So many have thought it out, some have discussed it loud, they gathered in houses, halls and classroom debating and scheming. Seminars, Crusades and campaigns were organized, all of them attempting to address just one question, the question in contention being “What is the Problem of Nigeria?” And really, what is our problem as a nation? What are those things that affect us so bad that makes us fail to function as we are supposed to do as a nation? Why are we behind in the comity of nations? What is our problem?
Others still propose further that the problem of our country is the military. The members of this group believe the years of military reign actually led to this present decadence in our history. The military insulted all our institutions, debilitating them till they become so useless and hence leading us down this line. Further still, by a very few percentage, respondents have argued that our religion has played a little part in our problem, creating more for us instead of solving the ones on the ground. A very last few actually took it to our economy. We are too dependent on just a few resources when we have vast resources that we can depend on. This group suggests that of the moment the country starts looking at ways of not basing the economy on just a single export, we will be taking a giant stride towards our evolution as a great nation.
No doubt, none of these schools of thought is wrong. In fact, they have been clinical in the enumeration of some (not all) of the problems facing our dear country. The present day Nigeria is a classical model of an AIDS patient during the pre-HIV campaign period, when such ailments were thought to be caused by some odic forces or spiritual attack. For such patient, different types, kinds and forms of illness appear and without the knowledge of HIV and AIDS, diagnosis and treatment was difficult. That is the true state of our nations. Our problems are so much, so overwhelming that we lose the focus on what we should do. When we try to tackle a particular problem, another will surface looking deadlier than Medusa’s head. Like the common Yoruba man’s saying, “The country’s own has met her”.
When you look everywhere, at every direction in every possible sector there is a pending problem. We have problems in the power sector. The whole country is in total darkness, or we run on fuel. And that fuel is scarce; its price is always like that of a space shuttle on the way to Pluto. Singularly, that has multiplied into greater problems. No good roads. No good water supply. Our national security is bad and our education sector is nothing to write home about. No job, no proper healthcare system, no insurance service, no food and there is nothing for the youth. You can write endless volumes of encyclopedia on the Nigerian problem and you will still have left greater depths of the issue untouched. That is the state of the Nation.
Greater efforts have been put together, dissolved and reconstituted to discuss Nigeria’s problems and ways to tackle them. These gatherings have ended up in creating more problems, in a large part for the organizers and participants and a larger part for the impatient populace who were expectant of the result of all such gatherings. In truth, the solution to Nigerian problems will start from the discussion in details of the apparent problems we face as a nation and using such knowledge to chart the right course. But the solution to our problems will not come from any seminar, conference and gathering. Our problems have gathered higher momentums than that. We need pro-activity. Like the common youth cache, it is in the streets that we will find the answers to our (national) questions. More so, the problems did not come through from a single table or gathering, it occurred all along the line therefore it will be solved all along the line. People are tired to see you gathered – as activists or feminist or even chauvinist, make some noise and then later become muffled like a fly trapped in a Coke bottle.
A greater question emerging from this point is “How can we solve all these problems?” Just like its mother question; this second query has generated almost the same hullaballoo. The solutions available typify the therapy administered to the pre-HIV campaign-AIDS-patient whereby we treat the symptoms without addressing the cause. And similarly, the problems kept evolving in the dramatic fashion of the symptoms of such patient.
One lacking idea in the previous solutions suggested is the human face to it. Most of the solutions are paper-based theories that lack application to the major events as seen in the streets and highways of our nation. Another characteristic of these solutions is the idea that the Nigerian problem can ONLY be solved from the top to the bottom; we all call for revolution…Let’s Kill Them All!!!!! The accusing fingers always pointing to the people in the ruling class and changing them is the only option. In essence they have failed in the tackling of the problems on ground.
However, we cannot continue to remain in this spot. We have to forge a way forward; we have to create a movement from this state of being crippled to a better state where our mobility is made easy. The necessity of drawing up plans that will take us out of our slumber state cannot be overemphasized. First, we need to define where we are going to. We need to define where we want to be, what we want our nation to be like. This should not be confused with mere wishful thinking. This time we need to use the available data and information at our disposal to say, this is where we are going. Then, we go on to make the plans and logistics that will move us from our current state to our desired point.
Such plans and logistics must include better solutions to the current problems and ways to exploit the vast resources at our disposal to achieving this end. Our plans must contain better step-by-step approach to national development reduced to an easily practicable procedure for the common man. Such steps must be simple enough for the groundnut farmer in Pampaida, Kaduna, and the palm wine tapper from Udi in Enugu and the pepper sellers from Saki in Oyo state to administer in their own encompassing spaces. We need to develop an unassailable and majestic sense of value and patriotism. Such plan will be our blueprint for attaining greater heights as a nation.
In the drawing of a Nigerian Blueprint, any solution proffered for the problems of the nation will have to take two things into perspective: Man and Nature. Important to solving any problem is the fore knowledge that no problem is scientific, it is social. It is caused by Man and his interactions with others in his environment. That understood, the solutions to the problem should be proffered in such a way that they are applicable to the common man. In other words, our solutions have to be broken down into easy practical steps for every common man. Everyone understands the need for change but no one really wants to change. So the solutions must be in simple practicable terms that Man can relate to.
Since nature is the medium in which Man’s ways are permeated, it means that the solution to his problems can be easily traced in Nature. A natural concept that best describes what our solution should be like is the rain. Just like we all expect our changes to come from top to bottom, rain comes from the heavens (top) to the earth (bottom). In this same fashion, we expect that solving our national problems must start from the top, that until our leaders choose to lead by example, then those at the bottom cannot change…We expect that the problems of corruption to be solved ONLY by tackling corrupt leaders; electoral problems, political problems, water problems, electricity problems...all of our problems can be solved if we can fight our leaders, if we can kill them all, if we can start a revolution against them…from top to bottom.
If the concept of rain has taught us anything, it is the fact that the waters that come heavens are not made in the sky. Cloud is formed from evaporation from the water bodies on the earth surface. Thus, for water to come from top to bottom, it has to move from the bottom to the top. Therefore, the change of our leaders and the leadership style can only be attained when the followers decide to put the solution in their own hands. The desired change we need must start from the grassroots that is where we will start to build our way to the top.
Our revolution will come. But this revolution must start from an intellectual angle before any physical revolution can be achieved. Otherwise, we will only end up as injured as victims of a nuclear holocaust. If history has taught us anything one of it will be that breaking away from the norm must first start from the brain, then manifested in the physical and later leading to the desired result. Our own history as a nation has a classical example of a physical revolution without an intellectual centre that led to a very disastrous end for the people involved, leaving them in the backwaters of national scheming.
Having said the foregoing, I would like to say that the Nigerian Blueprint will be drawn by Nigerians. And this is the right time in our history to start doing this. If we fail to rise up to the task now, it will take more than a century for this country to get another shot at a rebuilding process. The time to act is now. Our generation owes it to our children, grand children and great grand children to do. We must salvage this situation and make it our responsibility to transform the Nation and put it on the right track towards development.
This article was written on 13.11.11.
Adekunle Adeola Sijibomi Writes!