Nigeria And The Wait For Change | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria And The Wait For Change

Posted: Apr 12, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Chiedu Uche Okoye


That Nigeria is the giant of Africa is a hyperbolic expression. The fact is, Nigeria has the potentialities to become the true giant of Africa. One out of every five black person in our today’s world is a Nigerian. Nigeria has a humongous population. This is a plus for us. Nigerians in the Diaspora are contributing immensely to the development of their host countries, instead of helping Nigeria to achieve technological and economic growth, although they send remittances home for the upkeep of their immediate families in Nigeria. These people with skills, expertise, and knowledge can be lured back to Nigeria in order that they should contribute their quotas towards the development of Nigeria.


Again, unlike in Europe,  America,  and Asia where acts of God, such as typhoon, Tsunami, and earth quakes cause the devastation of infrastructure , public buildings, and the loss of human lives,  these natural disasters do not occur in Nigeria. Nigeria is a very large country that is peopled by diverse ethnic groups. Our strength lies in our diversities as we can utilize our diversities to achieve national growth. Rather, our country is bifurcated along ethnic and religious lines. Here in Nigeria, our weather condition is equable; and our land arable and fertile. Agriculture, which used to be the mainstay of our economy before the discovery of oil, has been utterly neglected and relegated to the background. Has Nigeria achieved sufficiency in food production? The answer is a categorical no. Food shortages do afflict us.

And mineral resources are deposited below our soil. Such natural resources as bauxite, lime-stone, coal, tin-ore, and crude oil lie beneath our soil. Is Nigeria not the sixth largest producer of oil in the world? Our receipt of foreign revenues is dependent on the sale of our crude-oil. Consequently, the slump in the global oil prices has thrown our mono-economy into recession and tail-spin.


So, why has Nigeria not attained a great height in terms of economic and technological development for all its human and material resources? Nigeria’s backwardness is not unconnected to bad political and military leaderships. Dictatorial, repressive, and fascist military regimes interspersed with inept and corrupt political leaderships ruined our country’s economy, truncated our political evolution, and stalled our technological advancement. Nigeria has not realized its potentialities simply because our country has not been led by its best politicians.


After making some futile attempts at winning the presidential election, Mohammadu Buhari clinched the presidential post during the last general election. The coalescing of some political parties into APC, and the political input of the political titan, Bola Tinubu, contributed to the electoral success of Buhari. He rode to victory on the crest and coat-tails of his distaste for corruption, and Spartan life style. More so, the APC campaign slogan of change resonated with Nigerians. Many Nigerians were disaffected and disenchanted with Goodluck Jonathan’s insipid, rudderless, inept, and corrupt political leadership.


During his electioneering, President Mohammadu Buhari promised to bring change to our political polity. To be fair to him, he hasn’t stayed long in office. But so far he has shown incapacity as to tackling our national problems. Our problems are mounting, while he is still engaging in sloganeering and demagoguery as though the campaign period has not ended.


The queues at our petrol stations are lengthening. Our president who is the substantive minster in charge of petroleum couldn’t address the issue of fuel scarcity decisively and holistically. Dr. Ibe Kachikwu’s statement that  he’s not a magician who could cause the issue of fuel scarcity to disappear overnight elicited vitriolic and scurrilous response from Chief Bola Tinubu, an APC political big wig. Tinubu’s vituperation and criticism directed at Kachikwu points to the crack and division within the ruling party.

And, electricity supply throughout Nigeria hasn’t improved. It is a fact that he inherited the problem of epileptic power supply from his predecessor. But what has he done to address the problem? Both small scale businesses and industries rely on steady supply of electricity for production. Irregular supply of electricity is a disincentive to the rapid industrialization of the country.

What is the president’s solution and answer to the depreciation of our national currency and the depressed economy occasioned by the slump in global oil prices? He has not formulated and implemented economic policies that will boost our economic growth as well as diversify it. Instead of staying at home to tackle our multifarious problems, our president is engaged in globe – trotting. Rather than send a Minister to deputize for him at an unimportant global meeting, our president would attend the meeting.

The ruling party hasn’t failed on all fronts. Our soldiers are containing and rebuffing the murderous onslaught of the Boko Haram insurgents. And it is waging a relentless and spirited fight to eradicate corruption from our country, although it is violating the rule of law in its war against corruption.

Okoye writes from Anambra State