No doubt, we all know what makes a decade. The last decade ended 31st December, 2019 having begun 1st January 2010. It completes a full decade, 10 years. It was filled with momentous and unforgettable events — some pleasant, some were not. Others neither here nor there. There were heroes, heroines, pacesetters, change agents and history makers for us as a Nation.
In the just concluded decade, Nigeria and Nigerians had very interesting events that have shaped our history. First Nigeria completed two decades of non-interrupted democracy changing from one political party to another. Also, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP lost power at the national to All Progressive Congress, APC with President Mohammadu Buhari serving his second term in office currently.
It was indeed a decade of political lessons for the parties in Nigeria. Some believe the nation is on a path to progress though rough while others differ pointing to evidences of poverty and pains under the current administration. Both school of thoughts may be right in their views. Progress accompanying with changes is not always sweet to bear.
Obviously, two decades of democracy in Nigeria have brought some movements from where we were but definitely the progress is not commensurate with the fund expended just as the poverty rate has not abated.
As we move into yet another decade, the concern of this piece is to identify 4 major areas we must concentrate efforts if Nigeria wants to be relevant in the comity of Nations in another decade. Our leaders should focus on these areas and be ready to make the needed sacrifices for the progress of Nigeria and Nigerians.
EDUCATION: Education is the bed rock of any nation that yearns or hopes for development. A group of educated people hold in their hands keys to defeat poverty. Many of the societal issues Nigeria faced in the just ended decade bothered on poverty which is an off shoot of poor or non-education.
The challenge of Boko Haram in the north east is purely a failure of government to give quality and focused education to the people.
Moving into the new decade, our leaders should place quality education above the rhetorics. Conscious efforts must be geared towards good, quality and quantitative education. For instance, the federal government’s 2020 budget for education in Nigeria as well as most states of the federation can be best described as jokes. Federal Ministry of Education budget for 2020 is, N84,728,529,572. No nation places a loose attention on education like Nigeria and hope to progress.
Governments at all levels must take deliberate efforts in educating her teeming populace. An educated soul is a liberated soul.
Developed nations have values. These values are taught and inculcated in their school curriculum. Their citizens can predict what the dreams of their nations are based on the shared values. If I may ask, what is our Nigerian dream? Where is Nigeria headed based on our known or unknown values?
The current leadership in Nigeria must be seen to be futuristic in thinking and actions. Not just planning for an election every four years but taking a leap step in planning for the two, three up to five decades yet to come.
When and if this happens, the teenagers of today would be in leadership positions tomorrow. Hence, the nation must inculcate in them “meat” for tomorrow which are the values the founding fathers died for. Governments should take the fresh opportunity presented by the new decade to thinking outside the box and fix Nigeria’s tomorrow. Posterity will not judge right those who eat our tomorrow, today.
Since the return of democracy over two decades ago, one major characteristic of leadership in Nigeria has been lack of genuine governance. We have traders but not leaders. Men in position serving personal interests as against national interests.
But as we begin another decade journey, there should be a consensus that a 360-degree positive turn is needed if we want a difference when this decades ends in ten years from now.
Genuine men and women of values should vie for positions and ensure the needed constitutional amendments are made to accommodate progressive ideas as against the colonial mentality our current constitution presents.
Piece meal or politically colored infrastructure is injurious to Nigeria. The nation will be 60 years old by October 2020. The infrastructure on ground do not reflect this reality at all. For instance, the power sector has been in comatose since 1999. Even till today, there is no significant improvement despite the changes of governments and various administrations spending billions of naira.
If in this new decade, our government can be focused in providing power for Nigerians, then we can be assured of our long-denied progress.
Clearly, what will make this new decade different from the past decades as a people will be the commitment of all including those in government and followers to a common goal of developing Nigeria where everyone will thrive, progress and prosper.
Sunday Osanyintuyi, a media communication consultant writes from Lagos via firstname.lastname@example.org