“…to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.”
One of Nigeria’s greatest challenges is in Nation Building. It is not only about building a political entity; it is also based on a sense of purpose.
If we are to attain the Nigeria of our dreams, we must have leaders that are committed to the rule of law and have a demonstrable sense of fair play and democratic tolerance; leaders with ability and integrity; above all else, we must have leaders that can see beyond the ostentatious pomp of office. We must have leaders who have a vision for a Nigeria better than the one they inherited; leaders who will lead by deeds and not by words; achievers, not deceivers. We need a leadership that will not only leave its foot-prints on the sands of time, but one, which by dint of hard-work, fair play, dedication and commitment, will live forever in the hearts of Nigerians.
While most Nigerians support the principles of democracy such as the forming of government based on the will of the majority, respect for the rule of law, and respect for basic freedoms of citizens, the fact remains that in practice, there is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world but the everyday actions of our leaders in Nigeria take us further away from ideal democracy. We tend to have defective civilian governments. Either in terms of accountability, or respect for the rule of law, or elections, our conduct in the recent past has been far from democratic. Therefore, while most of us now agree that we do not want military rule, our visions and practice of democracy are not uniform, showing a fundamental lack of consensus
Key values of federalism, democracy, and inclusive government have not been sufficiently consolidated as core values for our nation. The problem of monopoly, marginalization, and exclusion in bureaucratic and political positions. Moreover, the pursuit of the principle of the federal character should not be at the expense of merit or a substitute of equal opportunity for all citizens.
Examining our History, we can trace another challenge militating against this dream which is Colonialism. It brought about partitioning into different regions. In a bid to correct this, federalism and advocating a policy of unity-in-diversity was adopted but the lack of consolidation of Nigerian federalism around commonly shared values and positions means that this challenge of divisive historical legacy continues to undermine our efforts at nation-building.
The Nigerian dream is to have an organized community founded on justice and honesty of purpose. This is so because all great nations of the world thrive on justice. Not only are many of our citizens denied basic rights such as the right to education and health, there is also serious variation in the enjoyment of these rights across the country. Consequently, the citizen is not motivated to support the state and society, because he or she does not feel that the society is adequately concerned about their welfare.
Socio-economic inequalities across the country fuels fears and suspicions which keep our people divided. The country has been facing the challenge of crafting a constitutional arrangement that has the backing of an overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
When shall we have a Nigeria where an Igbo man can become a governor in Osun state? A Nigeria where basic amenities are not perceived as luxuries? A Nigeria where Votes count and positions are given based on merit, not on favouritism and nepotism? A Nigeria where Justice prevails and the rule of law is upheld? A Nigeria where economic growth is at its peak?
Such a Nigeria can be attained if we all did the right thing by setting aside our differences and make a deliberate and conscious effort to hold leaders accountable and play our own part in nation building.
God bless Nigeria!