Archibong Uduakobong Jnr: I don’t have confidence in Nigeria’s present direction and its future because we are headed the wrong direction. Africa as a continent doesn’t have the luxury of wonderfully built institutions; therefore a single leader bad or good changes everything easily. To that effect, we need to sit back, ask ourselves questions bordering on our unity as a people. Then we can consider the issue of true Federalism and its practice here in Nigeria.
If we can get a conversation going as young people, then we get a good leader, then the journey to building our institutions would commence, and Nigeria would have started its journey towards the right direction.
Archibong Uduakobong Jnr hails from Ikot Akpa Idem in Ukanafun LGA. He is a graduate of the College Of Medicine & Surgery, University Of Calabar, Calabar. He is married to a beautiful Dr, Judith Oge Archibong and they together are investing in bringing new meaning to humanity. Follow him on facebook and twitter @archiecomicz.
Binyerem Ukonu: Yes, I have strong confidence because of my direct conversations with a few of Nigeria’s youths. I have encountered young Nigerians that are gifted in Leadership, burning with passion for their country, and working hard to set up platforms on which the nation would thrive. They are in the tech sector, the environmental sector where they are preaching Sustainable Development, and also in Politics. Nigeria, in the hands of these ones, would be steered to the right direction of becoming great again. There’s no reason to doubt Nigeria’s bright future, except you have given up and decided never to participate in carving the formwork of growth for the nation. Yes, things may seen hopeless now because of many years of blood sucking and mismanagement by the older generation, but there is this present crop of young Nigerians that must be allowed to tailor our already torn fabric.
Binyerem Ukonu is an Architect and the Editor of CityDezigns Magazine, also www.citydezigns.com, a research based publication on Building and Urban Solutions in Nigeria. He is building a platform, using technology that will work with stakeholders in the industry to provide eco-friendly solutions to problems of housing. Binyerem is showcasing our design to the globe, through publications that will push tourism upwards. He’s social on: Facebook: Binyerem Ukonu, Instagram: @bibi_ukonu, Twitter: @Bibi_Ukonu.
Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu (Mazi): This question would have gotten a simple ‘no’ 2 years ago, and I would have provided dozens of points to explain why I think we are heading nowhere. However, with the coming of Buhari’s administration, I find I need to think more about this. Do I see anything on the ground that shows Nigeria is heading towards a brighter future? My honest answer is no. I am however mindful of the fact that we have mostly tended to jump into trying new things, without recourse to the fact that nation building is a long-term process. You need to build solid foundations and have the political will and a high dose of national patience to wait for the fruits to ripen, which is likely possible several years after the process is started.
What Nigeria needs is an overhaul, a reorientation and a redirection. We have to unlearn very bad habits that have become part of our national DNA. We have to cultivate a sense of national pride and start pushing for long-term goals. Nigeria will survive, but we need to emerge a better nation or all this noise would be pointless. My suggestion as per the right way forward is to start with education from the lowest level. Send quality teachers to the primary schools, let our youths get the best training they can from a young age and be sure the standards are maintained until the university level. Quality education means the empowerment of our most abundant resources—our human resources. We need to vastly improve our infrastructure, we need to create an industrial base, and we have to see the need for these things as an emergency. We are in a dire but not overly negative position, the one that sees us at the bottom and needing to start from scratch in almost every aspect of our national life. The only place we can go is up, so we should have no excuses. Having nothing to lose should provide the right spurt of national pride that will help us overcome. We have no reason to fail this time.
We have no business being an import dependent nation, so to survive, we need to make Nigeria and consume Nigeria, and this is not very hard to do if we are willing to work on it. It won’t be overnight. I hear Buhari and his people make the right noises, and I am praying the noises become solid results on the ground; this is why I won’t just say ‘no’ now – ask me again in 3 years.
Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu (Mazi) is a Lagos-based journalist and writer. While journalism and its demands take up much of his time, when he can, Mazi Nwonwu writes speculative fiction, which he believes is a vehicle through which he can transport Africa’s diverse culture to the future. He is the co-founder of Omenana, an African-centrist speculative fiction magazine and Managing Editor of Olisa.tv, a web-based based blogazine. His work has appeared in Lagos 2060 (Nigeria’s first science fiction anthology), AfroSF (first PAN-African Science Fiction Anthology), Sentinel Nigeria, Saraba Magazine, ‘It Wasn’t Exactly Love’, an anthology on sex and sexuality publish by Farafina in 2015 and elsewhere.
Chidi Anthony Opara: Confidence in the present direction and future of any country arises from confidence in the political leadership of that country, whose duty it is to navigate the ship of that country. If the actions of a country’s political leadership are such that give rise to confidence, observers would have confidence, otherwise, there would be justifiable loss of confidence.
The actions of Nigeria’s present political leadership do not instil confidence, and so, I do not have confidence in her present direction and her future.
The present political leadership in Nigeria came to power on the promise of change. It was expected that that change would focus on the building of a strong system, in view of the fact that our problems in Nigeria are systemic. The expectation also was that since those promising change have been active in the system, they know that the problems are systemic.
Nearly two years into the coming into office of the present political leadership in Nigeria, the disposition is not toward the building of a strong system, rather, energy is dissipated on political gimmicks.
Chidi Anthony Opara is a Nigerian Poet and online publisher. He was born on the 8th day of August, 1963 in Umude Avuvu in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State Nigeria. He writes both in English language and in the Nigerian pidgin English language, and has published collections of poems. In December,2007, he founded and became the Publisher of “PublicInformationProjects”, an amalgam of blogs. Follow him on facebook or visit chidioparareports.blogspot.com
Dikeogu Chukwumerije: Democratically, yes, there is a growing belief in the power of The Citizen. As a Federation, no, we need to abandon this top-heavy federalism for a true one. Economically, no, our reluctance to take the difficult decisions required to free up the economy long-term keeps cost us dearly. As an administrative unit, no, our obsession with Federal Character to the detriment of a true meritocracy is killing us. As an ethno-religious amalgam, no, our deification of the concept of ‘state of origin’ institutionalizes tensions between indigenes and non-indigenes everywhere, consistently perpetuating conflict. As an idea – that resplendent idea of the world’s largest black nation with the capacity to restore the dignity of the Black Man everywhere by the simple act of rising to our feet – yes, that possibility, that potential, is still there.
Gabriel Udoh: Certainly NO.
Nigeria needs, foremost, a proper redirection and reorientation. If both the leadership and followership of the present day Nigeria continues in this path, we are successfully headed nowhere.
Foremost, a high percentage of our young population have chosen political enrichment over innovation as the proper and faster means of contributing to societal and human development.
Then there is the irredeemable problem of corruption. This dragon has numerous heads. It has flown through every single system itself, including the anti-corruption bureau.
Trust me; redemption will come. SURELY, but not in this direction.
Gabriel Udoh is a lawyer and researcher. He has professional contributions in numerous academic journals. Born in a family of three, he enjoys writing and publishing short stories and poetry. Catch him on www.iiwitness.blogspot.com. Facebook: Gabriel Special-One Udoh. Twitter: Gabriel UDOH. Instagram: Gabriel UDOH.
Koko Wanjiru Davids: Yes, I still have confidence in our present direction. I truly believe we are on the path to a better Nigeria. There’s a new Nigeria that awaits, but we must do away with the ills from the past that have plagued and led us to where we are. The greatest ill of all being corruption. Decades of thriving corruption in governance led to the neglect and decay of other sectors of the economy that should have been harnessed. If proper justice is meted out to those guilty of corrupt practices, it will serve as a deterrent and also ensure that anyone who holds public office is held accountable by all. Without corruption, we can build and run systems that actually work and guarantee that governance is effective across the board. I believe this is the vision of Nigeria the president has, hence his anti-corruption fight; to see a country where people don’t aspire to public office in order to “eat” their share of the national cake. If the president can get the right hands on deck (laying aside political differences), we can build a better nation. Nigeria is our home and irrespective of what is happening, we must not lose hope in her. As the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day.”
Koko Wanjiru Davids is a writer, life and relationship coach and youth mentor. Her vision is to help people discover and actualize their life’s purpose. Koko believes that true success cannot be achieved without fulfillment of purpose. She blogs on faithlifeandrelationships.blogspot.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @kokowanjiru.
Nneoma Albert-Benson: I really do not have confidence in Nigeria’s present direction. Where did we get it wrong? We have given so much power to leaders who are supposed to be servants of the people. Power should lie in the hands of the people and not their servants. This is where we have missed it. Imagine a household were the servant suddenly enslaved his master. What do you think will happen? The servant will work at all cost to ensure that the master NEVER gets hold of that power again because he fears what may become of him. That is the reason why with successive governments, we have synonymous issues. It is a fundamental error that needs to be addressed by the people and the people alone.
Richard Ali: I’m a writer, was active during the anti-fuel subsidy removal protests dubbed #OccupyNigeria, along with Gimba Kakanda, Gloria Agbaosi and others. While that was an aborted protest, sold out by the NLC and others, it was the root of what became the #BringBackOurGirls campaign of civil disobedience which discredited the legitimacy of the PDP’s Dr. Goodluck Jonathan -led government of Nigeria. Civil disobedience, a symptom of the youth bulge and inequities, saw President Muhammadu Buhari to power. Following the victory, I wrote an essay for The Mantle, New York, “The Age of Buhari: Regicide and the Post Ethnic Youth”. In the period since, the APC and Mr. Buhari have largely outraged our optimism, yet the cause for dissidence, the reason for their election remains—kleptocracy, cronyism, a belief in the ‘Nigerian God’ of miracles as opposed to institutions and planning. My confidence in the APC government and Mr. Buhari dwindles each day. Should this government last until the next elections, it will be removed. I’m confident that, if the middleclass can find the right language, a movement for social justice can be forged with the urban poor. The future is fine, assuming we get there. Getting there is where the difficulty lies.
Richard Ali is a legal practitioner. He’s worked in real estate, publishing and as a public sector Consultant. He lives in Abuja, Nigeria.
Unwana Umana: I have lost faith in this present government, they are repeating history. This time they have laced it with a word, change; and for this purpose, they encourage Nigerians to pray. Prayers won’t work, God had dropped knowledge for Nigeria ages ago but we want to pray about the same thing… That He answered since 1957 but the selfishness of tribes and wickedness of men, strongly puts this country to shame. Don’t blame people who aren’t patriotic anymore, because today’s Nigeria is not what the founding fathers planned or wanted. What we have today is mental slavery, tied to tribal and religious envy.
Now, the government is considering selling national assets including NLNG. Selling these assets would be a mistake, it will only be a temporary fix and will further drift Nigeria away from possibilities of economic and political restructuring. Something the country really needs in order to foster unity and trust amongst the tribes and ethnicities. This, I believe can signal an end to the call for Biafra and Niger Delta republic, a system that clearly says, all parts of this country matter, not just to be milked.
Suggestions to sell national assets is the height of refusal to do the needful, but an opportunity to scheme financial and economic wealth for a few. The country isn’t buying within, the country isn’t exporting enough from within… why? Because, the distribution lines/channels within the country are faulty. These distribution channels are not safe, secured. No new distribution channel, to reflect today’s population flow, and Nigerian Government of 2016, is still making economic policies for a Nigerian population of 1970.
No adequate exporting policy to favour all the regions, e.g if you make it easy to export Afang directly from Akwa Ibom State to the United states, hundreds of African shops are springing up in the US…. that’s an adequate exporting policy in place, making use of facilities we have in order to achieve what we need. We need to forget about depending on a single sea port, this will and does not help exporting. By the way, this does not get better by Lagos state government having additional two sea ports, that sort of economic move is why Nigeria is backward.
Nigeria needs to focus on pushing its raw materials out, by creating her own sustainable manufacturing hubs. Getting machines that will help transform our raw materials into world class or world needed products.
This can be achieved if states are allowed to control their resources; cut trade deals with other states and countries, as far as it is in line with Nigeria’s foreign policies.
When we look inwards, what we produce for ourselves will be cheaper to buy, and with the exchange rate, it gives the country an opportunity to make more money from exports.
But why is it so difficult to restructure the country’s political and economic system?
Because Nigeria’s economic and political system is based on tribalism not based on collective growth.
Nigeria does not need state police.
Let the center control the Police, Military and other security agencies. Let the states control their resources, let the states decide how they grow. . . even in Education. An unreliable education policy not in line with international best practices is one of the reasons we are not electing proactive leaders, working towards establishing practical solutions.
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