I will want to know your opinion on how Nigeria can be made better.
Why Nigerians Shouldn’t Await the International Community’s Intervention
I don’t think there is much that the international community such as the UN, US, Britain and AU can do as regarding determining Nigeria’s resolution or dissolution: several international charters and laws have been agreed upon that no state has the right to interfere in the affairs of other states( except if it gets out of hand——–the Government’s hand)—–a concept of internal and external sovereignty (the right of a state to rule itself).
It is what Nigerians (leaders and the led) do that will affect what the international community can do for Nigeria; this is an observable trend of of foreign policy orientation—VisionaryDemola
We Nigerian youths should begin by proposing specific root-solutions and advocating for them from the Nigerian Government and then the international community can support only if needed
Burkina Faso’s former President, Thomas Sankara, (widely regarded as Africa’s Che Guevara) understood this and as such considered “seeking help from them” a debt for Africa.
He who feeds you, controls you —Thomas Sankara
I have the view that the #EndSARS Protest proved a hope of Nigerian youths librating Nigeria from malgovernance and systemic failure.
Almost every Nigerian regardless of tribe, religion or political belief knows that Nigeria’s present state is not right and that there is the need for total reformation.
However, you will agree with me, that our goals are different. Groups such as Afenifere, Ohana’Eze, Pan Niger-Delta Elders Forum, Northern Elders Forum and Middle-Belt Forum are canvassing for or against “restructuring” Nigeria
Secessionists such as Nnamdi Kanu- led IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) and Odua groups want a separation because of the failure of Nigerian leaders in saving Nigeria. It goes back to the point.
The Federal Government appears insensitive to the matters arising and Nigeria’s fate is being contributed to little by little.
With all these Nigerian youths will and are apparently taking sides. But there remains one hope for most of us as Nigerians—– and that is “how can Nigeria be made better?”
I will explain later.
Vision of a Better Nigeria
I have observed, on social media especially, that most Nigerian youths want to see a country that is free from strife and corruption, a country that that supports and build the people..
A Nigeria where the son of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody——–Mallam Aminu Kano, Founder of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)
We want a new Nigeria where there is:
- Good Governance
- Stable Electricity
- Potable Water
- Efficient Transportation
- Conducive economic atmosphere
- Respect and Guarantee of human rights by the Government.
- Love and brotherliness amongst all Nigerians: the Biafran,the Oduduwan, the Enasaboro, the Arewan, the Tarkotar, and the Jukan
A Nigeria where “no Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian”———Aisha Yesufu, popular Nigerian activist and BringBackOurGirls Campaigner.
All this will, largely, be possible in a new a new and totally restructured Nigeria.
Many youths see the elder-politician as the problem of Nigeria——– These same elders were once youths and some have been in and around the corridors of power since they were youths.
So let us no think that they are the problem, so we can find the right solution rather than wrong solutions.
As I’ve been saying in many of the blogposts, the problem is that we don’t have the right constitution. The 1999 constitution isn’t good enough for a nation such as Nigeria.
Best Steps towards Making Nigeria Better
I usually consider it a National Democratic Revival that will: re-awaken the Nigerian peoples towards rebuilding the Nigerian state and re-engineering Nigeria’s democracy.
National: because everyone is a stakeholder.
Democratic: because we can only use positive means for all.
Revival: because Nigeria can be made better.
But you can call it other than that. Whatever you call it let it have a clear, visible, feasible and positive means.
So we can liberate Nigeria by this step-by-step process
- Mass campaign for a PeoplesConstitution at the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly for the present Constitutional Review Committee to be reconstituted by election not by appointment and a definite timeline should be given to the Buhari administration to sign it and to the National Assembly to counter-veto if the President refuses to sign it (veto).
- Mass campaign for electoral reforms at the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly with the issuance of an ultimatum for the President to sign the bill or NASS to counter-veto the bill just in case.
- We need to prepare for the Nigeria General Election 2023 so that if the Government refuses to allow for a new constitution, we will have a means to actualize a new constitution for Nigeria.
We don’t need to protest by all means, we will protest only when necessary. We should begin by the following:
- Submitting Bills to the National Assembly
- Mobilizing law makers support
- Producing petitions to fasten the process.
It is like planting a giant tree, that will someday provide shade and good fruits for generations to come.
Let us take look at some past struggles in nation-building in Nigeria and learn the historical lessons of why they didn’t salvage Nigeria from systemic failure.
Historical Lessons from Nigeria’s Past Liberation Struggles (for Nigerian Youths)
Lessons from the 1960 Independence Struggle:
It began since the 1920s with te development of anti-colonialism charters to the 1940s led by educated Nigerians returning home in the persons of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief JS Tarka, Chief Anthony Enahoro etc.
Aba Women Riot Leaders
- We can see that politics has a way of affecting even the one outside politics:Aba Women’s Riot of 1929 against British double taxation men and their wives oil palm trade. Scores of the women die in British fire to quell the uprising.
- We can see that knowledge is important: The Atlantic Charter and the Second World War increased awareness among Nigerians/Africans and demystified the British who first suffered a loss against Japan, as many Nigerians served in the war, in Germany and India conscripted by the British authority in Nigeria to serve a King of England and to fight an enemy they never knew . My grandfather was one of these soldiers who had to serve in the the Second World War, I was told.
- Direct participation is necessary:It was achieved mainly by the election of our Nigerian into the of Representatives in Lagos.
- It takes a man to make move: Chief Anthony Enaharo moved the motion for 1956 independence.
- Without a common vision no effective action: The Ahamdu Bello-led Northern People’s Congress (NPC) countered it with “as soon as practicable”
- We finally got our independence in 1960, the British handed over federal power to Nigerians (Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa)
- The independence, though an action in theory, ’twas a process, in practice: The Queen ceased to be the Head of State in 1963 and we had an elected Head of State (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe) making Nigeria a republic and no longer a monarchy.
- The independence struggle was mainly a mission and very minorly a vision:In 1966, the newly-independent Nigeria faces two coups and a military interregna holds, we got independence from the British colonialism but there was public corruption by the Nigerian nationalism setting the stage for military take-overs. We got our independence to self-rule but we didn’t plan “how do we want to rule ourselves?——–a proper constitution befitting Nigeria”, this led to mis-rule and affected the newly- independent Nigeria, several efforts to make for a popular and fair democracy was thwarted by the ruling party, hence the military came in for a revolution.
The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain——Nigerian National Anthe
Lessons to Learn from the Campaign for Democracy Struggle of 1993-99
Military President Ibrahim Babangida annulled (cancelled) the 1993 presidential election clearly won by Chief MKO Abiola of Social Democratic Party (SDP) as what was adjudged to be a free and fair election by foreign observers, even though it was overseen by the military.
After many years of military rule since General Buhari relatively short tenure before he was overthrown and Babangida’s quite long, dictatorial and corrupt regime, an election was like a drop of cold water on a parched throat for Nigerians. They conducted themselves in an orderly manner at the polling stations and awaited as the results rolled in, they were glad that after several postponements by the Babangida regime, it seemed he was finally going to deliver on his promise on holding the presidential elections of 1993—- the last and most important lap of the 1993 promised election year.
That was dashed when Babangida appeared on National TV giving the reason why he annulled it ——–as threat to his life and the winner, should he declare the winner election
- Liberating Nigeria involves all of us: Students’ Union, civil society organization and even “students of Igbobi High School”, in the words of Omoyele Sowore, former UniLag SUG President, came together with one voice when it became clear General Babangida was bent on staying in power. They mobilized for ” BabangidaMustGo” because the Military President annuled the election and didn’t move from office as earlier promised.
- It is not by protest only, liberate step-by-step with wisdom: Many Nigerians risked their lives on the street in the face of armed soldiers who were there to disperse crowds, many died especially in Lagos and Abeokuta, Chief Abiola’s hometown.
- Positive Common voice has a positive impact: Military President Babangida “stepped aside” aware of the growing tension in the public space and the possibility of a coup against his government (having survived two previous coups in 1986 and in 1990).
- Low involvement in the last stage: After Babangida, the Interim National Government of Chief Shonekan, General Abacha’s dictatorship and finally General Abdulsami, we didn’t participate directly and efficiently in the Constitution-making and this largely affected our 20-year- plus democracy. This made some people to wonder whether our democracy was any different from our military experience as democratic dividends and democratic practises was next to none.
Lessons to Learn from #Occupy Nigeria and #EndSARS Struggles of 2012 and 2020
In 2012, the cancelling of petrol subsidy by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, led to the #OccupyNigeria protest. It was led largely by the then opposition and now ruling-party, All Progressive Congress and civil society organization such as Save Nigeria’s Soul and Nigerians already fed up with the President Jonathan administration and remotely, but maybe subtly, with the then long ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In October 2020, few days after celebrating Nigeria’s Diamond Independence, Nigerians especially the Nigerian Twitter community expressed collective outrage about one or two videos showing the killing of Nigerians by the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) officers.
Nigerian civil society organizations gathered to #EndSARS protest and many Nigerians later joined, it swept throughout the southern cities of Nigeria (perhaps with only few exceptions).
Nigerian Youths during #EndSARS Protest
- Understanding the problems and solutions: We don’t seem to realise and agree on the problem and solutions. To some, the leaders are the problem: leaders came and left, I saw no changes. To some when they call for popular mobilization against those leaders and there is no popular mobilization they turn around to say the people are the problem: I look at the people.For some of us, it is both the people and the government; not knowing that the government become the people and the people become the government. Hence we asked for #EndSARS but, thankful to God, we were clever enough to say no SWAT——-what would have likely turned-out to be a mere change of name.
- Mass movement is more effective: Within 2 weeks President Buhari administration ended SARS after the occupation of Lagos, Abuja, Nigeria Police HeadQuaters, Third Mainland Bridge and several expressways. If it were a single coalition, the leaders will have been called/arrested by DSS (Department of State Security).
- Our positive unity has the capacity for positive results: Nigerian youths fed one another, raised funds together and even erected street charging stations, can water.
- Not addressing the root cause: SARS was sustained by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution; to stop the killings by SARS and all like SARS we should have gone to the a new Nigerian Constitution that can hold security of lives and properties.
Clearly, if Nigerian youths want a new Nigeria we have to start from the constitution.