It was Leo Tolstoy who said that nations do not develop the same way as people do, because a man who repeatedly embarks on a course of action with unfavorable outcomes at some point wises up to realize the need for a differnt course of action through the implementation of a new way of thinking.
In the absence of far sighted leadership that can guide a nation through the need for a systems change long before the need for change becomes apparent, systems of action have to completely collapse or become unworkable before the need to change and implement new systems of thinking is accepted.
This is because the status quo at any material time is usually beneficial to entrenched interests who will do what is necessary to protect the state of affairs why those who are opposed to the status quo also take steps to change the present state of affairs, resulting in internal conflicts and implosions that are pregnant with opportunities.
But for the French revolution, Western civilization would not have appreciated the need to build systems of government that accomodated the desires and intersts of the poor, and were it not for the American Civil War, that nation would not have appreciated the need to build an inclusive system that made it a land of freedom and opportunity for all races.
China’s decision to embrace economic reform stems from the disastrous consequences of implementing Chairman Mao’s policies that resulted in the death over 60 million people mostly through starvation, while the push for the establishment of the European Union was based on the need to avoid economic imbalances that had led to the World War 2.
Leo Tolstoy’s principle applies whether we are refering to Japan following its defeat in World War 2, the end of apartied in South Africa, the American Civil Rights Movement, the decision of colonial powers to grant independence to most African nations in the 1950s and 1960s, and much more.
Even the decision of the Gowon military administration to abandon the former Regional structure of government and to replace it with a 12 State structure that resulted in many minority ethnic groups being liberated from domination, is also traceable to this principle.
Also the crises following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections in Nigeria and the eventual death of Moshood Abiola in detention while fighting to actualize his mandate helped established the need for Nigerians from any of the major ethnic groups to be able to lead the nation in a democratic dispensation.
Singapore’s development from Third to First World is directly traceable to the visionary leadership of Lee Kwan Yew whose decades rule saw the adoption and implementation of policies and laws that transformed a mosquito infested and swampy terrain with fractious population into one of the most prosperous nations on planet earth.
In this category of visionary leaders would be the likes of Franklin Roosvelt of the United States, Deng Xiapong of China, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Jerry Rawlins of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and other such leaders who through providing visionary and pragmatic leadership guided their nations to greater developmental heights.
Nigeria has, probably with the exception of the late Murtala Mohammed, not been privileged to have the type of visionary leadership that has transformed nations such as Singapore and South Africa, meaning that change and development have had to come largely from systems that had failed and were in need of change.
The presence of high level conflicts and tensions within the Nigerian polity at any given time points to this developmental model that we have implidely adopted, ie that things have to completely fail before change can occur, and explains why events leading to the April 2011 National Elections have been characterized by so much tensions and conflicts.
Contrary to popular opinion, April 2011 Presidential elections will not just be about conducting free and fair elections, but about whether those who have always been regarded as the hewers and fetchers of wood, those whose land provides the milk and honey that sustains the nation, those who are regarded as minorities can also sit at the table of power.
Raymond Dokpesi the Director-General of the IBB Presidential Campaign Organization got it right when he said that some people in Nigeria were feeling shortchanged by Goodluck Jonathan’s bid to remain Nigeria’s president after May 2011 because it would mean that the South-South zone which produces Nigeria’s oil and gas would also produce its president.
According to Raymond Dokpesi, this would place too much power on that zone whose leaders can then do and undo to the detriment of other power interests, and this is why some presidential aspirants have formed a coalition to oppose Goodluck Jonathan and others are threatening to make Nigeria ungovernable should the man from the South-South persist with his presidential ambition.
The implication of Raymond Dokpesi’s statement is that the plan to support a presidential aspirant of South-South extraction come 2015 was always a ruse because oil and gas would still remain the main stay of Nigeria’s economy for the foreseeable future, so May 2011 remains the best means of ensuring those regarded as minorities can also seat at the table of power.
“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi