Call to Save Nigeria
Nigeria may collapse by 2011, and nobody is doing anything about it. Violence runs rampant across the country. Militants in the Niger Delta have better ammunition than the military and tribalism is on the increase. How can the nation survive?
The incessant, sporadic outbursts of rebels under different guises in Nigeria call for sober reflection and immediate action. Lack of respect for constituted authority, distrust and violence are signals of imminent danger.
But wait, we must not forget about the signals of collapse - a failed educational sector with Nigerian lecturers on strike for the third month after having called off a 6-month long strike in June 2007, crumbling medical facilities with non-existent infrastructure; as regards clear approach to primary health care, Nigeria ranked 187th among 191 WHO member countries in 2008, but spends N32billion yearly for medical treatment abroad, fraudulent leaders, insecurity, kidnapping, a high rate of unemployment, 76% poverty rate and failure of governance. Where do I stop?
It is as if Nigerian leaders used leprosy as a cure to ringworm – hunger and lack of development caused restlessness among youth but made criminals millionaires. The disarmament process of rebels in the Niger Delta lured rebels into amnesty with the promise of oil blocs. But Nigerian leaders’ said there was no way the federal government would pay for it. Rebels threatened to resume attacks on September 15.Who is sincere?
Religious leaders are also wreaking havoc while the government sits idly by. In Northern Nigeria Islamic fundamentalist and Jihadist, Mohammed Yusuf campaigned on the platform ‘No to Western Education’, converting about 540,000 followers. As he lived in affluence his followers wallowed in abject penury. Despite 21 security reports, the government ignored the situation and about 1000 Nigerians died from the religious crisis.
Nigerians do not expect the unreasonable from leaders, it is not when they keep goatie beards and wear three-quarter Jihadists trousers that we will begin to understand their ideals against western education. Why then is Nigeria backward? Why does it have the lowest life expectancy and highest level of poverty? Why does it have the lowest per capital income and highest child and maternal death rate? Why is the government indirectly saying no to western education?
And among the most basic needs, why is our power supply the worst hit with 148 million Nigerians managing on a meager 1000 mega watt; waiting eagerly for a presidential miracle to sextuple the supply by the end of this year? The power failure alone sent mammoth companies like Unilever, Dunlop and OK foods to Ghana. Some 820 manufacturing firms have been forced out of business in the past eight years, according to the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, the cost of maintaining power generating set is prohibitive.
Nigeria produces 2 million barrels of oil per day yet there is no single functioning refinery in the country in the last ten years.
Nigerian activists are anticipating a Network of National Consciousness whereby tribalism is set apart, President Obama tells us to take our destinies into our hands, those same hands are tied but if Nigerian leaders refuse to listen to voice of wisdom to begin visible development ins the nation and adopt the Electoral Reform Commission’s (ERC) recommendations for 2011 general election then Nigerians will take their destinies into their hands and liberate our future from the clutches of corrupt leaders and practices.
What is wrong with the establishment of a new, truly non-partisan independent and impartial Independent National Electoral Commission composed of persons of unquestionable integrity? Nigeria wants political parties that must publicly disclose to INEC all sources of funding, including donations for purpose of transparency and accountability, also all petitions arising from elections should be concluded before the inauguration of elected office holders why not adopts the recommendations if our leaders are honest?
Considering all of the above, I am truly angry about our situation, Nigerians must declare perennial vigilance on our leaders, war on corruption and on lack of performance while seeking United Nation’s support. Nigerians must demand and believe they deserve transparency and accountability - the only components that would take Nigeria beyond collapse and beyond 2011.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.