By Paul Jatau
THESE past few years have been trying moments for our dear country and State. So many things seem to be happening at the same time and with so much speed. Mass pogroms have become the order. And we seem to have lost our humanity as nothing bothers us anymore. From the North to the South, peace seems to have taken flight. Chaos seem to be the norm and we are not doing anything concrete to put a stop to this madness.
We pray in our various places of worship for peace to reign yet we forget that prayers without works amounts to nothing. Our holy books are very clear on this, that no manna will ever come from heaven. We forget that miracles only happen these days when we deliberately put in place measures for them to work and not just spending our time in prayer houses praying for what we have refused to work towards.
As a people, it is time for soul searching. A time to ask ourselves if we are on the right course or if we have veered off the mark and need to redirect our steps. Since the return to democracy in the last twenty-two years, things have gone from bad to worse for our country and our people. We have often transited from one crisis to another. Our lives seem to be defined by the many crises that have plagued and come to be a part of our society.
The Niger Delta catastrophe that was handed to the democratically elected Obasanjo government was the first litmus test for our democracy. When we were not able to get it right and handle it properly, opened the doorway for other agitations. Because justice was not served, others felt the best means to attract attention was to resort to self help. And by self help, it meant forcing the attention of the state by causing it to notice your activities, albeit forcefully. The language of force became the norm as if we were all waiting for the military to retreat so that we unleash and vent our bundled anger on ourselves.
This, however has been so because we have failed to serve justice and fairness at the right time. Some people have been treated as unequal partners in the enterprise called Nigeria while other have had to struggle to make life worth living without safeguards being provided for them to thrive. Resources meant to serve the generality of the public were cornered by a few leaving the majority to wallow in abject poverty and want. State funds were and, are still being used to the advantage of a few. The rest are considered as the dregs of the society, who deserve nothing but suffering.
The enterprise of governance has been cornered for the enjoyment of a few. And nothing is done to correct this contradiction by those whose business is managing the resources of the state on behalf of the majority. It is these contradictions that have brought the country to this pass where everyone seems to be on their own and God for all of us. We are at the point where brutish force seems to be the only way to survive. This jungle we have deliberately created is a sure path to perdition for us as a country and a people unless we retrace our steps.
How can we return to the path of growth and unity? Justice must be served to all manner of people. The people must be treated as equals not one tribe lording it over others. Our leaders must rise to the protection of the people whenever an injustice is done to anyone not just their own. They must not allow people to begin to agitate before doing what they are paid to do nor should they be compelled to act when performing their statutory functions would have doused the tension.
Leaders must be blind to religion. They must not be tribal bigots nor should they be regional enthusiasts. They must see the country as their constituency and act like the nationalists of days gone by who we often talk about in glowing terms. We must ask ourselves whether our founding fathers would be happy and proud of the country we inherited from them.
To build a strong and new nation therefore, we must retrace our steps. We must emphasis those things that bind us rather than those that divide us. We must put in place deliberate measures to help unite us. And, we must put in place a leadership recruitment process which will give all young people the opportunity to aspire to any office of their choice without let.
The young people must realize too that they must take responsibility and show seriousness. Unless they arm themselves with requisite and new skill sets they are not likely to compete. The days where you spread falsehood on the social media expecting manna to come from heaven are over. They must be up and about. They must seize the moment and work their way up the ladder of growth.