By Chuks Okocha
The National Coordinator, Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum and immediate past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. John Nnia Nwodo, has stated that restructuring is the easiest way to return Nigeria to the basic values it needed to become a great country again.
Nwodo’s view was contained in a paper titled “Reevaluation of African Values and Culture in the Face of the Crises of 21st Century” that he delivered at the 4th Chinua Achebe International Conference at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He noted that the changes in cultural values have traumatised the Nigerian society and led it to “yahoo yahoo,” cybercrime, illiteracy, insecurity, electoral dishonesty, lack of accountability, retardation in educational standards and insecurity, which could be remedied by going back to the basics by restructuring the country.
The former Minister of Information and Culture insisted that the only way Nigerians could see a better Nigeria in his life time is to “allow states to determine their educational, social welfare policies and security exclusively the ownership of their natural resources whilst paying royalties to the federal government for common services.”
He took a historical look at the destruction of the nation’s socio-political and cultural values and noted that the best way out is in the restoration of merits and abandonment of quota system.
Nwodo said: “All the major industrialised countries of the world thrive on merit. Merit promotes competition, rewards hard work and drives development. The idea that you can get admission to a Federal Secondary School, a polytechnic, a university or the civil service without excelling in a competitive examination destroys incentive for hard work and discovery of talents.
“This is the only country in the world where videos of electoral pooling booths are showed by television stations yet courts hold that the test of proving without reasonable doubt has not been met.
“This is the only country in the world where the defeated will find it difficult to concede because there is usually no compelling reason to do so.
“This is the only country in the world where it can take up to six months or more to conclude an election petition through the judicial process.”
He also bemoaned the wrong and inadequate deployment Nigerian youths and women in the political activities, noting that Nigeria would continue to be bereft of renascent ideas of the youth as long as they took the back seat in politics and prefer to receive handouts from politicians and do their bidding.
Nwodo pontificated that youths should be the uncontaminated segment of the Nigerian society and its tabula rasa. “It is from them that we can distill new and uncontaminated ideas of where the society should be headed”
“It was the young men in their 30s that fought for the independence of Nigeria. When Achebe wrote the ‘Things Fall Apart’ he propelled a revolution using his courage, his pen and his youthful zeal for change. So did Cyprian Ekwensi when he authored ‘Jagua Nana.’ Politics without ideas is like a car without a break.”