Building The Nigeria Of Our Dreams (3) ~ By Iliyasu Gadu
The ‘’Great Nigeria Project’’ should be our compass to self-realisation and relevance as the elite class leading us to actualise the potentials of Nigeria and establishing it as a very important player in the comity of nations. The philosophical tenets of the project should encompass the existential challenges of Nigeria which we have been grappling with since independence; type or form of government, political structure of the country, citizenship, economic and social development, education and national orientation, regional and continental integration, and African diaspora relations.
As first principle, this project must be centred on the Nigerian person. The political, economic, social and civic rights of the citizen and his responsibilities must not only be theoretically proclaimed but practically upheld and applied. Every Nigerian citizen from birth to death must be availed certain well defined inalienable rights and responsibilities. Every one of the political, economic and social projects and programmes we undertake in this country under the ‘’Great Nigeria Project’’ must provide for and integrate the meaningful participatory rights and responsibilities of the average Nigerian. In this regard we must treat every Nigerian as a repository of a God given talent or talents which must be extracted and harnessed to build the Nigeria we all desire. This presupposes that every Nigerian must first of all be recognised and oriented as a possible solution provider to the numerous challenges which we must surmount in our quest to build this nation.
In this regards we must learn from the experience of some of the great nations of our contemporary world. The United States set itself up as a nation for the actualisation of the dream of opportunity and happiness for millions of Europeans fleeing from the oppressive yoke of absolutist and dictatorial monarchies of Europe. Thus its constitution and laws were structured on the philosophy of liberty for all. This is captured variously in the ‘’American dream’’, the ‘’New Deal’ and the’ ’Great Society’’ programmes that came up in the course of American history and development.
Similarly in Indonesia, the pancasila was the philosophical foundational bedrock of the country’s development consisting of the five principles of; belief in God, Indonesian nationalism, social justice, humanitarianism and democracy. In Turkey, it was the Inkilap reforms which laid the ground for the rise of Turkey from ashes of defeat after the First World War (Turkey used to be unflatteringly described as the ‘’sick man of Europe’’). German unification and Industrialisation was pursued by the Junker elite of Prussia through a policy called drang nach osten.
As elite of Nigeria we must also pursue lofty ideals of human development above and beyond the narrow confines of ethnicity and religion which presently defines the character of our politics. Our diversity should be one of the strong pillars in building the ‘’Great Nigeria Project’’. It is no weakness that Nigeria is the most diverse country in Africa. What this means is that as a microcosm of Africa, Nigeria is the rightful embodiment and benchmark of African political, economic, social and cultural development. This must be embedded in the project as an imperative, for Nigeria’s development cannot be pursued in isolation of the rest of Africa and indeed Africa in diaspora.
The overarching question then is how do we initiate and drive this project? There are two possible ways; either through an elite consensus guided by the principle of enlightened self-interest or through the rise of an outstanding historically guided individual to force the project on the elite by the sheer force of his personality.
From all indications it is looking less likely that we the fractious, self-indulgent, bereft-of-any-sense-of-positive-purpose elite of Nigeria can ever get round to agree a consensus on how to drive the country forward. Because we lack the capacity to face the challenges of building a nation out of this country we seek dubious solace in what our puny minds lead us to believe are easy solutions. We are not merely content to peddle this self-defeating drivel in the public space, incredulously oblivious of the idiocy of it all, we are actually allowing our limited sense of responsibility to lead us to imagine we can toy with the idea of the disintegrating and destroying this country whose spiritual essence and purpose to humanity we have little or no ken.
It is the pursuit of this trajectory of thinking and line of action that spawns the conditions for the rise of historically outstanding individuals who will come to enforce order on the elite and society. And as history has taught us, when such individuals do rise it is the elite that become the first casualty. And if necessarily requires the emergence of such an individual to save Nigeria from the machinations of us the elite in our misguided bid to deny this country the essence and manifest destiny of its very being, then it will surely happen.
While we may think we have cornered enough resources to entrench our status in the land to enable us escape the abject deprivations and want we have subjected our fellow citizens to, we should be discerning that it is within such situations that our eventual nemesis may come up.
Lee Kwan Yew, Paul Kagame, Usman Dan Fodio, Ataturk, Sukarno, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler etc are examples of such individuals we all know from history whose consequential effects on the elites of the countries they variously ruled over, the world has not forgotten.
Iliyasu Gadu; Ilgad2009@gmail.com; 08035355706 (sms only)