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“On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation…” Barack Obama’s address confirming the death of Osama bin
The closest we have come to the above is When Abacha died, it was celebration, we all were united in wanting him out…we also had a similar experience when Jonathan made his debut in his first shoeless—Again we are all shouting “CHANGE”.
But in my heart, the question is, will we have a leadership that will inspire such sentiments, such belief, that though we are Ibos, Yorubas, Hausas, Tivs, Efiks, Ijaws, Muslims, Christians or atheists, we are equally Nigerians and without losing our ethnic identities there is something in Nigeria for us all, and about us all.
In the last few weeks, I have watched the drama of the Nigerian nation–Its perilous journey…of one big step forward, many giant steps backwards. We have concluded a general election, one which the major achievement by my reckoning is–that we have conducted a nearly violence free election, but the questions of credible, free and fair for me remains there.
Though the introduction of the card reader is a plus, and there is a legitimate debate whether rigging has reduced and ballot box snatching was minimal, as criminal figures still came from the usual suspects and this is one of the many reasons that I do not envy Mr. Buhari and the task before him.
How will we address the needs of the larger population of the nation that are marginalized be it, in the North, South, West or East, we have seen a new party emerge at the center and with so much public goodwill, but many may have soon forgotten that the Jonathan government and his party had such goodwill
We are at a point in our national life where there is greater need for us to have an ideology, in doing so we can better appreciate and hear the grumblings, wishes and aspirations of a crying silent majority who are intimidated by the sheer force of leadership and by the fear of economic survival, and not the illogical selfish driven ranting of our leaders.
Will the in-coming Buhari administration not use power to dominate and dehumanize rather than heal and dignify the populace, forget all the handshakes from Southwest, to the North, the perceived betrayal of the South East and South South…take a deep look at the spread of the figures–there is very little that binds us together.
In 55 years of national independence, successive governments be it civilians, military, or quasi-civilian like we now have, each tended to overlook the question of a national ideology. As a people we have taken the attitude of the docile Muslim/Christian that explains his/her inability to go to church or pray five times a day with the argument that religion is in the mind and soul-not how you practice it.
Our leaders have never really felt the need to define an ideology to guide the nation…why? Because, they had already done so by encrypting, corruption, maladministration, greed and selfishness, inequality as national ideologies on the fabric of our conscience.
In the recent past we have tried in sixes and sevens to create one but have simply underlined the ideological chasm in our society. Our ad-hoc attempts are only pathetic in circumventing the real need for an ideological base as a nation. We have only by our actions admitted that we are ideologically bankrupt and inadequate. The War Against Indiscipline, the ‘ethical revolution’, the National Orientation Movement, the Due Process and Anti and Uncle Corruption stance have proven that much.
The intellectual, critics and writing community, for our part have not lacked the energy, enterprise or a wide range of ideas on the question of ideology. However one thing that has always been lacking in the ideological debate is an ideology with a truly indigenous foundation that can relate to the Nigerian environment, experience and political culture.
There is the need to embark upon a search and journey for an ideology that derives from our life and culture, from our political experience and our environment, and can thus relate to them. Something that is practicable in our unique political, economic and social condition. This I believe is not an impossible task.
If an ideology is a set of ideas, principles, ethics and values by which a nation guides and regulates itself towards the achievement of its political, social, economic and cultural objectives. It is then obvious that we can see why we are a confused nation with everyone crying wolf from end to end. It is a result of the absence of a guiding doctrine. When we have ambassadors that cannot recite the national anthem…
For the much-touted change to occur, for us not to be laden with another amala coinage, it must be translated to an ideology, part of an important factor in the development of every aspect of society. There must be something more that the so-called oil that holds us primarily together, something that can halt our gravitation towards social and moral disintegration at every level of national life.
We as a people are blessed with or without oil; the problem is that we have never been able to distill a national ideology from the enormous wealth of ethical values and social order of our traditional heritage.
We need to explore the necessities of life that holds us together–food, shelter and clothing, irrespective of tribe, religion or creed.
Just like in our traditional heritage. One which under close examination will show that they embody the democratic principles which recognize the fundamental equality of all men so much so that our original pagan societies were fundamentally theistic in nature and yet we lived in ‘parapoism’ (togetherness)…one for all, all for one and none of us was stronger than all of us.
The truth is that there was an inherent ideology in our traditional heritage, in our pluralistic society existed a relative tranquil, peaceful and progressive manner. But sadly the machinations of power players, successfully led to the impoverishment and abuse of the mind.
Mr. Buhari has won, the APC has dethroned the PDP, Nigerians too can win, but we need to tie the very few tiny threads holding the fabric of our society.
Will governance exemplify professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage to do what is right, as a people is there the possibility of a concerted effort to serve our country in whatever capacity we find ourselves. Another journey beckons, Nigeria, are they ready, ready to craft an ideology or will it be business as usual—Only time will tell
Written by Prince Charles Dickson.
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