Democracy is a good system of government. We have seen democracy lead to rapid development and economic progress across the West, but the same democracy appears to have extinguished its taste for progression when it arrived in Nigeria. Generally speaking from 1999 at least, many will agree with me that, the more leaders we have elected, the harder life has gotten for the majority of Nigerians. The bigger the budgets swell, the thinner the economic opportunities for the majority of our people.
Not much has been solved since 1999. Nothing really iconic. Between then and now, despite all the huge funds expended countrywide, our public schools have become worse. Our public hospitals have become worse. Our roads have become worse. Our public water supply system has become worse. Our security has become worse. Our Naira has become worse. Our civil service has become worse. Corruption has become worse. Our energy supply has stagnated. Our core values have been thrown to the wind.
It has gotten so bad that an entire generation of democratic leaders are failing to even maintain the infrastructure they met on ground, not to talk of building new ones that will endure. But this was not usually the case. Even the most brutal military interregnums we have had in Nigeria can be associated with the construction of some enduring infrastructure across the country and the Federal Capital Territory.
Nigeria is dominated by deeply religious Christians and Muslims and the Traditionalists are in the minority. All three believe in God. All three believe in societal life. All three lay claim to truth, peace, progress, and good conscience. Yet, all those ruining Nigeria are either Christians, Muslims or Traditionalists. Why then are we failing to change our society for good in the name of that God that we all hold to be true? Why are our belief systems failing to engender our traditional communal spirit to look out for society so society can look out for all of us? These queries are rhetorical but they are also an appeal to our conscience as a nation of believers in God. A tear rolling down our cheeks.
Whether you are in an exalted position of leadership or you are a follower or you are indifferent, our core values as Nigerians, whether from the South or North, overall revolve around commonality and collectivism. We are entwined and interconnected. We defy individualism. The loss of these core values has regrettably robbed us of societal progression in preference for personal acquisition and aggrandizement. Our pursuit of this primitive personal accumulation has dislocated our humanity and created a stunted society where only the privileged find life easy.
But how can this ship navigate its way right again? Methinks that action should be taken by leaders of various belief systems towards cultural re-orientation with the aim of making it useful to our democracy and governance. Emphasis should be concentrated on communalism, love for community, high moral order in governance, community relations based on duties and obligations of the people, and a deep sense of hard work. If we love community, we will prefer to develop it. We will put the community first before ourselves. We will not steal from it. Loving the community will constantly remind us that it is through building a healthy and secure community that we can ensure our individual freedoms and security.
In whatever organization or position God has elevated you to lead, let’s just all be reminded that, if we continue to dash the hopes of our people perpetually, a not-too-difficult-to-please population, and allow this country on this downward trajectory, the consequences are predictable and we will all be responsible.
Good morning to you.
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with