By Emmanuel Bulus Jnr.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with estimated population of 210 million people. It has the largest youth population in the world after China and India, Nigeria is indeed a blessed nation for being one of the largest oil producing nation in the world with diverse mineral resources. Thus, by all standards no Nigerian citizen is supposed to live below poverty level or suffer in perpetual poverty as being witness today. The existence of oil and gas and their continued exploration and exportation to the international markets are enough to fast-track economic growth and sustainable development.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian post colonial state has over the year failed to live up to expectations of the citizinary. Available record among development experts shows that there are still millions of Nigerians who are wallowing in poverty, hunger and destitution, majority of whom are youths, women, the aged, children and the disables, all this is not unconnected to bad governance and insensitive leadership.
It’s disheartening that in 21st century, Nigerians are still grappling with the absence of basic necessities including good road, security, electricity, health facilities, good water, Etc. Recently while the protest against police brutality gathered global interest, it’s only but one of the many problems that have plague Nigerians since president Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015. The protest is against insecurity as much as it’s against bad governance and insensitive leadership.
I make bold to say that Nigeria government, (under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari) at all levels has failed Nigerians, it has failed woefully to live up to it’s responsibility. The government of democracy is supposed to be accountable to the People. It has the responsibility to fulfill it’s end of the social contract.
Even when the innocent unarmed protesters (Nigerian youths) insist that the government fulfill it own end of the social contract on a Tuesday night, 20th October, 2020 at the Lekki Toll gate, Lagos State. The soldiers opened fire on the innocent unarmed protesters. This act by the government was irrational, insensitive, uncouth, barbaric, horror and an extrem heights of wickedness. However, the Nigerian government should know that cracking down on protesters won’t end the agitation. It will only postpone the action.
It’s impossible for any Nation to enjoy a lasting peace if her citizens lives in abject poverty particularly if that nation is acknowledged as having the ability and substantial means to provide development and guarantee a good standard of living. Unfortunately, that’s a tale of Nigeria. It is a tale of bad governance, insecurity and poverty in the midst of plenty.
Evident bad governance led to the categorization of Nigeria among “the 19 poorest, unhappiest, unhealthiest and most dangerous Nations in the world”( National Assembly Amendment of CCB Act cannot stand 2016, Pg 24).
Nigerians lack the capacity in terms of the attainment of effective governance that addresses the issues of corruption, insecurity, human rights and mobilization of human and material resources for sustainable development is generally traced to leadership failure.
In Nigeria, democracy has not yielded the expected results due to the character of the political elites who have a limited understanding of what governance requires. *Shanum (2013)* maintains that “the progress of any Nation rests on the statute or standard of it leadership and how they can bring this to bear on the welfare of people of the nation”.
Corruption by the political elites is a norm. It exists virtually at all levels of the government. Success by our political leaders is predicated upon material things. Whoever is elected or appointed into a political office is expected to ride a good car, live conspicuous lifestyle, extend such illegally acquired money to his generation. Where is Nigeria heading to?
Despite the corruption our leaders would prefer to link the mysteries of the country’s development to colonialism that destroyed the foundations of the Nigerian State by amalgamation incongruent ethnic nationalities in 1914. However, the question is; what has the nation’s political elites done with the 60 years of political independence from the British.
It’s on the basis of bad governance and insensitive leadership by our political elites that I awaken and re-awaken the sense of responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian youth – the hope for a new and better Nigeria to save the Nation from the bad governance and incessant crisis rocking Nigeria.
In conclusion, Police brutality may have sparked to the recent protests, but bad governance is the fundamental reason. The older generation of leaders have failed Nigeria. They brought the present predicaments on us, they have lived their own lives, they are living ours now. They won’t give us the brighter future and new Nigeria we all dreamed of. We must take it come 2023. It’s very deceptive and misleading for anyone to say the youths are not ready to lead. They often us the bad ones amongst us to judge us. Not anymore, enough is enough, we are ready for leadership. If they refuse to step down through peaceful protests, they must step down through the process of ballot box revolution come 2023.
*Emmanuel Bulus Jnr,* is a final year Law student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He can be reached via email@example.com or 08131052299.