Okay, so in the wake of the countless corruption scandals we’ve had to endure as a people, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on a feasible action plan to “Rebuild” Nigeria. Please feel free to point out the illogical ones at every turn and also, please feel free to pitch in counter opinions along the way.
To begin, we must first concede that Nigeria’s problems didn’t manifest midway through her development. Hence her solutions can’t be proffered midway either. For the sake of efficacy and structure, they MUST be from the foundation as well. So to do this, we must first find our Ground Zero.
Ground Zero: Education
We make a move via pressure groups to restructure Nigeria’s Universal Basic Education policy of increasing the barest minimum educational standard of EVERY Nigerian child. The current UBE policy states junior secondary school as the minimum educational requirement for the Nigerian child. For a nation seeking to be ahead of the curve in this fast-paced, innovative jet age, this is nothing short of madness!
To clarify on the importance of this; it increases the possibilities of a politically aware population, amongst other things. When they aren’t struggling to make ends meet due to lack of income from a poor educational background, people WILL have the consciousness to take a stand against a repressive government. It also increases the technological standard of the society ultimately driving progress.
That Big Ugly Elephant We’re All Afraid Of Called POLITICS
We need a massive awareness campaign that decentralizes power from the idea-less parties we have in place at the moment. By my count so far, more than two hundred partisan supporters and members of the APC and PDP have crossed sides in the last two months all in preparation for the 2019 general elections.
Our state and local representatives are not scrutinized on their own validity of candidacy and merit. Neither are the governors in most cases. They all hide under the political umbrella of the Presidential candidates of their party and ride on that popularity vote to victory. We need a sensitization system where we let people know who is who. Separate the wheat from the chaff.
These representatives end up in the Senate and are never in touch with their constituencies. This must stop!
There is provision in the constitution for a quarterly Constituency Allowance for both Federal House of Representatives and Senate members. Nothing is ever heard of what these funds are used for. Constituency projects are usually meaningless developmental projects of boreholes at worst and link road patch-ups at best; never for institutional development. The rest is spent within the confines of party caucuses and personal disbursements.
Scrutinizing those who represent us at the local, state and federal levels will drive the need for political accountability. They must be afraid of the people. They can’t be afraid unless they know we know what they’re doing. Which brings me to movements like #OpenNass, chaired by @BudgITng. We as a people MUST see this to fruition. It is our money. They aren’t doing us any favors by telling us what they do with it.
The above is a brief deviation from the foundational plan, but it’s a step in the right direction pending the time our foundation-based plans catch on.
Thirdly, We MUST Heal The Society Herself
This has to do with us as a people now, so you best believe this will take a really long time to catch on. But we have to start from somewhere.
First, we need to push for the government to abolish the concept of tribalism and state identification systems. It enables separatist sentiments and tribalism. The divisive rhetoric we have in place today by politicians also thrives on it.
Nigeria is sum total of three major tribes and a hundred and fifty other minor ones. State identification based on tribe pushes away the need for meritocracy and imbibes the need to appoint people purely based on tribal inclusion. “He’s Yoruba so he can’t do it, we need someone who’s Igbo.” “We’re Hausa, we can’t have anything to do with the Igbos.”
This is where tribalism ultimately leads us – Self Hate!
The solution to this is a complex array of conscious political policies, self-awareness and the desire for progress on the part of the people. Most importantly, constant education and reeducation of the people on the historical background on the geographical marsh up that is Nigeria.
Tech organizations with structure like BudgITng, TrackaNG & TransparencyNg need to be reshaped into active pressure groups and not just passive data collation centers. They are currently our closest link to the government and we must arm ourselves with the information they provide, while at the same time backing them to the point where the policy makers WILL be afraid of them. They should be the accountability Police of the people, not our current patched up anti-graft agencies.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge that it’s a long roadmap of DOs. A lot of which I can’t articulate at a single go. But like I once opined to a friend, “we would be culpable as a generation if we don’t at the very least, try!”
If you do find any of these points logical enough for a discussion or would like to expand, correct or add to them, do let me know. After all, a stimulating conversation never hurt anybody.
Written by Folarin. Follow him on Twitter @SleezeBreeze88
Editor’s note: This is the beginning of conversations about making Nigeria a better place. Feel free to contribute to this discourse in the comments section, on Twitter (mention @ListsNG and/or use the hashtag #ForABetterNigeria) or email your opinion pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org