Nigeria: Path to a New Beginning

At the end of every fiscal or financial year, businesses , organizations including complex organizations take stock of their performance and review the extent to which they achieve organization goals during the fiscal year. This become necessary because it affords the organization the opportunity to see its true picture in terms of viability, relevance to the public and potentials for growth.

This appraisal is usually performed by experts in the areas of the business or organization’s interest. Such expert must be blunt, resourceful and analytic. The outcome of the review must be independent of the influence of the contracting organization/ business or the evaluator’s bias. It must address the patterns of current operation and offer suggestions and logistics for future growth.

The Management or the leadership of the business/organization, if genuinely interested in its future success, will take the suggestions of the reviewer (Expert) and apply the recommendations to the operation of the organization in the year after.

Nations are not exactly run like business enterprise or interest specific organizations. Yet, strategy that are employ by business/organization to ensure success and growth could be applied to government at all level to ensure overall improvement and efficiency. Nigeria is blessed with qualified human resources that is capable of running good government. Technocrats and Bureaucrats alike. This caliber of distinguished professionals and experts exists in every area of human endeavor and are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in any part of the world.

Regrettably, the leadership of Nigerian government has been consistently misappropriating this available human resources to the detriment of the nation’s development. This carelessness can at least be described as putting a square peg in a round hole. Government record of various office holders, past and present justify this conclusion. For example, a semi-illiterate business man and a political profiteer was appointed as a commissioner for health in one of the south-western states in the Second Republic, A “goro- merchant malam” was once appointed to head the Ministry of Establishment , A Professor of Sociology once headed the Ministry of Finance, Professor of Virology once headed the Ministry of Petroleum, A Professor of Pharmacology is the present head of the Ministry of Information and Communication etc.

Some of the appointed commissioners and ministers struggled to make impact, in spite of the misplaced priority and the political pressures from party affiliation and god-father’s expectations. Arguably, if the right caliber of professionals and experts are appointed on merits and positioned in appropriate/relevant ministries, definitely their input would be better compared to what the wrongly placed appointees delivered. It is in the interest of the nation therefore that individual political appointees should be placed in a position that is relevant to their areas of expertise.

Nigerian political leaders, especially the leaders of government business should henceforth consider and prioritize national patriotism when appointing public office holders. It is evident that most political office seekers are not seeking political office to serve, rather they are looking for opportunity to access and steal from the treasury. They do not have concern for the masses which they represent. Their selfishness often go unchecked because of the high level of illiteracy, poverty, fear of repression and political apathy. But Nigerians can not continue to live in fear. The citizens must not compromise their liberty for safety. It is the duty of the government to protect his citizens without taking away their freedom. If any government think or act in the contrary, such regime must be voted out and replaced with a more human and responsive government. In so doing, the masses would send a message to the elected public office holders that electoral power belong to the people.

Nigeria’s continuous existence as as a successful nation state is contingent upon the resolute commitment of all Nigerians to live up to their civic responsibilities. The furore and funfair surrounding the 50 years of political independence is enough. There is need for a concerted effort to review our success and failure as a nation state. The past is a story told. Nigerian government need to review and reflect on its past achievements and failures. Lessons therefrom should be applied to future planning if the mistakes of the past are to be avoided.

There is little or nothing to write home about the last 50 years of political independence. However, as an optimist nation, the journey of the next 50 years needed to be well planned beginning immediately. There must be an overhaul of the existing democratic structures. Necessary corrections must be put in place. The nation must invest in institutions and not individual as we experienced in the last half a century. A vigorous and drastic reorientation of the political and government office holders must be made. The mentality of “national cake” and perception of political office as an avenue of wealth acquisition must be challenged. Equity and fairness must be the standard of compensation and renumeration of elected/appointed officials and the career civil servants. Party affiliation and politicking should not create economic disparity between two people with identical qualifications that performs the same job. The situation whereby the members of the National Assembly gulp about 25 percent of the Nation’s recurrent budget is unreasonable and should be repudiated..

Election is a powerful tool of the electorate to express their mind in a political process. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure that the 2011 election is successfully organized and conducted. Every vote must count and be counted. The fraudulent history of Nigeria elections from Chief Michael Ani in 1979 to Professor Maurice Iwu in 2010 could no longer be tolerated. Nigerians will no longer permit cancellation of any free and fair election. No single individual should have the absolute power to nullify election in the country. Electoral Officers hence forth should be put on oath of office. The oath to organize, supervise and declare a fraud-free election result. If any electoral officer violate this term, such officer should be prosecuted in the court of law. Maximum sentence is recommended not excluding death penalty. This would serve as a check and warning to Electoral officers who falsify electoral results and make fool of the masses decision.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigerian Professional Organizations, NANS and other Trade Unions should be alert and constitute a watch-dog to monitor all election process and procedures. The Press and the Judiciary are especially encouraged to stand to their constitutional and ethical duties. While the former is advised to report honest and unbiased information, the later is advised to dispense justice without fear or favor. The era of “brown envelope ” that corrupt accurate and honest report should be discarded and the age of selling justice to the highest bidder should be abolished. The success of Nigerian nation is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians; and we should not fold our hands and watch our destiny crushed by greedy politicians and their unpatriotic allied.

Alhaji Abubakir Atiku’s emergence as the Northern Consensus candidate through Ciroma led committee of Northern Elders has once again polarize the PDP; and exposed the indifference of the major players. Neither Atiku nor Jonathan can win the presidency the way thing appears. Rather than building party coercion, both are tearing the existing fragile party structures. Faction and counter factions continues to spring up, each projecting the agenda of its primary financier. The two candidates have forgotten that a house that is divided against itself can never hold. If the issue of power of incumben

cy is put aside, and NEC stand out as a neutral umpire, if every fraudulent attempt to rig the election is curtailed; neither Jonathan nor Atiku would win the presidency.

Since the self acclaimed evil genius has been rejected and forced to stepped aside for the second time by his own people; there is no evidence that he could muster enough political strength to compel the remnants of his disintegrating campaign organization to support Atiku. By virtue of Ciroma committee’s decision, IBB is second to Atiku in Northern Nigeria political order of relevance. A reality that the tooth gapped general will find difficult to accept. Governor Sola Saraki’s political clout has never moved beyond Ilorin or may be Kwara State, therefore if he has any muscle to flex, it is limited to that small region. He is considered as a flexible player. He would definitely trade his support for Jonathan’s candidacy for a Federal appointment. Gussau is never a political heavy weight. He is a new comer; his romance with power over a period of time coupled with the PDP zoning agreement and his realization of IBB’s loss of political influence informed his candidacy. He does not constitute any challenge for Jonathan.

Be as it may, whichever candidate that the PDP present as the party flag bearer must be watched closely. Record indicates that non of the two candidates could be trusted. If Jonathan can not be trusted by all members of his party for flouting the PDP zoning agreement of which he was a party, and Atiku could not be trusted by his former boss OBJ ditto PDP, yet both people with the record of untrustworthiness are being paraded by PDP as their best. The party need to be informed that Nigerians desires a president that is not deficient in honesty and would not settle for leader ship with despicable integrity.

The existing situation in Nigeria political center makes the presidency free for grab. (all things been equal). If any political party is able to provide a tested and popular candidate with record of proven integrity; if such candidate articulate programs that really addresses the needs and concerns of the masses; history will then be made, because the people would speak through their votes and a fresh prince will be enthrone. This action will put to finality the culture of crowning people from the same circle with barren ideas and frozen ideology.

The journey to the next 50 years of Nigeria political relevance has just began; and the starting point is anchored on the organization of a fraud free and fair election where credible candidates with proven integrity are the paraded for people to make their choice. The independent judiciary and an uncompromising fourth estate are of necessity.

Written by
Tunde Ali
Join the discussion

  • This is truly an excellent article on Nigeria and its path to a new beginning. These are excellent points about the changes that are necessary for the country and its government to be progressive. However the question is where do we start, and how to reverse the processes that are already in place? Or maybe educating the new and young ones who will be leaders tomorrow on the right path to take, in order to restore, restructure Nigeria and take it to the next century.

    And most definitely fair and just elections, and placing the people with experiencing in the right positions, who are not looking to enrich themselves would be a start.