We are certainly not going to replace about $30bn worth of crude oil revenue doing business as usual. Maybe one of these 10 actions needs to occur to shake us out of our lethargy:
(1) A Nigerian climbing Mount Everest and planting our flag there
(2) A Nigerian astronaut taken into space with the American and Russian crews and planting our flag there
(3) Nigeria’s Super Eagles winning the Fifa World Cup
(4) A Nigerian elected as the head of the World Bank
(5) A Nigerian elected as the UN Secretary General
(6) Boeing, Embraer, Airbus, Bombarier or Comac opening an aircraft manufacturing facility in Nigeria
(7) A Nigerian scientist coming up with a coronavirus vaccine
(8) A Nigerian winning another Nobel Prize
(9) A Nigerian being elected pope of the Catholic Church
(10) The Nigerian military totally wiping out Boko Haram, killing Abubakar Shekau in the process
At the moment, I see no sign of us willing to change our ways as part of a quest to build a new society. Nothing I have seen suggests that if a messiah ran for president tomorrow we would elect him or her.
When Radovan Karadžić was elected chairman of the Serb Democratic Party in 1992, his mother said to him: “Even if you want to be an honest man, do you think they will let you be an honest man?” That for me sums up Nigeria of today.
No matter the programmes a person comes along with, the electorate is only interested in what short-term stomach infrastructure palliatives the candidate offers. We then complain when that person gets into office and recoups his or her investment.
As a people, we are not interested in policies, programmes or long term innovative ideas. Until we change this mindset of wanting to just enjoy the here and now, our utopian quest for good leaders will remain nothing but a mirage.
We naively believe that we can see progress when we keep consuming goods we do not produce, rush to Dubai to hold parties that could easily be held in Nigeria, spend any surplus income we generate on owambes and chieftaincy titles and keep converting factories into churches and mosques. In Vietnam, their mindset changed after the US invasion just as Japan did after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nigeria certainly needs a shock of some sort to her system to shake her out of this lethargy. We need to be prepared to leave our comfort zone if we want to see real change.