…Nigeria is bedevilled by bad governance and selfish or personal interests of political leaders
As Nigeria celebrates 60th Independence Anniversary, the majority of the citizens believe that the country has not made the expected progress. This is due to many political, economic and social challenges bedevilling us as a people.
Nigeria Today correspondent, Biodun Busari, spoke to youths across the country and in the diaspora to know what the country must do to prevail over all her current national woes. Below are their views:
1. CHARLES OBOMWAN OKUNROBO ESQ, LEGAL PRACTITIONER, BENIN CITY
The country needs an assemblage of a think tank of economic experts that have the ability to forecast the future economy. The government should discourage the importation of some certain goods so that domestic products can be encouraged.
There should be diversification of the economy, which should include massive investment in agriculture, solid minerals, sports, human capital and research.
The government needs to reduce the cost of governance. They should discourage the duplication of ministries. For instance, the Nigerian Police should be strengthened instead of creating a Civil Defence groups whose function is not clear to the people.
I have never for once used them as a lawyer. Some ministries should be merged.
Then, corruption should be tackled headlong. The government should not shield members of their party who are involved in corruption practices.
2. ONOME EREGBADU, TEACHER, WARRI
Nigeria should have constitutional reforms with strict laws to deal with all forms of corruption and loopholes in governance.
Nepotism is another issue to be looked at. People’s abilities should be considered first rather than considering relationships with people, especially amongst public officeholders.
3. BABATUNDE ILEYEMI, LECTURER, LAGOS
Well, personally, I feel the union called Nigeria is not working, as a lot of us in the Southern part of the country feel disconnected. Hence, there is a need to renegotiate the union through a referendum. If we agree to stay together, there is a need for full constitutional review.
There is no justice in a system that promotes double standards, where the Northerners operate on different terms in accessing the nation’s institutions and wealth, while the Southerners are made to face tougher standards. Still, on the constitution, the states should be returned to regions as many of them are not viable and only depend on what Abuja shares.
We have to end this idea of using money from the South-South to fund the rest of the country.
Another problem we have is tribalism which has eaten deep into our institutions. We see ourselves first as the sub-nations of Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and so on, before we even relate as Nigerians. My observation is that each tribe seems safest when it’s in their own region or homeland.
Lastly, on justice and equity, political criminals and offenders who have the wherewithal to get the best lawyers to truncate the justice process must be made to face the law. The system we run presently is that small or petty thieves go to jail, while the billionaire thieves around the Nigerian state. This must stop!
4. ROSEMARY CHIDERA, ENTREPRENEUR, LAGOS
The problem of the Nigerian society is largely bad governance and the selfish or personal interests of the political leaders placed above the national interests.
These people continually enrich themselves with the resources of the country, neglecting the needs of the masses. So, to get it right, we should vote in credible people irrespective of their tribe.
5. REIGN AYO, FREELANCE MUSICIAN, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The struggling Nigerian economy is a byproduct of everything that is wrong with us as a nation. The reason is that the political elite ruling Nigeria is utterly selfish and greedy, leading to corruption and bleak future.
What Nigeria needs to get it right are quality leadership, justice and accountability, safety and security, family values and traditional ethics, and education for women.
Talking about leadership, we need vibrant, progressive, fearless, intentional and enlightened Nigerians who can steer and lead the nation in a direction that will secure our children’s future.
About justice and accountability, no one should be above the law or policies governing the governmental institutions. Anyone found guilty should serve punishments or be imprisoned and forcibly retired out of office. This will ensure that future leaders understand the consequences of any violation. Every ill-gotten fortune should be accounted for and put to good use for the benefits of the masses.
Safety and security of the citizenry is a prerequisite to development and overall prosperity of our nation. In this case, decentralization of police should be considered so as to give respective states the autonomy to operate exclusively and tackle their own security challenges that may be specific to them.
In the aspect of values, a common Yoruba adage says, “a river that forgets its source will eventually dry up.” In this case, we should be proud of our heritage and our lives must mean something. The young ones should be taught to act better, which will in turn promote the Nigerian state.
Then, educating women is vital. As the saying goes, “if you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” Women should be empowered through quality education to eradicate stereotypic tendencies towards them, which make them contribute positively to the Nigerian society.
6. CHRISTINE OBIOMA, CONTENT WRITER, OWERRI
There isn’t proper communication between the government and its citizens. There’s a gap in interaction. A government cannot function properly if it doesn’t relate well with private and civil sectors.
So, the government should be able to include processes that allow citizens and other groups to air their views, list their interests, and collaborate.
If Nigeria wants to get things right, a great start will be providing an environment that enables people to partake in their governance.
7. LUCKY OTOVO, ENGINEER, BENIN CITY
Nigeria needs to address many critical issues to get her bearing right. The educational structure should be revisited and funded properly to encourage deep thinking and research development.
Then, infrastructural facilities especially electricity, road networks and rail lines, and healthcare systems should be adequately provided to aid small and medium scale industries, which will boost economic growth.
Also, Nigeria is not encouraging industrialisation and this is a major challenge. Nigeria should be producing local goods to boost our economic system.
Finally, bad governance is a menace. If the country can defeat bad governance, all other things aforementioned will be provided by competent and patriotic leaders.
In Nigeria, we are trying to control economics instead of obeying economics. Scarcity will cause demand to rise, and the increase in demand will affect supply. To fix supply, then invest. Economics says, ‘your cost must be less than your revenue.’ It means that a strong and stable economy is directly proportional to a strong and stable currency.
We are using money to buy strength and stability. No! We need to develop the country, the strength and stability will follow. Nigeria should allow competition of both local and foreign goods, but home products should be given an advantage. Even Chelsea fans get discount when going to watch home matches! People would stick to home products when they are better and affordable.
In a nutshell, the Nigerian government needs to do things properly to get results. For our economy to be viable, we should either increase our revenue or reduce our expenses. This can only be done by producing local products to compete with foreign goods.
9. MICHAEL MBUKO, PUBLISHER AND WRITER, LAGOS
Nigeria is a very powerful nation, large and beautiful. It is the most populated black nation in the world whose people have a strong but well-knitted family structure. It has to be asserted here that Nigeria’s deep cultural values that centre around the family stem from our strong spirituality. Nigerians are a very accommodating set of people. We accept strangers and treat them with love and respect. Akon, Don Moen and Anthony Joshua can attest to this when they visited Nigeria.
Our richness is also found in wide mineral resources, aquatic life, arable land, favourable weather and abundant food. Nigerians are also resilient and courageous.
Even the world dances to the tunes from our talented musicians and entertained by our Nollywood actors and actresses.
Despite all these, I think we still need responsible and accountable leadership. Nigerian needs those who can spearhead the abundant human and material resources to commensurate growth and development we desire.
Our education should polish talents not to kill them. Our educational system has been fabricated in the way to make us disregard our talents, and this creates unemployment.
The few who go beyond all odds to polish their talents to solve problems end up earning more money and becoming relevant. Examples are seen in Ramsey Noah, AY, Don Jazzy, Blessing Akugbare, Jay Jay Okocha, Deola Adesanya and so on.
The government should invest in our education to raise graduates who give solutions to countless problems of the nation with their talents and inherent abilities, not ardent job seekers. Education should refine character and not raise brutes. It should raise assets so the government can find a dependable and resourceful population and not liabilities with multiple vices. If our leaders are well educated, they won’t loot public funds.
Join the debate, what do you think Nigeria must do to get it right?