The Nigerian most famous and respectable novelist, poet, professor and critic, Chinua Achebe rightly said in his book “The Trouble with Nigeria” that “It is totally false to suggest, as we are apt to do, that Nigerians are fundamentally different from any other people in the world. Nigerians are corrupt because the system under which they live today makes corruption easy and profitable; they will cease to be corrupt when corruption is made difficult and inconvenient…The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigeria character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigeria land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are hallmarks of a true leadership….I am saying that Nigeria can change today if she discovers leaders who have the will, the ability and the vision”. That is a plain truth from Papa Achebe.
At fifty years of independence, it is now time to change the way we think and feel for better. It is now time for us to respond, unite and vote for the best leaders and say goodbye to inept and corrupt leaders. The wind of change is blowing across Africa and the branches of the trees must obey. If all Nigerians can come out enmasse on every election day and exercise their secret ballot right to vote for the best candidates in their units, wards, constituencies, states and collectively at the national level, a new Nigeria will definately emerge. It is always good to be reminded that just because something is unlikely to happen it does not mean that it will not happen. It almost happened on June 12, 1993 general election. Now, it is time for the change we are waiting for. This is an opportunity with a man called-Professor Jega- who will not fail the nation. This man has just shown us one of the best qualities of a good leader-accepting full responsibility. If we cannot make this change now with our votes, the country will never be able to boast of undistrupted electricity and water supply, competitive and qualitative education, up-to-date social reforms, functional democracy and good governance by the time it will be celebrating its centenary anniversary.
On a personal note, when I got to Europe few years ago, the very first thing that made me to weep for days was my imagination of sufferings of Africa people in the midst of plenty. I could not imagine that a person will be born into this world and die at the old age without enjoy those basic facilities, infrastructures, freedom, security of life, liberty, opportunities and pursuit of happiness which are our unalienable Rights endowed by the Creator. These rights cannot be taken away by any person, or state or even a country without just cause. There is non out of the forty-seven countries that make up Europe that can witstand Nigeria when it comes to natural resources and human capital. Even, Russia which is the largest nation in Europe by both area and population cannot compete with Nigeria in untapped natural resources that God has blessed this nation. But all these countries are well developed because they were able to prudently manage the little resources at their disposal. The lession is, the meaning we attach to our circumstances determine how we feel about our lives, and this ultimately determines both our results and level of fulfilment and accomplishment. Nigerians have been blessed with natural and human resources not to live in abject poverty, darkness, fear, stress, complexity, confusion and frustration, unemployed and underpaid.
Honestly speaking, there is nothing wrong with the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates to become the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914 or Nigeria as an entity. The country was blessed with patriotic and visionary nationalists who fought gallantly to gain independence with big hopes and dreams. At Independence, Nigeria had all what it takes to be a democratic state and a beacon of hope for democracy and good governance before the junta struck. Nigerians have distinguish themselves in all vocations of life. The country have produced greatest talents and professionals that are doing well all over the world. We have ruled the world many times in the game of sports. Nigeria had played the role of regional peacemaker in Congo and Somalia. Nigerian troops had fought and served in the Allied cause during the Second World War. Leadership is the first serious problem that turning the country from a developing nation to an underdeveloping nation. Nigeria past leaders have champion gross mismanagement, religious controversy, and widespread corruption.
We want our country back. Our votes will fight for us and give us a country of our dream. A country with a visionary leadership, accountability, transparency and good governance. A country where the problem of electricity supply will be resolved by competent leaders within shortest possible time. A country where the new President will announce on his inauguration day that no policeman should collect money again and henceforth all fines have to be paid to designated banks. A country where the cabinet will be team of educated, patriotic, competent and leaders of integrity. A country where the returns from petroleum resources and solid minerals will be spent judiciously to make all the States in the federation, especially those in the Niger-Delta regions develop more than Abuja city . A country where good roads network, construction and maintenance will save the killing of the future and promising leaders. A country where all citizen rights will be preserved and respected. A country where we will have well managed efficient and effective inter-state buses and railway transportation system will generate fund to give free education to all Nigeria Youth to the University level. A country where our huge fertile land will be productive to produce food for all and sundry. A country where everybody will be proud of at any time and any place.
I will also end the piece with another quote from the same Nigeria poet and critic, Professor Chinua Achebe that “If we want to climb out of the whole we are in, it is a job for all the people”. There is no doubt that we are all part of the problems at hand and we should be part of the solutions. According to Shakespeare in one of his greatest books “Julius Caesar” that “Men at sometimes are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings…” This change is possible in our time with the right mind-set. We will realise this chane if we cast our votes for leaders that will provide great ideas, good plans, solutions, strategies, and systems that will help us go from stress to success. The kind of change that will help us to be happier, more fulfiled, and more successful when we wake up with good food on the table to eat before going to work, good roads to travel on, having enough time with our kids and family, taking care of our health, paying our taxes without stress, security of lives and property, enjoying clean drinking water anytime we turn our tap, and switch-on our electricity that no longer fail us at night. A new Nigeria is imminent soon.