Recently, Nigeria celebrated her 60th independence anniversary with series of events across the country. While some Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari and members of his cabinet, converged on Eagle Square in Abuja for the commemoration, other Nigerians gathered in Jos, Plateau State, at an event tagged ‘Nigeria Reboot’, reports Ralph Madugu
While President Buhari, his predecessors and other dignitaries converged on Eagle Square, Abuja, to mark the diamond jubilee of the nation’s independence, elsewhere in Jos, Plateau State, there was a gathering of other Nigerians who x-rayed the obstacles that have stunted the development of the country and concluded that Nigeria needs is a reboot and not dismemberment as was being clamoured for by some Nigerians.
The event, tagged ‘Nigeria Reboot,’ featured the public presentation of a template for national renewal which the organizers called‘The Nigeria Green Papers,’ which is a collection of twelve key papers encompassing issues that have challenged the nation on its path to nationhood and contributed in pushing the nation to the brink.
Participants maintained that Nigeria’s journey of nationhood in the past 60 years has had challenges and disruptions but opined that there are still huge opportunities, especially for the Church in Nigeria, to contribute to the rebooting, which is neither about going back to the country’s past sordid experiences nor its current predicaments.
In his speech at the occasion, TEARFUND’S Country Director, Mr. Paul Mershak, stated that 60 years of Nigeria’s independence had come with “moments of trials and triumphs, twists and turns, but through it all, God has kept the nation we believe to play a high purpose, blessing not only the continent of Africa but also nations of the world.”
On what he termed “contextual challenge,” Mr. Mershak pointed out that in the last 60 years, citizens had come to see Nigeria as being both blessed and a “broken nation tossed on turbulent waters by centrifugal waves.”
Said he: “On the nation’s trajectory several opportunities have been presented to it to recast its systems, structures and culture with a view to enabling it become a sustainable nation, however, these opportunities have been missed in many cases.”
He explained that TEARFUND believed that ‘The Nigeria Green Papers’ would contribute to building the nation’s economic and social system with a view to having a fairer, sustainable and resilient future reflected in enhanced social justice, reduced inequality, poverty and social crisis.
“In spite of the huge disruptions caused by COVID-19, Tearfund Nigeria, Yusufu Turaki Foundation, Nigeria Evangelical Fellowship (NEF), Christian Rural and Urban Development Association (CRUDAN) and Jos Green Centre perceive this moment as a strategic moment in global history. Rather than curse the darkness, we perceive opportunities to reboot the Nigerian nation.”
He added that the Green Papers project would soon produce the ‘Plateau State Paper’ which would be based on transition to Green Economy accompanied by seven models developed to cover the environment, water resources and energy, agriculture, economic planning, youth development, urban development, transport and tourism.
Presenting a paper on the topic ‘Nigeria’s Unfinished Business,’ Prof. Yusuf Turaki, argued that Nigeria’s problem was not lack of natural and human resources but Nigerians’ “ human composition and the chemistry and synergy of socio-cultural, religious and regional values and institutions.”
He said at any efforts to salvage the situation without an ideology of nation building and national integration would continue to fail.
Said he: “Our diverse sectarian, ethnic, regional, religious and cultural character traits, attitudes, behaviours and social practices are indeed the major obstacles and frustrations of our effective nation-state building. Nigeria has yet to produce a crop of national and patriotic elites, politicians and leaders who can resolve the divisive and conflictual identity crisis of Nigerians. Nigeria today, is at the peak of its identity crisis. Nigerians are pulling Nigeria apart because of conflicting identity crisis of various ethnic groups and geo-political settings.”
The event featured special prayers for Nigeria, a saxophone rendition by Tope Sax and a Reboot Nigeria presentation tagged ‘Diamonds are not forever’ by Oscar Fwangmun Danladi.
There were goodwill messages from the ECWA President, Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, the COCIN President, Rev. Dr. Dachollom Datiri and other dignitaries in attendance. Highpoint of the occasion was the symbolic public presentation of ‘The Nigeria Green Papers.’