I once raised the issue in a piece in the past, and frequently ask eminent citizens on what they think is actually the problem that Nigeria is, pitiably still, crawling when in fact, the country should be walking with pride. I am glad that President Goodluck Jonathan revisited the matter last Friday in Enugu.
I agree with him that something is, indeed, wrong with the country, but my point of disagreement with the President is on the fact that he partly hinged it on the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by the then British colonial masters.
The amalgamation culminated in the birth of the Nigerian federation. It formed the building plank for the country at independence in 1960. It was this same structure that was used by the progenitors of modern Nigeria to lay a solid and sound foundation for the country, particularly in the defunct Western region.
So, it was naturally expected that subsequent leaders would build on the foundation in human capacity building, infrastructure, and other fundamentals capable of propelling the country to the next level.
Perhaps, the question we must ask ourselves is why were those political leaders able to turn what some now perceive as bad situation into fortunes and ray of hope for a better tomorrow for coming generation?
That’s the key issue now. Did those men come from another planet to serve this great country at its embryonic stage, which should have posed more challenges than in subsequent years because of the teething problems often associated with institutions like nation-building?
I am sure the present crop of political leaders are not just realising any inadequacy or lapse in the almost a century-old amalgamation to the grounding malaise confronting the country today. But what did they do in the past to address the anomaly when they came face to face with the reality? Did they muster enough courage to tackle it frontally or merely paid a lip service by telling the nation’s leadership only what it naively wanted to hear and believe?
Written by Kunle Oderemi