“Can Two Walk Together, Unless They Are Agreed?”-Amos 3:3
There is a noticeable drive in most Nigerians to survive; to move ahead in the face of agonizing social and economic conflicts. What is painfully disappointing in this quest is; these activities have fundamentally been
driven by the will for self-gain and personal survival. Personal survival, though very key to negotiating governance, it must be said here in all fairness that we have done very little (in reference to our size and potential as a wealthy nation) in organizing and synergizing our personal quest into a collectively shared thought and aspiration. This is one reason we have not had a unifying (stable, sustained) ideologically evolved conversation in the negotiation of our governance.
The propagation of the ideas of emancipation of the black man (from the
18th unto the early part of the 20th century) had great impact on Africa.
For some, this idea was internalized as the equality of all race; empowerment of the blacks; the wickedness of the whites and for others it formed a suitable ideological base to begin the agitation for independence
from the oppressive colonial rule. For us in Nigeria, independence has been “a long while ago’’. What I keep asking is this; what was independence to the fathers; was there any collectively shared ideology about, who we are, how we see ourselves, how we see our wealth and where we hope to be in the
future? I mean, was there a collectively shared ideology for the sustained advancement of the people of Nigeria?
We can begin to build Nigeria from this point on. What ever happened in the past is now history. We must begin to tell ourselves the truth as citizens and regard peacefully pressing for accountability as a moral, patriotic obligation.
For any people to move forward developmentally there must be a strong point of unification. This point of unification is a mutually binding interest, which captures the collective aspirations, peculiarities and needs of each
citizen. This is usually expressed in a shared ideological sentiment. It is this point of unification that naturally gives birth to the generally agreed upon set of rules and fundamental principles (which provides the
primary source for the institution of accountability as a sovereign requirement from each citizen). This is the reason the constitution is presented as a sovereign document containing the resolutions on the
beliefs, needs, perception, and will of the people on sundry issues; relating to their collective will to perpetuate as a sovereign indivisible state. If you take a copy of the Nigerian constitution, it opens with; ‘’WE
THE PEOPLE OF NIGERIA’’. The question now is; is the present document a
true expression of the will and aspiration of Nigerians?
Can you now categorically identify our point of unification, or are there points of unification for us, Nigerians (I mean, what ideologically binds us together)? Assuming we have no constitution; is there any mutually shared interest, a generally shared belief, a commonly shared heritage,
that will warrant us mutually deciding to establish ourselves in a united sovereign state? If yes, we must do everything to strengthen it; if no, then we have a lot of negotiation to do.
I have said the character of the leader good or bad is of a lesser significance to the generally expressed character of the people. This is because the people create leadership and are powerful enough to recreate
leadership whenever there is a legitimate cause for such. This tells you that, as far as the concept of natural justice is concerned, leadership only exists because a people express the need for a united coexistence and the administration of the common wealth for the mutual good of all. Where
it not so, then it will be every man fending for the interest of his own family.
The people’s role in instituting accountability in leadership is fundamental to the advancement and survival of that state. Every leader is chosen from amongst a people. No leader falls from heaven; therefore, the disposition and perception of the leader will to a considerable extent,
correlate with the prevailing notion, and attitude amongst the people. What
this means is; if we have a continuing bad leadership (with noticeable threats to national survival), it simply is because the people have learnt to accommodate the excesses of the leader. Truly, the character disposition of a leader in a democratic state is of less importance to the character
disposition of the vast majority of the people.
Assuming we have a bad leader in position, but with a very large active participation from the people; through their persistent demand for accountability, they can either drive that leader out of office or compel
him to adequately deliver the dividends of good governance. In the same way, we can have a good leader in place, but with a very docile and lethargic population. Because of the demonstrated indifference from the
people, such a good leader not held by the strict bond of accountability from the people can easily be influenced to becoming a bad leader. This means, if the people do not keep a strict bond of accountability on their
leaders, then nothing worthy or glorious should be expected!
A consensus ideological stance is what we require at this point of our nationhood. Ethnicity and sectionalism is still a major distraction to our development because of the perceived alienation by some from the national wealth. Is any ethnic group being deliberately marginalized? I personally
don’t think so! But a person’s perception of an issue and the concrete substance of that issue are clearly two different matters. The government may actually be working at creating an inclusive administration; but that
is what the government is doing, what is seen or perceived may be different! However, ethnicity will continue to be a developmental concern until the people truly see themselves as functional stakeholders in the governance of Nigeria.
This means a redefinition of; who we are, what each group wants (with reference to natural justice, good conscience and fairness), how we collectively want to coexist and where we hope to be in time? Due regard will have to be given to each group in the negotiation process.
Presently each ethnic group seems to be more focused on advancing parochial
agendas than a nationalist interest. Would it be possible to totally eliminate ethnic prejudice? I cannot say; however, just as ethnic prejudice presents as a threat to development, so a point of unification presents as a formidable motivation for mutual development.
If convening a national conference is a logical, feasible strategy that will enable us to evolve a consensus ideological point of unification, then let us pursue it! The point here is, for us to restructure governance, so
that it can practically provide realistic means for the determination of the will and aspiration of the people of Nigeria and to evolve a sovereign document as testament of that collectively shared resolve. If this is
realizable (having a shared ideological point of unification) then we would have concretized the foundation for the sustained advancement of our country.
Development is not synonymous with physical construction, in the form of
roads and bridges etc. It is rather the creation of a state where the quest
of each individual citizen is realizable. It means the building of a unifying structure; a collectively shared ideology, to which every citizen aspires. It is upon this rock that we build our roads and bridges and preserve them. Because each citizen at this point finds it a moral obligation to personally identify with the preservation of the sovereign existence of the state.
Development without a firm point of unification cannot be guaranteed or
sustained in the midst of conflicting agitations.
A people without amenities today, having a firm point of unification, will one day build the best roads and bridges; but a people with expensive structures, and not having a firm point of unification, may suddenly come
down, having no roads in places once there where”. Crisis is inevitable in the development of a state, however a people with a mutually shared interest will find more reasons to foster peaceful resolutions in moments of conflicts.
God bless Nigeria!
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