Poverty is one of the biggest challenges that Nigerians face today. Sadly, poverty is not just the lack of basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, but also the absence of opportunities and basic human rights. The sad reality is that many African countries have been plagued with poverty for decades, and this has been a result of poor leadership and governance. However, if impoverished people can vote for credible leaders who can draw up a 50-year plan to move Nigeria forward, it could bring about significant positive changes.
As such, it has become imperative that Nigerians take stock by asking the right questions; how did we get here and what does being here mean to the multitude? We essentially have to back track, examine our positives and negatives before we can proceed to identify necessary paths which must be taken in order to tackle the problems that have destroyed the very fabric and foundation of our dear nation.
For starters, having a credible leader who can create a long-term plan to move the country forward is essential because it ensures stability and continuity in government policies. One of the biggest challenges in Africa is that policies and programs often change with every new government that comes into power. This leads to a lack of consistency and coordination, and ultimately slows down progress. A long-term plan can provide direction, stability, and focus for a country’s development.
As a people, we must start by having a sincere and inclusive stakeholders meeting where discussions across party lines that can focus on what Nigeria means to us without invalidating anyone’s opinion. The most critical and sensitive issues (centred around religion, ethnicity, value alignment and so on) will be raised and deliberated upon; these deliberations are integral to the survival of our great nation.
We must be determined to consider all issues raised during deliberations as only then can solutions be proffered for the myriad of issues bound to arise as a result of our very diverse ethnic, cultural, political, social and religious heritage. Only in the place of considering our challenges holistically can we successfully and progressively live together in harmony.
Our next focus should then be the creation of a 50-year blueprint which highlights our responsibilities and conduct as Nigerians, after which we must initiate the process to begin a careful amendment of the Nigerian constitution which should be followed by a consolidated approach to articulate the identified internal and external factors responsible for the challenges of our beloved country. Having a long-term plan can help create jobs and promote economic growth. When a country has a clear direction and focus, it can attract foreign investment and create a business-friendly environment. This will not only create jobs but also stimulate economic growth, which in turn can help reduce poverty.
A robust and practicable blueprint will only be achieved if the following questions are asked during its creation process:
● What are the basic needs of Nigerians?
● What are the additional needs we desire for the majority?
● How can the orientation of generations yet unborn be changed such that the average Nigerian loves his country with a passion?
● How do we infuse integrity and honor into the moral fabric of the average Nigerian such that corruption is on a steady decline?
● What steps can be taken to incentivize our people to reposition our country for the better?
● How do we expunge from the mindset of our people, the fact that participation in politics should not be equated with a “profit-making” venture?
For implementation of the 50-year blueprint to be successful, every Nigerian citizen must be sensitised about its contents, what it seeks to achieve and the benefits to everyone. A conscious and intentional decision must be made to reposition our country, no progress can be recorded without our collective contribution.
Steps must also be taken to deliberately create programs where the requisite knowledge and skills can be acquired for people in positions of leadership, those appointed into office as well as political office holders; these skills will prepare the relevant people for leadership roles while enshrining doctrines of leading through service. We have the innate capacity and ability to transform our thoughts about this country by raising and training a people that are not selfish, self-centered, armed with an understanding of the heights that our country can attain through collective communal efforts.
Education is a vital element in our road map to transformation; in schools, curriculums should be built with ideologies that promote hard work, honor and integrity. The norm where the elite are driven by selfish desires with no regard for how it affects the majority will ultimately implode because real wealth will only be enjoyed when the basic needs of the majority have been provided.
A long-term plan like this can help improve infrastructure. Good infrastructure is essential for economic growth and development. A long-term plan can identify areas that require investment, such as social/economic infrastructures,roads, bridges, seaports and airports, and create a roadmap for their development. This will improve connectivity, reduce transportation costs, and make it easier for businesses to operate, ultimately creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.
Credible leaders who are committed to long-term plans are more likely to be transparent and accountable. They are more likely to be open to feedback and criticism, and more likely to listen to the needs and concerns of the impoverished. This will help build trust and confidence in the government, ultimately leading to better governance.
It is time to take our destinies into our hands, we must be accountable to each other; Western countries are not better than us, in-fact history records that civilization started in Africa. One of the fundamentals they have going for them is their ability to have built structures and institutions that can stand the test of time. It is time to reverse the slave mentality, it is time to apply our God given sense, not the diluted education skewed towards a particular belief that you are not good enough to take your destiny into your own hands. It all starts from the family, parents must rise up to the occasion, give children the confidence they require, re-iterate to them that they are not slaves nor are they children of slaves.
Let us face the future with a positive mindset. Yes, we can. God bless Nigeria. Yes, we can!!!