Nigeria is a gifted country with human resources and materials as well, but it does not want to grow because she has hang-ups with “this is the way we have been doing it”. Many schools of thoughts would say such thinking will bring divide, especially when flexibility is absent. Life would be “Stand still” because of lack of renovation of thought. When we cling to ethnicity especially, when in power, the tendency is to forget others and stick to what would profit our ethnic constituencies. That is what has been done in the past that brings imbalance in the country. When it continues; it brings economic woes and political stagnations in Nigeria. Nigerian economic and political stagnation bring us to what we are now; a butt of ridicule on the continental scale. “That is the way we have been doing it” has brought setbacks to Nigeria. Perhaps a light can be thrown into Nigeria to make tomorrow shine and bring prosperity and unity to people’s lives.
Being the same all the time is monotonous and boring and of primitive time. Many Nigerians have suggested creative ways of bringing us out of this quagmire of Satan: “this is the way we have been doing it”. Old things refuse to pass away. And this is the cause of our stagnation, a way of marching in one spot. We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect to get a better result. We cannot use the primordial means to arrive at modernity. We cannot use old skills to solve modern problems. The World uses balancing for overpopulation but China was able to go inward to come up with optimal solution to their problems. China is the second largest economy. China isolated itself from the rest of the world as part of its inward policies. Today China has exploded industrially. Their products became top brands in USA, Britain and Germany and all over the world. This is part of restructuring. This is what some of us are afraid of in Nigeria. Some parts of Nigeria are afraid of moving out of their “comfort zone”. Life involves sacrifice, giving us certain things to go higher like; research.
There is a serious disequilibrium in our resources, ‘There is need to restructure spending habits in order to balance the equation’. In budgeting, a certain percentage is earmarked for capital and recurrent expenditure. In developed economies, the capital side goes by a given percentage every year, while there is a reduction in the recurrent expenditure side. While the capital expenditure begins to grow the recurrent expenditure profile declines. This is good for the economy because there will be more for investment. Lack of it brings disequilibrium. That’s why Nigeria will continue and cannot get her budgeting right because of its inability to manage her resources. Nigeria looks outside. Looking outside entails conditionality! The western world cannot give money on your own terms but on theirs! That is the hemorrhage of Nigerian situation. This hemorrhage can only be cured through restructuring the political economy. One of the reasons Nigeria cannot be like China, Malaysia or the Asian Tigers is that, she lacks the political will to do what is right. It takes years to fish out what is right. Nigeria has inexhaustible natural resources but as long as the oil flows, she failed to open up the economy.
Our so called leaders do not want to open up the economy as long as the oil outflows. Lavish expenses by the Nigerian leaders and inability to help its people, makes the youth look for greener pastures. We cannot quantify the number of Nigerian youths that died on their way to Europe via Libya. The colonial hang-ups are still in most of the African countries. Most countries in Africa still pay primitive loyalties to their former colonizers to get a bite from them. Nigerian bad governance is one of the setbacks. Unequal distribution of the resources, election malpractices and installation of leaders that lack integrity, make mockery of Nigeria. There is too much bloodshed, defective electoral system and riggings. There is war all over Africa. The world powers sell their arms to the economically vulnerable Third World thereby wounding them the more. Nigeria has witnessed civil war and since then there has been killings in Nigeria. Killings by herdsmen in Benue now are unimaginable and make people ask questions about Nigeria and her future. Nigeria does not speak with one voice.
Unity is fragile. When a president makes policies that will only favour his zone, it creates a divide. Why would a group struggling for self- identity be proscribed as a terrorist organization while the blood-shedding Fulani herdsmen, bandits, Boko Haram treated with kid gloves? This is ridiculous! Why must the rest of Nigeria be “Yes men”, especially the South-east. Why must the Southeast keep mute over a degradation of the country while the South-west are raising great voices against what hurts the nation. The government should tread softly with the self-determination agitators and focus on creating solutions to the things that trigger agitations rather than indiscriminate arrests and killing of innocent souls. Thirty-one years of military rule devastated Nigeria. The democracy they embraced now is not a genuine one. If it is, the President would not be acting contrary to Nigerian decisions. Governance in Africa makes a mockery of democracy. Africa has been destabilized by its colonizers and the psychological scar created is always with them. Nigeria, the so called giant of Africa was not excluded from Trump’s vulgar comments. To the amazement of the world, Trump said that certain “shithole countries” from Africa and Haiti came to America to rape them. Nigeria is not excluded from the comments.
Trump wants America back to “white society”. Trump called African people shitholes and never remembered that African slaves contributed to American development. He is accomplishing his goal on why he entered into politics to destabilize the American system of free world. Trump is not a renaissance man. He is Trump and acted like Trump. Diplomacy will not eradicate the imprint of Trump’s statement but it is already in the psyche of the world. Trump can be quoted, but reactions of those who read what he said will put him in the shithole of history. The African leaders should not create refugees. They should govern their people well. Nigeria, the giant of Africa should bring peace in its own country and other parts of Africa. Power should be used to create peace, bring unity and heal the wounded by injustice. It should be used to organize people, not to disorganize them. Those in power should not be indifferent but proactive. Nigeria should wake up and learn something from Trump’s vulgar comments. Global outrage erupted over Trump’s shithole remark.
Trump rubbished Africa, rubbished the giant of Africa; Nigeria. Still he spoke at Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial Day amid his racial remark. He rubbished Blacks, He rubbished Mandela, rubbished the former president of Zimbabwe; Mugabe, rubbished our political Icons who fought for our freedom, rubbished South Africa – the country of Black and White. But he refused to see how black and white blend together and the tolerance of the Blacks; South Africa. Pulling people down using; tribalism, racism, nepotism, xenophobia, are all these not found in the recesses of the whole world’s minds? Managing these behavioural attitudes or the old Adam in us requires high degree of tolerance for a civilized man, otherwise the world would be full of Trump’s cynicism, bigotry and the world created by God would be full of crises. Thinking globally and acting globally ensures hope for this tangled world.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.