Monday, March 2, 2009

Naija Mondays: Fulfilling Destiny- Nigeria's Past, Present and the Future

God does not carve out a Destiny He hasn’t equipped us to fulfill....Seleipiri Akobo

"We know that where poverty, disease, injustice and misery abound, they exist solely because some people manage to regulate the personal and commercial lives of others." Fred Stitt.

Questions to Ponder: Do you think Nigeria has fulfilled its destiny, is fulfilling its destiny, and/or is capable of fulfilling its destiny?

Before I delve into my views on Nigeria’s Destiny, I would love to define the concept of destiny. The Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines destiny, a noun, as a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency. Destiny also happens to be synonymous with the word fate: The will or principle by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are. While dwelling on this definition, I would take into consideration what a friend of mine who happens to be a political scientist said to me about the issue. She said it would be unwise to throw such words around, and opined that destiny is unchangeable and is what a people (organization, group, country etc) make for themselves.

Therefore in retrospect, I perceive Nigeria to be a great country. From our natural endowments to our diversity, our innate resilience and desire to succeed, our phenotypic make up and our potentials as a nation, I would not hesitate in stating categorically that we as a people are destined for greatness.

I am however perturbed by the goings on in our country: The epileptic power situation which serves as an impediment to the growth and development of many small businesses, the lack of security which deters foreign investors from coming in to the country to help increase our GDP and per capita income thus driving us farther away from the iconic developing country tag, and instead making us an industrialized nation exporting more manufactured products than we import. Poverty which affects about 80% of the populace is the order of the day in the face of abundance in natural resources and trained manpower.

Nigerians pride themselves in their preternatural ardor for education, but what happens to the youths who after spending years in impoverished educational institutions called colleges and universities are eventually let out into the job market ill prepared and not trained for what they should expect. With unemployment rates above 30%, I can’t help but wonder what extrinsic motivations exist for the average Nigerian youth. Why would they rather sit in class and study hard than become truants who carry guns and disturb the peace of the universities? Why focus on making good grades when god-fatherism is the order of the day in the real world? Lots of Nigerians in Diaspora hope and pray for the day they return home, with choice education that cost their families their life savings to acquire. They hope that their acquired knowledge would be put to good use in their country and that they too can feel good about making a change in their homeland. But like all other dreams of average Nigerians, these people are made to regret their decisions, some of them actually go back to their lives in diaspora swearing never to come back home.

The above and many more crises have arisen because of the people who are meant to be in charge of our day to day affairs. The very ones who make decisions about how much money reaches the poor farmers in the villages and how much is used to renovate our schools, build new roads, renovate the failing structures that aid our existence; they are our leaders.

Our leaders are more concerned about enriching themselves and feigning ignorance to the deplorable and dilapidated systems we see in the education, health, information, cultural, transportation, and financial sectors of the country. They also are very ethnocentric that they put a deaf year to the plight of those whose cultural views or religious convictions are different than theirs. Nigeria’s resources are siphoned into foreign accounts and are used to purchase industries that add to the GDPs of the countries where they are lodged instead of providing for jobs that would ease the rate of unemployment in our own country.

The mauling of innocent people, the burning of houses and cars, churches and mosques seems to be the modus operandi. It is a pity that we engage in barbaric acts in the name of religious and/or ethnic affiliations. What happened to National Pride, what happened to solidarity and love for ones’ nation and country? What happened to loving all of mankind irrespective of our various heritages, languages, differences in height and girth? What happened to simply being Nigerian?

Inspite of the negativities, Nigeria has been labeled among the Next 11(N-11), countries identified by Goldman Sachs investment bank as having a high potential of becoming the world’s largest economies in the 21st century. These countries were chosen because they had promising outlook for investment and future growth on Dec 12, 2005. In addition to being a part of the N-11, projections have been made that would place Nigeria’s GDP as the 11 largest in the world by 2050 right below The UK and Germany, an incredible leap from where we are right now; nowhere near the top 50 GDPs.

These feats cannot be achieved until we as a people decide to work in unity and be selfless in our approach to life; we have to imbibe a penchant for corruption and theft of public funds. Our daily existence should be hinged upon National pride and cohesiveness and like President Barack Obama stated in his inaugural speech, public office holders need to be accountable to the people they serve, and be very transparent in all their dealings.

In conclusion, one day Nigerian parents would not be reluctant to send their kids to school in Nigeria, one day Nigerians who graduate from our Universities would be confident enough to compete with their peers from all over the world, and one day Nigerians in Diaspora would be proud enough to pick up their suitcases and walk into Murtala Muhammed airport without months/years of consideration and careful planning of what ills may befall them. One day.........

That is the Nigeria I believe in, The Nigeria whose call I would gladly obey and happily yield, whose course I would serve and whose story I would tell with gladness in my heart and no quivering in my voice. I believe in the stripes of our flag and the color of our entity. That is the destiny I believe in. I see a Nigeria whose IT capabilities would exceed that of China, India and the United states as well. That is a destiny we can make for ourselves and despite our short comings, work hard to achieve.

Written by: Seleipiri Iboroma Akobo
Theme of the month: Fulfilling Destiny


Nigerians 4 change said...

I recently attended a ceremony where we had to stand up and sing the American National anthem, just as the colors of red, blue, and white moved swiftly with the corresponding movements of the flag. I thought to myself, "geez, this is truly a patriotic Country."

So when you say here that you believe in the stripes of our Nigerian flag and the colors of our entity, it gives me hope that we will regain our patriotic strength.

I have been thinking of how the problem of electricity/power can be solved. Reminds me of J.F.K's statement: what can we do for our Country? How can we be patriotic?

I am satisfied to know that Nigeria was counted by Goldman Sachs as one of the Countries with a high potential for investments (N-11). With all the education Nigerians in the Diaspora are receiving, the idea is not so far-fetched.

My plan: not to focus too much on the greed of the leaders. Focusing on them won't solve any problems. Rather, being innovative and economically independent will make a little impact.

Contribution by fellow administrator: E. O.

AnyaPosh said...

I believe Nigeria is capable of fulfilling its destiny as a country. It can only do if every citizen, from the oldest baba to even the younglins, take up their patriotism & put their talents to good use for the collective benefit of the whole nation. Otherwise, there will be no hope. A few Nigerians cannot bring about sustainable transformative change. It has to be a collaboration of the majority.

There's a saying that we have two options. One, that Nigerians will work hard to alleviate their situations. Or two, God will come down and do it for them. I think with this bleak outlook we have now...only the 2nd option is realistic. That perhaps, indeed God will come down & save us! Because so far, we're not trying hard enough to save ourselves.

Sele Akobo(curvyice) said...

At Erere,
We will get back our patrotic might, we would be proud Nigerians again.
At AnyaPosh,
God would not raise stones in my Generation to help Nigeria, we would do it.I havent given up on my country yet and you shouldnt. Thats what N4C Is about. We Believe in the potentials Nigeria has and we with help of other NIgerians like you, would bring an Inevitable CHANGE to Nigeria.

Kingzlii said...

Inspiring article. I agree with Erere too. As growth in the non-oil sectors begin to get fuelled by die-hard activities of private sector operators, I continue to get much more positive that Nigeria will be great again...even greater than the selfish leaders we have...But again, each of us must commit to drive the change that we desire within our worlds - personal, professional, religious, etc...

Tobi Oluwatola said...

Good article. Really inspiring. I particularly love your insightful comments on "All Nigerians are bankers"; "We are selling Nigeria to the Chinese" and "The Energy Problem."

I will comment on the one I am directly involved with, Energy. The truth is, the electricity problem in Nigeria is not intractable. The major problem is that there are interests- diesel marketers, generator distributors etc- with good connections in government, that sabotage the process time and again. And ofcourse there are the other traditional problems of "lack of local entrepreneural and technical talent, lack of proper regulatory frameworks, poverty etc.

I am privileged to lead a group of talented young individuals called the "Future Energy Leaders". It is the nascent youth arm of the World Energy Council and we are lucky to have gathered the support of many influencial people in energy across the globe. Please feel free to send me an email on; if you're interested in the details of what we are doing about this problem and how we need your help.