No, Not A Vagabond State

by Victor Mamora

And God said, See, I have given you every plant producing seed, on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit producing seed: they will be for your food… – Holy Bible God has really blessed Nigeria with the current democratic dispensation which it took its roots in 1999. Nigeria’s abundant natural resources, human population, and large geographical area make it a potential, powerful political and economic leader among the nations of the world. In Africa, we are referred to as the giant.

That was why I wept bitterly the day I found many homeless Nigerians under the bridge at Maryland in Lagos. I discovered that in spite of the abundant natural resources, there is no effective decision making or correct application of knowledge to put such resources into good use. Thus, the challenge we face today as a nation is lack of good leadership and this is not restricted to the political class. The story is the same in majority of institutions in the country. More than ever in the history of the world, we now have many Nigerians who are striving to escape to other countries to seek better fortunes. This is an indication that the purpose of governance and leadership has been defeated.

Adam lost his effective leadership role and he ceased to enjoy the juicy resources available to his family in the Garden of Eden. Nigeria’s current situation is similar to what happened in the garden. To find the sixth largest oil-producing state among the poorest countries in the world is really a paradox. But I know it can be turned around. On many occasions, we have cited corruption as the reason for this kind of challenge. It is true as long as corruption is defined as a deliberate act of diverting state resources away from the purpose for which they were meant.

I understand the frustration the current generation faces. After acquiring education, even at the tertiary level, many youths cannot find something useful to do with their lives. In such a situation, an escape to a foreign land becomes a most tempting and desirable option. As a matter of fact, it is seen as the Canaan for Africans escaping from the scourge of ‘pharaoicist’ passing as ‘Joshua’ through many nations of Africa.

Many years ago, when some pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock 1620, they truly believed that they had been delivered by God from the yoke of their European oppressors. The last of the protestant reformers, these refugees saw themselves as the new Israelites and likened their perilous journey to that of the Jews of old who fled their Egyptian task masters. Their spiritual leader, John Winthrop, told his small flock just before disembarkation that they were ‘the chosen people’, called upon by God to be an example and light to the world.

Atonement for our current situation is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians. All we need to do is to accept that the existence of man is not without a personal responsibility to understand the principle of purpose in every aspect of life. Our ability to effectively commit ourselves to the enthronement of good governance will go a long way in making Nigeria a desirable nation to visit soon. The first contract of any leader with his people is the responsibility to effectively manage public resources for the common good of such people.

I believe a nation should be a composition of the common wealth of its citizens, not that of a mere political class. Many Nigerians seek ‘solace’ in political connection that will earn them political power and economic prosperity. This becomes their means of survival and it is made possible because those at the helm of political affairs have failed to see a nation as co-owners of a certain common wealth. Those who toil to join this class and those who can no longer endure the unhealthy acts of the political class explore another option – get a visa and leave for a foreign country where the principle of common wealth is fairly respected.

It is this same lack of functional leadership for purposeful management that usually results in a failed state where the police institution and the judiciary become frustrated in their duties of curbing the excesses of the people.

But there is a fast way of rescuing this nation from becoming a vagabond state. The government can build it into an effective ‘family’. The leaders must learn to do one new, beneficial thing per day to enhance the standard of living of the people. This must not just be decreed to be done; it must be seen to be done.

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