A wine is said to get better with age, a country should too. Since independence to its first military coup, from its first and only civil war to the return of democracy, our country – Nigeria, has witnessed its fair share of ups and downs.
Today, Nigeria celebrates 61 years post-independence, faced with far-reaching challenges, prices of food and other essential commodities have gone past the reach of the average man, people are living in fear and mutual suspicion.
The security challenges once restricted to a part of the country has spread to virtually all nook and cranny of the Nation. Kidnapping, cattle rusttling and banditry has thrived, with Nigerians having to cough millions to secure release of their loved ones.
Terrorism in the country already witnessed a new twist with the introduction of ISWAP, these and other security challenges have stretched our security forces, it’s a relief that they’re now responding well, and are making reasonable gains.
Whilst the government at all levels are collaborating to tackle the challenges bewildering us as a people, it is important that they understand the root cause of our numerous problems is “poverty”.
I am of the believe that the greatest challenge of our country is economic in nature, it’s better left unimagined how poverty and unemployment has led more people to crime.
The inability of the government to cut administrative costs and tackle corruption, has made youths loose hope in the system, the result is a massive brain drain. How then can a Nation survive and prosper without its best brains?
The government should as a matter of urgency take proactive steps to lift as many people out of poverty, with over 40% of its citizens languishing in poverty, the scenario if it continues potends a worse situation than that which currently subsists. If we want the fabric of our Nation to remain strong, this trend must be reversed urgently. This requires genuine sacrifice from the political class.
There should be unrestricted access to basic amenities of life, such as clean water, free basic education in its true state, and good healthcare. Cost of servicing political office holders should be cut and minimum wage should be raised. The government should also be sincere in its policies, thereby increasing the trust and cooperation of citizens in its programs.
The cloud hovering around the future of the country may be blurry, but we should keep our hope strong and alive, in our diversity lies our strength, we should continue being patriotic citizens, even when it is unfashionable, with time, like an old wine, our situation will definitely get better.
Hakeem Oladimeji Lawal
Chairman, Awliya Foundation