Friday, 9 September 2016

Nigeria in desperate times: What should we the citizens do?- Bobby Udoh

I find this article by Bobby Udoh a renowned Nation-Builder very helpful at this critical time in our Nation. Nigeria is at a verge where all Nigerians must work for her survival, and I am a strong believer in being the change I want to see. Bobby shares my thought on some of the points I shared in one of my article. Below lets read from Bobby and don't forget to be the change you want to see.

For several years now, I have written numerous articles seeking to stir up a critical mass of citizens to get involved in nation-building. Those were in the days we were selling a barrel of crude oil, our main source of income, for over $100 (an oil boom). Well, crude oil prices are falling and as such, we as a nation are facing desperate times. Continue

With the drop in oil prices, our government will experience significant drop in revenue and this happens at a time when we are financing our budget through loans and are spending most of that budget on government overheads instead of capital projects. 

With no sufficient savings to weather the storm, I don’t need to be a prophet of doom to declare that we are entering a season of austerity and in my view, it would be unprecedented. Reason being, compared to the austerity seasons of the past, we have increased significantly in population, producing a much larger number of unemployed citizens; run a much bigger government (political appointees and civil servants); are involved in a large scale war against terrorism and militancy requiring huge investment into equipment, training and personnel allowances; large scale corruption at all levels and all sectors of society; and a culture of extravagance amongst the government and citizenry. 

The facts before us do not look good and the options seem quite limited. Yes, we need to diversify our economy but that will require a significant rise in entrepreneurship and government’s investment into other sectors. How can this be possible with very limited funds available and most committed to recurrent expenditure? Even a rise in entrepreneurship requires a good level of security, law and order and first class infrastructure (particularly energy, internet and transportation system). This is seriously lacking and as such requires huge investment. 

Others say we should break up and you ask yourself, ‘What will each new country live on, even the oil-rich Niger Delta region?’ This is besides the rise in communal disputes amongst supposed brothers. 

Adding to this quagmire is the dominance of religion on our nation, producing citizens with little or no ability to think critically and independently. Without the foundational element of critical thinking, it becomes almost impossible to see how we can emerge out of this conundrum with the attainment of our objective of national development. 

In the past, our deliverance came only through an increase in oil prices but with the change in oil politics (America not purchasing from us anymore, OPEC now a minority player, some OPEC members refusing to reduce production, a rise in alternative to crude oil, etc.), expecting an oil price increase in the future may be considered an act of stupidity. 

So, what should you and I as citizens of this nation with great potentials do? 

Pray: I have heard many citizens say that we pray too much in Nigeria. We may have prayed but not for Nigeria. Prayer is the most critical step every citizen can and should take because out of it comes the guidance on what and how to do and the courage to step out and do. 

We need focused prayers for our government (executive, legislature and judiciary), our military, the younger generation, the retired generation and the current generation. We need prayers for a shift in our mindset, the adoption of the nation-building core values and for our specific initiative to effect change. 

Maximise democratic opportunities: We are in a democracy and though it is not properly practiced in the short time we have had it, it presents enormous opportunities for citizens to participate in governance. 

The opportunities go beyond voting at elections. It also includes following up closely on the activities of our representatives in local, state and federal legislature; reviewing government budgets and expenditures, seeking better management of resources; supporting credible candidates putting themselves forward for office; joining a political party and participating in the party primaries as a candidate or as a party member; attending rallies and protest marches against unfair government policies; etc. 

Unlike the military regimes, we do have a say in a democracy and the more we harness the opportunities, the more opportunities will be made available. 

Identify your area of pain, plan and action: We each have different areas that trouble us the most and it is our duty to identify that particular area, develop a plan of action and then launch out to implement the plan. 

Some are most pained about education, some about agriculture, some about politics, some about sports, some about science and technology, some about environmental issues, some about commerce, some about youth development, etc. The burden about your area of pain is a call to you to contribute to national development through that area. There will be citizens with similar callings and you will find them when you launch out and do something, no matter how small. 

Teach others: To be honest, only a small number of citizens will see the possibilities for development in this desperate season. It is therefore incumbent on these citizens who have prayed and are filled with faith and the desire to make the sacrifice, to not only launch and sustain their nation-building initiatives but also to mobilise several other citizens through their teaching. 

They should teach through their verbal and non-verbal communication, model their lifestyle (mindset and core values) and proactively mentor others to reproduce citizens like them. 

Summary 

Many believe this reduction in revenue will reduce stealing. This statement highlights our disconnection with the issues facing our nation. Reason being, the culture of impunity is well established in our nation and that means, whether the revenue is high or low, stealing will continue. The key point is that the reduced revenue will lead to further hardship for the middle and lower classes of citizens for a sustained period. 

If we don’t get involved to stem the tide by participating in governance, we will dwell in this difficult season for longer than necessary without a positive outcome. I would like to think that a greater motive would be the desire to see a developed Nigeria where peace, justice, security, freedom, opportunities, equality, unity and continuous innovation reign. 

Will you get involved in building a developed Nigeria? You can start your participation by joining us for our Nation-building Fellowship Meeting on Saturday 13th December, 2014 at 51, Opebi Street (2nd Floor), Ikeja, Lagos from 9am-11am. We commit time to pray strongly and specifically for Nigeria and nation-builders, have a time of pure worship and a time of mindset-transforming teaching that will equip us to undertake the task of building a developed Nigeria.

Off on a trip, will be back to blogging on Monday. Do stay tuned.

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