By Segun Showunmi
The year 2020 was exasperating to say the mildest. Humanity was tried, and we have the scars to show for it in the memories of loved ones lost to COVID-19, on a global scale, and terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, on the national front.
The economic impact of the huge challenges on our people was real, and the capacity of government to manage things was truly tested.
We carried ourselves reasonably well, given the odds, and though there were gloomy predictions of how things could have been, thankfully, they were not. Our national mortality level, owing to COVID-19, is one of the lowest – indeed we must have done something right, and we have all our frontline workers to be thankful to for their labour of love and sacrifice.
Despite the frequency of incidence which is painfully regretted, we must thank our officers and men of the armed forces for showing up at every flashpoint, confronting criminal elements who seemed determined to test our resolve as a people. We will indeed not be broken for there is something about the irrepressible Nigerian Spirit. We are grateful to God for it could have been worse.
May 2021 be a magnificent year in all ramifications, and for that to be, we must as a nation collectively and individually press the RESET button. We must act with a determination to make our country work, to do all within our power to think good thoughts about our nation, and to review our individual errors, to correct them, so that the great nation we are meant to be may begin to emerge to the glory of God. Also, that our actions may be pleasing of our heroes past and the respect of all nations.
If there was ever a time to say with sincerity the words of JF Kennedy – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – the time is now for Nigeria.
I will attempt to set an agenda for us as a nation that greatness may not elude us.
- We need to settle the reccurring issues of our federalism. It is time to quickly agree the basis of our nationhood. No one but us is holding us back on this front. The advantage far outweighs the concerns for I genuinely don’t see any disadvantage.
- We need to look at our policing and security architecture. We must refit them to give us what our situation now demands. We have put to the best use that which we inherited; we have come of age and can think up a more effective security structure for ourselves. For instance, will state police not be necessary?
- We cannot be in a democracy and see how cumbersome our election processes are and not demand an improved electoral act. Particularly, we need an act that goes deeper, especially at better political party regulations, smoother voting process, far more transparent collation and transmission of results, and does not leave room for as many litigations as we presently have. It will engender more participation and better quality of leaders.
- We must do everything to improve the narrative about our country both within and externally. One sometimes gets the impression that the propagation of negativity is dangerously on the high side mostly as religious altars have not been spared, neither have the tribal diversity of our unique country. We must work very hard with relevant stakeholders to redirect things to give us the courage to build the future.
I will stop at these for I believe the issues of poverty, unemployment and despair will give way once we put our collective wills to work for our great nation.
Happy New Year, Nigeria. May 2021 be a magnificent year for us all.