By Rachael Tiamiyu
Nigeria appears to be in a frail state. The country is facing a worrying spate of kidnappings, terrorism, and banditry. Nigeria currently has debilitating health and educational system. The unemployment rate is quite alarming. Over 70% of the Nigerian population live below two US dollars daily. This portrays the high level of poverty. These challenges have broken the social pact between citizens and the state. That is why today, most Nigerians find themselves in a moment of doubt about the survival of this great country. Citizens are uncertain about the future of their dear nation. It is clear-cut that there is a real and imminent threat to the survival of Nigeria.
The Nigeria democracy is experiencing a reckless political system that is corrupt, self-serving, and manipulative. The country has exceeded its elastic limit and tending towards its breaking point. The Nigerian government has failed to deliver law and order and, in some cases, contributed to the violence and lawlessness in the country.
The political rivalry among elite groups indicates that the current federal system is not fit for the 21st century. Another indicator that the system needs new constitutional innovations is the negligence of our political elites to empower ordinary citizens. There is an obvious lack of commitment to reduce inequality and improve state performance in service delivery. Rather than advancing economic competitiveness, they are more committed to unhealthy political competition.
The government is currently unable to guarantee the basic security of lives and property across much of its territory. As a result, constant calls for federal restructuring have become a way for Nigerians to share their displeasure with the country’s weak economic performance and misgovernance. One proof that the federal system is a broken one was best illustrated in Nigerian youths’ recent #EndSARS protest. The movement centered on ending police brutality and bad governance. There was a public outcry against the outrageous benefits for political office holders, widespread corruption, and lack of compassion of the political leadership. Also, justice was demanded for victims of police violence and extrajudicial killings.
Nigeria is a nation of significant promise, but she is currently facing serious economic, social, and security issues. Just like a dilapidated building can be reinforced to save it from collapsing, can Nigeria be resuscitated from its frail state? Is it too late to save the country?
I would say joint actions of Nigerian citizens can create the basis for offering Nigeria a new lease of life. Nigerian leaders and citizens need to take proactive measures to redress the crisis. Some possible ways forward are as follows;
1. Nigerian leaders should seek to increase the country’s economic productivity and citizen opportunities. This will include investing in human capital potential, creating employment, and expanding financial access and opportunities for the citizens.
2. Nigeria still struggles with having a national identity due to its differences. The country struggles to find a national concept and identity that can unite all its ethnic and religious groups. Fragmented and competing identities and low levels of social cohesion are key factors that can lead to a nation’s fragility. Hence, Nigerians should embrace a broad national identity rather than being identified more closely with their ethnic and religious group.
3. Nigeria must also continue to invest in the common symbols of national identity. Leaders can employ prominent tools to promote national identities. Tools such as civic engagement, culture, dialogue, decentralization, and building inclusive institutions.
4. According to UNICEF, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. For substantive development in the educational sector to occur, the government must re-address the issue of funding. To enable us to compete internationally, a strong private-public partnership is needed to invest heavily in education in infrastructure, technology, teachers, and research funding.
In addition, the government should promote technical hands-on learning. Technical adaptaticentresers should be supported and adequately funded—enough of the “one-size-fits-all” approach to knowledge.
5. Reconstructing a debilitating Nigeria can be made possible if our constitution is revisited. A revised constitution will most likely guarantee good governance: a constitution in which there is the effective, transparent, and accountable use of public resources. Our leaders must consciously optimize any available public resource and prioritize the citizens’ health, safety, and prosperity. Also, proper implementation of accountability and transparency in governance should be institutionalized.
However, the country is presently filled with the stench of corruption — the putrid which emits from our non-selfless, self-serving leaders. Corruption is a cankerworm that is destructively eating deep into the fabric of the country. The Nigeria democratic system, which is supposed to be true, is now a reckless political class that is corrupt and manipulative. Self-interest has dominated Nigerian governance and political leadership. In addition, the country has a frail working system as a result of a failed governance.
Nigeria seems sick; she is in an unconscious state. Can she still survive?
Nigeria is in a state of comatose. Can she be revived?
Nigeria is debilitating; can she be saved from collapsing?
Nigeria is at its elastic limit but has she reached her breaking point?
Her leaders have failed her. Is it too late to save our dear country?
Nigeria is on the verge of failure but has she outrightly failed?
Rachael Tiamiyu is a Public Affairs Analyst.