NIGERIA AT 60: It Is Time to Battle the Mindsets and Forces Keeping Us Down
By Musa Moses (Rescue Nigeria)
It is 60 years today that our country, Nigeria, gained independence and the unequivocal opinion is that we have done very poorly as a nation in the six decades of our existence as a republic.
Nigeria is a ship lost at sea, unable to deliver the goods at the port, nor return to its origin. The nation in display in 2020 is a bad representation of its model, failing to live up to the great promise as the largest concentration of the black race, talent and resources in the world.
While Nigeria cannot be classified outright as a failed state, definitely a large chunk of its territory has already acquired this status.
And this failure, a state of near hopelessness, is rapidly spreading to all other component parts of the country.
After 60 years of self-rule, the average Nigerian is less prosperous, less healthy, less educated, has a shorter life expectancy than at Independence in 1960 and falls far short on the Human Development Index. Not surprisingly, our country has now been designated the poverty capital of the world.
How did we get to this sorry pass?
It started right before independence in the form of unbridled and toxic rivalry between regional independence nationalists, and a naïve bid to dominate others that led to a civil war which consequences still reverberate till today. The civil war led to coup d’états by ethnic military adventurists who were out, more to secure advantages for their regions and for personal pecuniary gain, than build a great nation.
We also owe this disappointment to the emergence of a class of political and military elite who are extremely corrupt and greedy to the point of being evil, grossly inept, totally corrupt and united in brotherhood to loot, kill, oppress and generally deny their own people the pursuit of happiness.
These poli-thief-cians and their cronies have persisted and are continuing to deny the people the progress they deserve.
The average Nigerian has become so overwhelmed by the challenges of mere survival that he has now developed a negative mindset – seeing little justification to be a good citizen while accepting many abnormalities as normal.
The sixty years have ushered ‘eazy money’ mentality, celebration of sudden questionable wealth, fearless conversion of public assets by the elite, celebration of mediocrity and nepotism in public appointments, unbridled ethnic rivalries, cronyism and religious extremism.
We have come to the solemn conclusion that many Nigerians no longer sense any hope for a better future. Many of those in the failed regions are moving en masse to areas less affected, while those who are expected to welcome them either resent such relocations or seek ways to escape to the Americas, Europe, Australia, South Africa and even neighbouring Ghana.
Nigeria is at a crossroads and within the range of an implosion.
Human history and religious wisdom have taught us that regardless of any overwhelming human condition, hope is a candle that must be continually lit. When it seems it is time to give up, builders of the wall must rise up and take the lead in the process of leading others to a better future. That is why we believe it is the right time to roll up our sleeves to fight a good fight, make a good trouble and turn Nigeria away from the bleak picture that is pervading and seemingly imminent.
In the face of daunting national challenges, we take our inspiration from the words of the former United States President, Mr. Barack Obama, who remarked, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.”
In our deep reflection, our group also exercised doubts about the promise of the nation called Nigeria. We truly asked: can Nigeria be rescued?
Although we had our doubts like everyone else, our conclusion is that Nigerians have a cause to hope. The promise is still there. Nigeria can indeed by rescued.
So, we named ourselves by our mission. Our mission is to rescue Nigeria from the precipice. Our purpose is to create a nation of watchful, demanding and empowered citizens, who will take the country back for themselves.
The motivation for founders of Rescue Nigeria is hope, trust and the belief that great people can rise to any challenge with hope, then work towards the fulfillment of their collective aspirations.
We believe that if a good percentage of Nigerians are mobilized, together we can figure a way out of the conundrum, through which despondency will give way to confidence.
We know that if Nigerians decide to be true citizens, citizens in the manner of elementary civics, who just want to do the right things and focus on the common good, the nation has a good quantity of hope for a turnaround.
Such citizens will have to bury old ethnic grudges, focus on what is right for them, for their families, for their communities and for other citizens in general. That is the pathway to greatness. The moment we believe in ourselves as the only condition for change, we begin to dig ourselves out of the deep hole we have found ourselves.
Nigeria has been a child for 60 years. Development has been arrested. And we will be honest, it is not just the fault of the elite. Every one of us has contributed to the problem. We don’t call out cheating, we participate in corruption, we accept dishonesty, and we sometimes are involved in the same issues we openly condemn. All of that must stop. And it starts with you, with us, with every citizen.
The conscience of our generation, Nelson Mandela, remarked: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Some may not buy into Mandela’s argument. They might say this initiative is coming too late even if Mandela was right. Or that the component parts of the federation are already too defragmented to sustain a union. They might contend the best option is for the nation to break up, allowing each unit to do better under its own roof.
We will not act in pretense. The people have good reasons to agitate for restructuring and/or secession. The nation has failed to deliver for 60 years! What else is there to expect, we asked?
Peaceful separation or dissociation from a federation should be acceptable and achievable by mutual agreement if the marriage keeps failing. Even though He hates it, even God permits divorce. Nigerians are right to question the further existence of the republic.
It is only those in the Brotherhood of Looting, who are direct beneficiaries of corruption under the current arrangement – and are bound to lose relevance and power – who insist that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable.
The common man, who is not a beneficiary of corruption, favor and nepotism, is right to demand an exit. But we Nigerian citizens to give it one more try, on their own terms.
Nigerians must become a different type of people. A people who are engaged, who monitor, who demand and who get.
Those forming this Brotherhood of Looting, the poli-thief-cians and others in public offices using their positions for personal gain at the expense of the rest of us, are the real enemies of the people. They use divide and conquer as their main strategy. They unite and forget ethnic differences amongst them, and focus on their only goal – to loot and re-loot. They promote ethnic divisions and rivalries to distract from their crime.
We have to counteract. Our strategy should be to bind together, watchful and demanding.
Nigeria needs an organisation like ours – ready to bring people together, able get the citizens to recognise their power, and make them use it for their own benefit.
Rescue Nigeria are targeting a membership of ten million active Nigerians within three years or less.
We want citizens to join us, not looters. We want the ordinary people but the rich are also welcome. Bottom line: we want all citizens with a good mindset, who will act for the common good.
To become a member, you must take our pledge to be a model citizen, shed some negative mindsets and start working for the common good.
We believe we can leverage the strength of our membership, as well as superior knowledge and use of modern technologies to confront the “Brotherhood of Looting”, wrestle them down with non-violent strategies, free our people from their bondage, and unleash a populace that work in their best interest by voting those who will truly represent them in power.
Rescue Nigeria demands a nation that is truly great and which we all can be proud of, but Nigerians must rise up to the challenge.
Mr Moses writes on behalf of Rescue Nigeria
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