Tuesday, 26 April 2016



I enjoin you to join me, to take our minds into a contraption that will take us back in time. It is standard practice in management and administration that in tackling a problem or in attempt to proffer a solution, a concise understanding of the root cause is ascertained. So, in the case of our beloved nation, in order for us to steer towards the path of redemption, we have to answer the question of where did it all go wrong; what did we miss it ?

Join me as we look into Nigeria before we knew her to be called Nigeria. Before she was given a 'history', a name, a flag, a regional/ geographical definition. Before 100 years ago when she became introduced to an concept of nationalism. Before the northern and southern protectorate was merged as one. In that dispensation. What was her mode of operation? What was the means and end of her politics? What was her economic status? And if we were to go back in time would we find the same institutional structure as we have today.

So, how are the mighty fallen! What or how did we conduct in the past that put us in the position of the giant of Africa. And, how have we fallen so short that the title has become merely nominal or ceremonial. If you ask me, I say the answers to these questions are multifaceted. But, I like to start from the angle of the institutional structuring. Before the days when the groundnut pyramids were celebrated as a national pride, there was trade between the producing party and the consuming party which included domestic as well as a foreign market. Were the investments in groundnut farming a reason of the gains (in monetary terms) that could be accrued to the central government of the time ? At that time was there even a central governing body?  Or were they investments on the basis of bringing benefits to the locales of the groundnut producing region? Also, in the southwest known for cocoa plantation, did the farmers and government ( pre colonial government) of the time, invest in the agricultural produce because of a responsibility to the center ? Or were the investments made on the basis of the benefits that could be accrued to the immediate populace?
If we would answers these questions objectively, then, we would be making a head way.
In my humble opinion, I see the idea of the central government as we have it today, as a smokescreen, designed by a few who were privy to information and power at the time, to create their facade of a federation, under the guise of a fallacy, that it was the way to 'a one Nigeria. Acknowledging that Nigeria is blessed with natural and mineral resources scattered all over her geographical expanse, which were being exploited respective to their various locality and and delivering accordingly the dividends of having such resources, wealth distributions across all cross sections as well as the healthy competitiveness it bred is a contributing factor to why Nigeria was seen as the giant of Africa.
But, in a situation where there suddenly exists an all powerful central government in an originally egalitarian country operated in at most a likening of  confederating manner; things will fall apart, and the CENTER wouldn't hold.

Thus, we must turn towards the question of the structure of political power in operation at present. We must begin to engineer the political structure to be such that it takes governance closer to the people, therefore making it seem less bogus and more like a stream with clear water the common man. Another reason the political structure has to be re-engineered is to foster peculiarity driven administration in the respective regions and healthy competition along side economies of scale. Otherwise would be a continuation of this sorry state of a nosediving spiral.

Therefore, for Nigeria to return to her days of glory, she would also have to return to her original state of being. A state of being where every productive capacity in their respective localizations are exploited to the benefit of the locality. This is not to say 'aye' for a total abolishment of the central government, rather, it is an advocacy for amplifying the regional government, allowing them operate in modes conformable to their peculiarities in terms of culture -which is their way of life - and the concept of comparative advantage. Because if truly diversity is a strength in Nigeria, then this is a way to harness it.

Another angle from which I would like to take on these questions that burns for answers, is from the view point of the people.
I tend to easily focus a search light on the people involved in any system. This, because I believe very strongly in the saying " train a man, train the community"   . The bible says " can two walk together except they agree?" There is evidence of fundamental disagreement across the  cross sections of the country; religious; political ideology; gender; class; ethnic, the list goes on. "United we stand, divided we fall" and yet one laments; how are the mighty fallen! Well, the answer is simple. Individuality. How has it eaten so deep into the fibre of our value system, the idea of 'me, myself and I' and at best, 'my immediate constituency'? If it's is true that a people get the leaders that they deserve, then we should desist from complaining that our leaders are self centered.
A book titled HOW EUROPE UNDER DEVELOPED AFRICA BY WALTER RODNEY, where he says "in Africa, both the formal school system and informal value system of colonialism destroyed social solidarity and promised the worst form of alienated individualism without social responsibility... Superficially, it appears that individualism brought progress ( however, this model) of personal achievement... Was really model for the falling apart and the underdevelopment of... The society as a whole". To me, these excerpts from the book is a wholistic summary of how we have gotten ourselves to this shameful state where we freely sacrifice the welfare of the masses, on the altar of politics. Politics that has become very personals or us. If it is true that we reap what we sow, then a life spent sowing only for the benefit of self, will reap loneliness and emptiness at the time of reckoning.
Personally, strongly believe that the path to true fulfillment or happiness Is through service to humanity. As I always say, (often as a reminder to myself) "A LONE VISION WILL IMPLODE".  Which means to me that a vision that is centered around only yourself will eventually invite in several folds more woes than the blessings which the vision could have attracted. I'll end this piece with an excerpt from the YOUTH SPEAK  section of guardian newspaper of Tuesday, March15  2016 ; " when as individuals we ponder deeply enough the problems of poverty and retardation in development on all fronts that we are blighted by, we would then be able to find answers that ultimately situate our happiness and fulfillment within the context of the common good; we would then be inspired, Albeit in varying degrees to mobilize and efficiently utilize our resource( human and material), guided by the common good conditioned vision. In truth, even those things we think make us happier as individuals are fruits borne out of an individuals effort to meeting the society's needs( with such needs as the principal reference point)".

On this note I'll end this piece; in the light of the point raised earlier on the institutional structure in place in Nigeria, we must begin to deliberately look at what we can do for the country - what the country can gain from us and not what the country can do for us - or what we can gain from the country.

( to be continued )

-  Israel Igberaese

No comments :
Write comments