From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi The Benue State House of Assembly has assured the organised labour of its preparedness to meet Governor Samuel Ortom with a view to ensuring that part of the arrears or salaries owed workers were paid to hem. This step, they believed, would enable the workers to suspend the indefinite industrial action…
By CHIEDU UCHE OKOYE
IS Nigeria not a nation of nations with her many diverse ethnic groups? Nigeria has more than 250 disparate ethnic and linguistic groups. A very populous country with about 190 million people, one out of every five black persons is believed to be a Nigerian. And her citizens living outside the shores of the country are contributing significantly and immensely to the development of their host countries.
More so, Nigeria is blessed with material resources like coal, limestone, tin ore, bauxite and crude oil. Today, our mono-economy is sustained by the revenue generated from crude-oil. Crude oil revenue has replaced agriculture as the major source of our national income, although, lately, concerted efforts are being made to diversify our economy and to revive the dying practice of agriculture at the state and national levels.
In the past, soon after Nigeria had become a sovereign state, our economy became buoyant and prosperous owing to the fact that humongous revenue would accrue into the country’s coffers from the exportation of such cash crops as cocoa, palm oil and groundnut.
Then, we practised regionalism. Cocoa in the Western region was what palm oil was to the Eastern region. And the Northern people were adept at cultivating groundnut. In fact, groundnut pyramid is still synonymous with the North.
Nigeria’s weather and arable soil are factors that favour agricultural practice. Our climatic condition is equable; and our land fertile. The discovery as well as production of oil, which yields us huge money, displaced agriculture as our chief income earner.
Sadly, our oil wealth has become our national curse as our successive political leaders corruptly enriched themselves from the national treasury. Since our attainment of political freedom, our country hasn’t been led by its best political leaders, who possess leadership qualities and nationalistic fervor. They’re the products of the warped and despicable culture of imposition of leaders by the kingmakers and other interests. The departing foxy British imperialists laid the egregious foundation of the culture of imposition of leaders on us.
So, it is an incontrovertible fact that bad political leaderships interspersed with despotic military regimes stalled our national development. Thankfully, since 1999, we have had uninterrupted civilian governance. And millions of Nigerians greeted the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as our president with jubilation and optimism owing to the fact that he has Spartan nature, avuncular disposition and zero tolerance for corruption.
Not a few people believed him to be the political messiah that would right the wrongs in our country, turn around our ailing economy, and set the country on the irreversible path of technological advancement. But his occupation of the highest political office in the land has led to his demystification and unraveling.
President Buhari’s incapacity owing to his experiencing of spells of ill-health since his assumption of duties as Nigeria’s President has caused him not to perform his duties at his optimal capacity. But, instead of seeking medical treatment in Nigerian hospitals, he would travel abroad for medical treatment. Has he spared a thought for our dismal and dysfunctional healthcare delivery system since he returned from Britain, where he had gone for medical treatment? Now, our health institutions are suffering from utter governmental neglect. Resident doctors in Nigeria are either carrying out industrial action or they’re contemplating one. And our hospitals are decrepit and dilapidated. This situation does not bode well for our health care delivery system. Have we forgotten the adage that says health is wealth?
Again, the ASUU strike has caused the suspension of academic activities in our universities with its calamitous effects. It is a known fact that this current civilian administration inherited the ASUU problems; however, the expeditious resolution of the problem will endear this government to the teeming masses. Education is the bedrock of national development. And no country that is desirous of achieving national development treats its educational problems in a cavalier way.
The sooner this problem is resolved the better for us. An idle hand is a devil’s workshop, so says an adage. Today, thousands of people are signing up or enlisting in the Boko Haram insurgent group, not minding the fact that the group has suffered huge fatalities, lately. Boko Haram insurgency hasn’t been totally eradicated in the north. The existence of the Boko Haram group in Nigeria, which wants to establish Islamic theocracy in our country, poses a threat to our national unity and the continuous existence of Nigeria as one country.
In addition to the evil and bloody deeds, which are being perpetrated by the Boko Haram group, the separatist groups in Nigeria have been executing centrifugal and divisive deeds that undermine our national cohesion and unity. The IPOB is relentlessly pursuing the goal of achieving statehood for the South-east people. In reaction to their agitation, the Northern youths issued an ultimatum to the people of Igbo extraction living in the North to leave the area on or before October 1. This state of things has increased the political tension in the country. Have the peace parleys convened by the leaders of our ethnic groups truly doused the rising tension in the country?
The remote and underlying factors that have given rise to the renewed agitation for a separate country for the Igbo people should be addressed holistically. They’re treated unfairly in the country. Buhari’s appointments of people into Federal organizations or establishments in the country do not reflect the federal character principle ,which is operative in the country. Compared to other federal roads in the country, federal roads in the South-east are in deplorable condition. The Enugu-Onitsha Expressway is now impassable.
Again, Buhari’s economic policies have caused the financial disempowerment of millions of people. They’re now reduced to sub-human status by grinding poverty. And the Federal Government hasn’t solved the niggling problem of unemployment in the country, too.
Millions of youths are without jobs now. It is from this disgruntled and disillusioned pool of people that separatist groups and terrorist organizations recruit people whom they indoctrinate with noxious teachings and philosophies.
Okoye writes from Awka, Anambra State.