WeekendStarter: A Path towards Nigeria’s Renaissance by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed
Nigeria has no business being poor. Nigerians need not suffer in their own country. Our citizens in diaspora have no reason to be humiliated and dehumanized day in day out. And if we are bedeviled by all these excruciating existential angsts, then some things are very wrong. Hence, the need for us to retrace our steps becomes imperative.
In this light, an interconnected three-legged solution comes to mind: 1. All-inclusive Education 2. Food Security 3. Prudent Resources Management. Each of these will be expatiated upon in the subsequent lines.
Under the All-inclusive education, Nigerian children should have access to free primary and secondary education. The university education should be, if not tuition-free, greatly subsidized with possibilities for loan, payable upon completion of studies. Efforts should be made to ensure that graduate studies are geared towards productive researches that will cater for societal needs, solve national problems and improve our national security, growth and development.
The unlettered adult citizens will not be left out. And that explains the inclusive nature of the educational agenda. Structures and mechanisms will be put in place to organize adult education evening or week-end classes. No Nigerian, on account of age, gender or social class, will be left out of our educational revolution.
Furthermore, asides the formal education, we will engage in national (re-) orientation by rejigging our national values system. The ethics and virtues of hard work, honesty, contentment, selfless service and sacrifice will become the hallmarks of our nation. And this will be coupled with a robust civic education and public instruction. In so doing, ours will become a progressive democracy where every citizen is conscious and responsive. This will be a perfect demonstration of Zik’s West African Pilot newspaper’s slogan: “Show the light and people will find the way”.
The second leg of our tripod-solution is food security. As long as the twin-brothers of poverty and hunger abound in the land, our educational and value revolutions will remain a mirage. A starving stomach has no ears for moral preaching. Hence, the need to empower and liberate our people from the manacles of excruciating and dehumanizing starvation and pauperism.
We will again need a massive agricultural scheme. We will take advantage of our abundant rich arable soil by mechanizing our farming methods and practicalizing suitable homegrown techniques proffered by our agricultural institutes and university scholars. Remember we talked about productive and problem-solving researches under our educational revolution.
Aside the career farmers, we will engage, with full compensation and incentives, the services of our youths under the NYSC scheme, prisoners and some paramilitary bodies like Civil Defense Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps etc. Yes, in the new self-reliant Nigeria we are building, all hands must be on deck. No readily available human labour will be left to fallow, while pangs of hunger continue to bring our fellow countrymen down on their knees, in every sense of the word: physically, morally, socially, psychologically, economically etc. A starving man is a sick man. He can also be very desperate and hence portends grave danger to himself and to the society.
In no time, our agricultural sector will experience a boom. And many agro-allied industries will crop up. In terms of food and cash crops, we will have enough to feed on and to cater for our people’s needs, as well as earn foreign exchange from exporting our excess produce.
The last leg of the tripod is prudent resource management. Our continual tolerance of corruption and corrupt people among us is a result of lack of management culture. Our commonwealth are stolen, wasted and abused and yet nothing is being done by the citizenry to arrest the situation. Despite our unhindered access to water, wind, natural gas and solar energy, we still have not generated enough electricity to power our homes, offices and industries. Nothing can be as wasteful.
In our attempt to start managing resources and minimizing wastage, we will frown at and enact prohibitory laws against educational, health and recreational tourism. Any political office holder must have his/her kid(s) study in Nigeria, assess health service in Nigerian health institutions and if desirous of recreating outside the shore of Nigeria, then that must exclusively be at his/her own expense. In so doing, leaders will be forced to upgrade and standardize our educational, health, road and tourism infrastructures as well as improve on our national security while stabilizing the economy by bringing a halt to capital flight.
When leaders have a sense of belonging, they tend to be more proactive. The indiscriminatory nature of the Ebola infection and how Nigerian leaders at all levels promptly braced up to arrest the menace better illustrates this fact.
And finally, if we want our national renaissance and development to move exponentially, instead of taking an arithmetic pace, we must start by becoming a truly federal nation with the regional governments progressing and competing at their individual pace. The unitary style federalism that we are currently practicing will only be tantamount to all motions without movement.
Mr. Hammed wrote this piece exclusively for “My Building Plan Contest on the Nigerian Revolution Group Page. AhjotNaija is privileged to publish it. Ideas and visions discussed therein remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of the blog.