To Develop Nigeria, What Must Change First?

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Although the present administration swept into power nearly a year ago on the promise of change for the better, many Nigerians are angry because the situation appears worse than before, in terms of governance. However, some analysts also believe that change doesn’t have to come from government alone, and that it involves everyone and everything for real development to occur. To you, what must change first for Nigeria to develop, and how?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* We, starting from myself, must change first before any real change must happen in this our beautiful country. Our attitude in all things is appalling. Where do you start from: Is it on our roads and the way we behave when there is a little traffic buildup, is it our attitude towards amassing money by all means through all forms of scams and malfeasance, is it our glorifying people of all sorts of means without questioning where the wealth came from? I can go on and go on infinitum. In short we need a complete reorientation. This can only happen if we have people who have been accused of corruption and found wanting given appropriate jail terms not a slap in the wrist as was done a few years ago. Until people are really disgraced we will not be perturbed as a people.
– Prof. Kate Nwufo, mni, Abuja

* For Nigeria to continue developing, Nigerians must completely embrace the ‘buy Made in Nigeria’ philosophy and mantra, so jobs stay here.
– Mr. Ekwenjo Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* Nigeria can never develop properly under its present constitutional arrangement. There should be a constitutional change from the present highly centralised set-up that concentrates so much power at the centre, to a loose federation where the federating units will control their resources and pay tax to the central government for the maintenance of a few common services. The present dependency of federating units on funds from the central government breeds in them a state of political and economic languor. This stands as a hindrance to proper national development.
– Mr. Neville Kikpoye-Jonathan, President, Abua National Associates, Amalem -Abua, Rivers State

* For Nigeria to develop, the collective psyche of the citizens must change. We must stop running down locally-made products at the expense of fake foreign products and we must proudly promote the dignity of labour at the expense of quick corrupt enrichment. For the former to happen, government officials must lead by example by refraining from sending all their children to Ivy League schools in developed countries and even in nearby Ghana; and also stop running overseas for minor ailments like common cold or headache. All that can only stop when the foreign exchange expended on these frequent trips and foreign products are invested in developing basic infrastructure. When the masses see this pride in indigenous things being spearheaded by their representatives, all hands will be on deck to make the country a better place. Also, the successful prosecution and conviction of a top corrupt public official would help sway the doubting masses about government’s anti-corruption battle.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* Nigerians must practice and promote politics of nationalism, patriotism, character, equity, accountability, justice, ethnic and religious tolerance, morality, conscience, principle, fairness, anti-corruption, human, consumer and child rights and lastly service to humanity.
– Mr. Feyi Akeeb Kareem, Change Makers Forum, Delta State

* Governance and development are a collective effort and responsibility. Every individual must contribute his/her minute quota to produce giant strides. We must do proper moral trainings of children at home not collectively produce upright and very patriotic great citizens. All hands must be on deck because a tree does not make a forest, whereas unity is strength. No man can succeed all alone but the positive results of cooperation are amazing.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* President Muhammadu Buhari and APC promised Nigerians change and it must come; it is just a matter of time. PMB is on the right track to develop Nigeria. All the machinery has been put in motion to take Nigeria to the next level of infrastructural development and other sundry. Soon, PMB’s foreign trips will start yielding results. Every Nigerian will enjoy; what Nigerians should understand is that a race of one million miles starts with a step. I believe one year is not too much to judge leadership of four years. All we need is prayer and patience despite the challenges over fuel problem and other issues; we must reach our promised land.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* I believe that the change we need must involve everyone and everything and not necessarily government alone. It is a collective responsibility to really develop. We must work on our mindset positively and glue to a united patriotism.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos

* How can we develop our country if we don’t love ourselves? The problem with Nigerians is that if you are not of my tribe or we are not from the same religion then you better forget about it. Unless there is a total change from all these things and we start respecting our citizens, to develop Nigeria will only be lip talk.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Let every state introduce War Against Indiscipline (WAI) first.
– Mrs. Blessing Lawrence, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

* I used to think that change could begin with the masses but I am convinced that in Nigeria it has got to be the leadership. On a scale of access to resources, the ordinary Nigerian is far more corrupt than many of those in leadership positions; they simply do not have access to large funds. Many of the ghost workers/ pensioners we see on government payroll at different levels of government are perpetrated by lower and middle level civil servants. My experience at various filling stations recently has shown me how pathetic our situation really is. At the main NNPC mega-station in Jos, when you confront them about the sharp practices going on there, they have a ready slogan. They say ‘even if you are clean in the area of buying fuel, everyone is corrupt in one area or another’. When the masses begin to see what six trillion can achieve, then the change can begin to trickle down.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Nigeria must rethink its values, get priorities right and demonstrate a genuine change in attitude to redeem our nation and global image. This is the responsibility of every Nigerian and not just the leadership.
– Miss Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos

THE FEEDBACK

Top tip: Value re-orientation
Second: Promote local products
Third: Power devolution
Radical tip: Kill sacred cows!
Total no of respondents: 12
Male: 8
Female: 4
Highest location: Lagos (4)

Next Week: Despite Issues, Can Nigeria Remain United?

Against the background of the huge tension generated by the killings perpetrated by criminal herdsmen; the spate of random kidnappings of both top and average citizens; the clamour for separation by some regional interest groups; the lingering issues of economic hardship, mounting poverty and unemployment, the fear of the 2015 US-forecast on Nigeria’s break-up appears real. To you, is there any real and present danger to this country’s unity and collective development?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (May 5 & Monday, May 9) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, May 12