FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, October 17, 2020
yodethomas@yahoo.com
Ireland
SIXTY YEARS ON AND NIGERIA STILL GROPES (2)

Continued from Part 1

he bane of Nigeria right from the cradle has been leadership and the collective acquiescing of the majority. It is unacceptable that every year thousands of Nigerian youths perish on their journeys in search of a life that offers more than mere existence. Countless Nigerians are locked up in Libya as vagrants and sold into slavery and prostitution. Sixty years on and Nigeria's notoriety around the world is staggering. Recent report shows more than half the Nigerian population is unemployed that is about a 100 million people are jobless; if one is to go by census figures. How can any country survive with such a high number of jobless people? more than half the putatively employed population are assumed to be in low income jobs or in the black economy since there are no empirical way of actually determining the veracity of these reports one is left to speculate, either way it does not bode well for Nigeria.

Sixty years after independence countries that once depended on Nigeria's largess now threaten her citizens with expulsion. South Africa has in recent times harassed, embarrassed and killed Nigerians with impunity. Ghana has also joined in the fray, Ghana even went a notch higher by destroying the Nigerian embassy, just when you thought it could not get worse. It has moved from the mundane to the ridiculous.

The Nigerian problem resides not only with leadership but also with the followers. Over the years there have been a systematic emasculation and battering of the typical Nigerian psyche to the point of submission. The endless barrage of anomalies has not brought Nigerians to the point of resistance rather we have become resilient to suffering and supine to our oppressors. We welcome felons released from foreign jails for stealing and wasting our commonwealth like conquering heroes and give them podia to spew out their ridiculous tales of being victims of a counter government. In other climes these miscreants would have been ostracised from normalcy.

The future looks bleak if we continue at this pace and with our current way of thinking. The Nigerian State needs to be completely reworked if we are to make any tangible and meaningful progress in the next decade. A burgeoning population without commensurate provision of the necessary instruments to adequately cater for them is to sleepwalk into disaster.

The country needs to be strategically reengineered and scientifically reinvented in order to experience any modicum or semblance of a sane society. Corruption must be excised, or it will be the death knell of her existence. The hydra headed monster has permeated every fibre of the Nigerian State. No sector of society is spared. Expunging corruption from our collective psyche would require the expertise of Dr Ben Carson (the neurosurgeon). The fight against corruption must be through conscientious and deliberate processes by every segment of society. Meaningful progress can never be achieved until the monster of corruption is radically stultified.

Infrastructural development must be prioritised if the next decade is to see Nigeria among serious nations. The abysmal state of vital infrastructure is one of the reasons Nigeria is referred to as underdeveloped. No nation truly becomes dynamic and modern without putting in place the necessary structures relevant to making life productive and progressive.

Foreign direct investment is predicated upon functional and up-to-date availability of vital infrastructure. No sane business will want to operate in an environment where accessibility to vital structures are non-existent. Competing favourably for FDIs among nations with well-developed structures can be quite herculean. FDIs remain one of the surest means of providing employment in any society. Accessibility to multiple means of affordable transportation system and good road networks are imperatives for any society to make appreciable progress. The current state of Nigerian roads is pathetic. Thousands of man hours are wasted every day on roads going to nowhere. Productivity levels which translates into financial viability are seriously diminished because of the countless hours wasted moving from one point to another. Many FDIs dependent countries invest phenomenal amount of resources in creating smart, adaptable and efficient cities. Strategic planning, management and implementation of resources are needed if Nigeria is to metamorphose into a liveable and functional system as we move beyond sixty years.

With oil revenues almost depleted due to long term financial recklessness and mindless corruption, alternative means of wealth creation must be developed and sustained. Alternative sources of energy must be developed in other to meet modern needs. It is appalling that in Nigeria's sixty years of existence, the nation has not perfected the provision of electricity for domestic consumption. Many companies in the eighties and nineties that were heavily dependent on power left the country because of the perennial inability of the country to provide stable electricity. With the departure of these companies many Nigerians became unemployed. Sourcing alternative means of energy will be another vital means of providing employment to the teeming youths strewn across the country. The U.S census bureau estimates Nigeria's population to be around 402 million by 2050. This must really be a cause for concern. If there are no critical structures put in place now to provide steady streams of jobs for the populace well into the future, Nigeria might well be preparing her own implosion.

Unemployment is an existential threat that must be urgently looked into before it is too late. When unemployment spirals out of control as is the case in Nigeria the resulting effect is insecurity and anarchy. Insecurity in Nigeria has been on an upward trend since the early nineties when many factories began to close shop which led to thousands becoming unemployed; about the same time there was a surge in criminality, mainly banditry. However, with the continued relocation or closure of more companies due to the unceasing battering of the economy leading yet to more people being unemployed, more insidious and dastard acts of criminality began to emerge. Kidnapping, cybercrimes, diabolical practices of all types, drug peddling and a host of other nefarious activities orchestrated within the Nigerian space. Insecurity cannot be tamed until the Nigerian State finds dynamic and creative ways of providing employments for the teeming youths daily milling around in search of relevance.

The greatest dissipation of Nigeria's innovative capacity is unemployment second only to the massive brain drain of the choicest and finest Nigerians who had to seek their future in other climes where their contributions and commitments are recognised and appreciated and above all where they can maintain their sanity. Those who remained in Nigeria especially in academia at the height of the exodus and who had no connection to government or political godfathers regretted staying back. Those who had hope in Nigeria suddenly woke up and found out that their labours and energies have been dissipated in their bid to make Nigeria an El-Dorado. Many Nigerians are scattered abroad achieving amazing feats and making other nations great whilst theirs wallow in the mire. Nigeria did not create the environment for them to thrive; it is only reasonable for them to seek their future elsewhere. In all these Nigeria is the loser.

The State must create an auspicious platform where the dignity of the citizens is restored by providing suitable and meaningful employment.

The fractious idea of determining job placement based on tribalism or ethnic predilection has been one of the most retrogressing factors of the State. Expertise, skill and competence must be the parameters for determining personnel not where they came from or who their godfather is. Adequate resources to build capacity and increase productivity should be provided so that the Nigerian youth can compete favourably with their counterparts from around the world. Skilled labour is one of the vital options for attracting FDIs. Serious countries invest massively in their colleges and universities because they understand the vital place of knowledge acquisition and technological development in a fast-changing world.

A decade from now Nigeria will be seventy years as an independent nation. Whether we advance as a nation in prosperity and abundance or we continue in this downward spiral into the abyss will be determined by the steps taken from now. Nigeria cannot afford to trifle with her future by playing the ostrich that hides its head in the sand. We must recreate the Nigeria of our dreams by creating new vistas and daring new horizons. The country is replete with phenomenal resources both human and natural that can bring about tremendous transformation and make Nigeria the true giant that she really is.

Happy Independence!

Concluded.

Continued from Part 1

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