Nigeria's National Interests: A Moratorium And Change Of Tactics

by Paul I. Adujie

As Nigerians, we should constantly ask ourselves, whether Nigeria should lack anything, when in fact Nigeria has us? Should a country that has you, lack anything? Should a country that has me lack or want for anything? Of course NOT! We ought to therefore think of making Nigeria a great country is our personal and collective challenge and a task that must be done. That task should begin now, not a moment too soon.

Through the years, well-meaning Nigerians have criticized Nigerian government leaders, for good measure, these criticisms have been scalding and scorching! Criticisms deserved for the most part, particularly by those who have been responsible for our marching on same spot or running in place. It is arguably right to assert that criticisms have brought some desirable changes and reforms; Who can forget the influence and effect of NADECO on the erstwhile dictators and tyrants, formerly occupying Nigeria’s leadership seat? However, the purpose of this effort here is to suggest something different and proactive.

I make bold to suggest that Nigerian commentators, journalists and other sundry critics of government, take a well-deserved rest from their scotched-earth policy of abrasive, corrosive and caustic criticisms. At the very least a temporary respite, recess, a break or moratorium on the use of old methods or tactics.

Nigerians should experiment with a new and different tactics in the fervent pursuits of Nigeria’s national interests. Nigerians at home and abroad should partner with government, this government or the next, to achieve policy objectives, with constructive ideas, based on the individual and collective experiences, travel, exposure, education and training. We can achieve Nigeria’s common objectives and goals together, instead of at cross purposes.

We Nigerians are acknowledged by many non-Nigerians, as intelligent, even brilliant goal getters and overachievers, how then, is it that we tend to under estimate our own abilities and the powers of our ideas? Particularly, as we act as if we do not appreciate how our ideas can and must be positively brought to beneficial effects and impact on Nigeria?

Otherwise, what will be the benefit of our intellects, if we are unwilling to use our intellectual prowess for our country’s uplift and gain, as we advance our country’s national interests and objectives? What use is a genius who does not manage own affairs well? Nigerians reputations for intelligence and brilliance, ought to manage own people, materials and other resources for the utmost benefit of Nigeria.

Nigerians must act cohesively and in coherent manner, just so that Nigeria becomes the active beneficiary of our intellectual and material wherewithal; If not, what use are our possessions, if and when such possessions are not harnessed and corralled and used for our collective interests, in order that our motherland-fathered land fulfills national purpose and occupy national and international pride of place in the global scheme of things.

Our standpoint is, ought to be, and must be, that nothing else matters, when our national interests or objectives are at stake.. I will have to assume, that NADECO and others fought dictators and tyrants of the past, because our national interests are considered paramount, many well-meaning Nigerians, put their safety, life and liberties at risk, to rid Nigeria of dictators, tyrants and forms of arbitrariness. What do Nigerians think would happen?

If we were to, bring the same dedication, commitment and zeal to bear on some collective efforts for Nigeria’s economic, political and social advancements? With economic expansions, middle class expands and a consequent expansion of democratic ideals and tenets.

It is the economy, first and foremost. We are all aware that a booming economy would spur more attention to the detailed nuances of civil liberties, individual freedoms, due process, the rule of law, particularly in regard to the certainty of rules…in connection with our society’s reward and punishments methods. A vibrant economy blurs differences as it eliminates frictions.

The best kept secret about Nigeria is simply the fact that Nigerians are much more tolerant of the cultures, the religion, region and ethnicities of all others, when the economy is good. This should inform us, that the poor state of our national economy has done so much to exacerbate divisiveness that is now present in our society.

The truth is that a hungry man in Abuja, is not much different from a hungry man in Benin, Enugu or Zaria..the content political elite have so much in common, when they worry about their personal interests in relation to furniture allowance or lawmakers requests for pay for life, just as they frequently attend each other’s weddings, chieftaincy installations, funerals or all manners of service of their personal or family interests, across regions, ethnicities, religion etc similarly, the hungry poor in Maiduguri, or Ajegunle or Onitsha have hunger or desperation in common.

We can they extrapolate, that a good economy, as we have experienced in Nigeria in the past, causes religion, region and ethnic differences a matter of diversities to be celebrated, instead of viewing such, as some form of regrettable attributes. As happens is dire economic times.

A cursory reading, (even a cursory reading), quickly reveal the intellectual depth and acuity of the Nigerian elite, the luminosities of our ideas imbued in our thinking capacities, in our varied analyses and pronouncements on local, national and international issues.

We ought to proclaim a moratorium on cynicism and pessimism, no more gloom and doom mindsets. We should begin to play our parts, muster support for our alma maters or alumni starting or contributing to institutional endowments, we can make Nigeria great, one institution, one town and one process reform at a time.

But we must begin problem-solving at home, as it is often said, charity begins at home, as it was, so it still is, all politics are a matter of local interests, which is what motivated the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives to assert that, all politics, is local. It means that all debates of policies, are viewed primarily from point of local importance and impact, for it is said, where we stand on issues, depends on where we are sitting.

And that leads me naturally, to ask, where exactly, Nigerians stand in the pursuit of Nigeria’s national interests and what exactly do we do, or are we doing in pursuit of Nigeria’s national interests. If we criticize Nigeria because we want Nigeria to be good, and the reason we are sometimes caustic in our comments regarding Nigeria, is all because of our patriotic fervor, what then would happen, if we have a strategy actively engage in activities that are meant solely for the common good and greater good of Nigerians and Nigeria? When are we going to commence our efforts in this regard?

We must employ the same passion, the same fervor and dedication with which we stridently criticize Nigeria, to serve her now, and do so for a change, then, contrast the result and impact, after a set period, this is so, because of the belief, Nigeria will be better served with our vociferous advocacy on Nigeria’s behalf and we must do so, worldwide.

As Nigerians we should constantly ask ourselves, whether Nigeria should lack anything, when in fact Nigeria has us? Should a country that has you, lack anything? Should a country that has me lack or want for anything? Of course NOT! Therefore, making Nigeria a great country is our personal and collective challenge and a task that must be done and that task should begin, not a moment too soon, and the task is urgent, and it must begins now!

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segun akinyode May 4, 2005 - 1:11 pm

The problem is simply this:peoople who shuold articulate the lead are hopeful.Hopeful in the sense that they are all waiting for this group of looters to leave in 2007 so that they can take over.It is a circlical madness;everbody is in it.

Sabidde Abidde May 4, 2005 - 9:00 am

No amount of whitewash or fervent praises can change Nigeria’s culture vis-à-vis human and economic development. If we are truly serious about our country, then, we have to fight to take our country back from the band of vagabonds that currently runs it; but unfortunately Nigerians are not ready to fight mostly because the overwhelming majority sees things from the ethnic lens. Whose head do you chop off first?


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