Prosperity for All Nigerians: A Mirage or an Attainable Dream?
October 13, 2014
That our country is richly endowed and yet our people are manacled tightly by unconscionable levels of deprivation and poverty is no longer news. Nigeria ranks unfortunately amongst such paradoxically wealthy nations in terms of resources, with a major mass of poverty stricken citizenry. Whereas there are countries like Japan or Switzerland and several others who are absolutely deficient in terms of resources, yet rank amongst the wealthiest countries in terms of GDP and Per Capita. Ours like many others on the African continent or Latin America is the exact opposite; richly endowed, but greed and inept management has invariably catalysed economic stagnation and massive poverty.
The reasons for our poverty are equally well documented, but that is not the bone of contention in this discourse. Rather, I want to pose a salient question based on a firm conviction I have. And that is what can we as individual citizens in our country do to ensure that we become wealthy both in resources, with a complement of prosperous masses to show for it? While I have to admit that there is no country in the world where all its citizens are relatively prosperous, as it is absolutely impossible to completely eradicate poverty in any economy for a variety of reasons, which is a topic for another day.
However, having said this, there is a way that a country could provide the enabling environment that would allow and encourage most of its citizens to be productively engaged, therefore providing them with access and opportunity to achieve success and fulfilment. This is what I refer to when I talk about my dream of prosperity for all Nigerians. In this instance, the productive base of our economy will be so robust that it will have a rippling effect on our national wealth. To the extent that it will not represent too much burden for our government to have an efficient welfare system in place which will cater for those who for one reason or the other are unable to be gainfully employed or economically productive.
In all sincerity, the task of nation-building is always a hugely onerous one that requires each and every stakeholder to play their own peculiar roles. This is the point where some have accused me of being too idealistic, rather than realistic. This is in view of my firm conviction in the idea that each and every single Nigerian has the responsibility to shoulder the burden of nation-building. Reason being that on the long run, it is the sum of individual Nigerians that make up the country called Nigeria. And as such, if each of us should play our unique parts as the building blocks that will be used to construct the edifice called Nigeria, then as our national anthem professes, we would have been well on our way to attaining great lofty heights.
As simple and logical as this sound, it is indeed quite a difficult situation. It is simple in the sense that by participating in the electoral process, Nigerians actually have a golden chance to have both their say and their way, if they are very methodical and tenacious about it. However, the fact that our political history has been marred with humongous scales of malpractices in the past makes the situation much more complicated. Many of us have justifiably lost faith in the electoral process, but then, on the long run, we would only hurt whatever chance our country has to forge a new future for itself through our votes, if we continue to stay away. Or worse still, we begin to endorse the status quo business as usual candidates for office, because we would rather join them since we can’t beat them. Bottom-line is that you and me must imbibe a voting culture and also take it upon ourselves to enlighten as many as possible within our various spheres of influence, to embrace and begin exercising our civic duty of casting our votes rightly during every elections. This in my view represents the most sensible way we can with our own hands as Nigerians orchestrate monumental changes across our polity that will make the dream of prosperity for all Nigerians very much attainable.