state of the nation is disturbing to all concerned citizens who genuinely believe in the structural giant and greatness of Nigeria among the comity of nations. Beyond the shores of Nigeria, every learned and well-informed person understands the enormity of our resources and nature given potentials, but the burdens of rule still rest squarely and very much with leadership. The world is stunned with Nigeria’s ugly repetitious history and also the ways our leaders continue to mismanage and flaunt our endowed resources with impudence.

The birth of Nigeria in 1960 as an independent nation was a mixture of reflections and honeymoon, this compelling attraction of independence was brief but memorable. Ambitious plans were launched; nigerian leaders, riding the highest point of popularity, sauntered with indefatigability and enthusiasm to tackle the tasks of economic development and nation-building. Green, white and green depicted hope and peace. Aspirations and expectations were high; lustrous young men and women gradually moved to the top in all spheres. The state of intense happiness and self-confidence permeated everywhere by the bountiful manifestoes of nationalist politicians jostling for power and positions to provide qualitative education, healthcare, employment and good infrastructural amenities. Shortly after our independence, Nigeria entered economic boom with flourishing agriculture for domestic consumption and exports. The demand for cash crops and other agricultural products soared the prices of these goods in the international markets. In the early 60s, western nations were competing to give financial aids in form of grants or cheap loans to African countries including Nigeria. The country was thriving in the euphoria of food production, self-sustenance and sufficiency in other non-agricultural sectors. Between 1960 and 1980s, Nigerian terms of trade grew more than one hundred percent, one of the highest in African countries and the masses enjoyed social, political and economic tranquility.

The world focused attention on Nigeria for trades, commerce and research. Most universities in developed nations offered various courses on Nigeria and African renaissance. Our nationalist leaders looked forward with pride and enthusiasm to African greatness, Nigeria was a beacon of hope, opportunities and aspirations for young africans who wanted to better their horizons and achieve self-actualization. But the dawn of a new era came for the worst through the interregnum and intrusion of the Military by usurping power of elected government and things fell apart and the central could not hold since then. After the military dictatorship and misadventure in power, General Olusegun Obasanjo handed power to another elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari only to be usurped again by another military insurgence and the consequence of which the country was impugned with free for all political instability, corruption, unemployment and economic depression. There is general apathy on the part of credible, sincere and well-informed Nigerians to aspire to political office thus paving way for mediocre politicians we now see in all governing institutions.

It is so appalling that the country institution of learning has suffered immensely from dilapidation of structural amenities through lack of maintenance. The academic staff union and federal government are always at loggerhead with each other over issues of staff salaries and welfares. Nigeria has witnessed unprecedented brain-drain in its institutions of higher learning, and the adverse effect of which permeates our socio-political and economic lives. Intelligentsia and bright young Nigerians in diaspora are contributing immensely to economic development of other countries. Judging from this writer point of views, Nigeria is hugely endowed and intellectually equipped to compete favorably with any developed nation in the world, but it has underutilized its resources through corruption and bad leadership.

United States of America we see as a world leader and a beacon hope for humanity is not better than Nigeria, the only difference is that of genuine spirits and sense of patriotism as imbibed from generation to generation of American leaders, which remain the unified factors for its uniqueness and greatness. In spite of its vulnerability to natural and man- made disasters, the swift response of authority and various agencies to each event is commendable.

Any nation or institution, irrespective of their endowed resources which lacks good leadership is bound to experience waste of resources; all sorts of social ills will ultimately fail the country in its quest to create an egalitarian society.

Nigerians are very resilience, talented with hardworking and faithful people. Irrespective of our religious differences and ethnic jingoism. Hope is in the horizon as the country is awash with unblemished color of hope for a better tomorrow. One is completely miffed to note that solutions to Nigeria problems are so simple that we only need a transformational and contextual leader to solve these self-inflicted problems; an idealist leader with vision and pragmatic approach that will revive and re-awake the spirits of our fore-fathers and Nationalist leaders whose agenda was a Nigeria with limitless opportunities, hope, aspiration and justice for all.

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