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Nigeria’s tortuous journey to greatness


Chiedu Uche Okoye

SIR: Perhaps, the lumping together of the southern and northern protectorates of Nigeria was one of the causes of our problem of disunity and ethnic hatred. It should be noted that Sudan, which had almost the same colonial experience as Nigeria, had disintegrated with South Sudan emerging from it. This is a grim pointer to the fact that the amalgamation of Nigeria was a fatal error; and that it has contributed in no small way to our problem of ethnicity.

But Nigeria is a cat with nine lives considering the fact that it emerged from countless sectarian conflicts, political troubles, and gratuitous civil war not dismembered. The Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which raged between 1967 and 1970, the cancelled June 12, 1993 Presidential election problem, the Maitatsine religious uprising, and the hijacking of political power by the cabal during President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s illness failed to upend Nigeria and cause its disintegration.

So, now, Nigeria has continued to exist as one country against all expectations. And, surprisingly, the American political pundits’ prediction about Nigeria’s imminent doomsday and disintegration failed to materialize. Although Nigeria has not disintegrated, it is still a disunited country. The sad fact is that Nigerians place their selfish and parochial interests and the interests of their ethnic groups above Nigeria’s interests when issues affecting the country crop up. Our problem of disunity becomes obvious and rears up its ugly head when we are to hold general elections to elect the President of Nigeria.

Now, it is evident to us, and bears restating here, that our recruitment processes and political culture do throw up political leaders, who cannot entrench lasting peace and unity in the country and harness our vast human and material resources to transform Nigeria, positively. So, it is imperative for us to re-think and re-jig our political recruitment processes and mechanisms so as to be able to elect political leaders at different governmental levels, who can better our lots in life, and take Nigeria to greater economic and technological heights. But re-thinking and re-jigging our political recruitment processes and mechanisms presuppose that we change our political culture and orientation by socializing the masses into acceptable democratic norms and political culture, and inculcating ennobling and lofty family values into them.

Our abiding by the principle of rotational presidency is the antidote to the centrifugal forces pulling Nigeria apart. Each geopolitical zone in Nigeria has politicians, who possess leadership qualities, probity, patriotism, political philosophies, and sense of fairness. Only a politically stable country that is led by a visionary leader can become a developed country.

Incorporating the principle of rotational presidency into our constitution, and rethinking and re-jigging our political recruitment processes and mechanisms are the potent pills that can cure Nigeria of its debilitating maladies.

  • Chiedu Uche Okoye,

Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.

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