How to make Nigeria work

Cuban revolutionary leader, Che Guevara, once stated that “a large proportion of the so-called developing nations are in total stagnation, and in some of them, the rate of economic growth is lower than that of population increase.”

However, catering for the welfare of citizens is the purpose of governance. This agrees with the thoughts of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who once said that man, the initiator, is also the beneficiary of his benevolent actions.

Governance, ab initio, must be about catering to the physical, social, and spiritual welfare of the individual Nigerian, regardless of ethnic, social, educational, and religious backgrounds.

The individual must be the focus of the current plan from the poverty that raggae musician, Majek Fashek, says is Nigeria’s main problem.

Now, the Niger Delta Avengers, who want a referendum that will give those who want to leave the Nigerian state the opportunity, miss it.

The militant group should both be talking about the good of Nigerian citizens.

Unfortunately, the failure of the Nigerian state to guarantee opportunities for optimal exploitation of its material and social resources has compelled many to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

The resultant brain and brawn drains have led many to adopt citizenship of other nations. The name of Onitsha-born sprinter, Francis Obikwelu, who became a citizen of Portugal in 2001 readily comes to mind.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggests that “Each of us places in common his person and all his power under the supreme direction of the general will.” The aggregate will of the people, transformed into sovereignty, is transferred to the state, the supreme, final, absolute, coercive power, by whose leave governments exercise power.

When the purpose of governance is agreed and settled in the interest of the individual, and the people have a common understanding of the purpose of government, then one can determine the political and economic route – democratic, republican, communist, socialist, free-market, or mixed economy, or whatever else – to be travelled to run the polity.

When this is also settled, the ability of the state to rationally allocate scarce economic resources is further enhanced. In other words, the economic fortune of all citizens is in the politics that binds all. The Yoruba put it in a more roundabout manner by saying that the aliment of Aboyade afflicts all worshipers of “oya” deity.

The Nigerian state must define in clear and certain terms the national interest and the road that will be travelled to actualise it.


  • Lekan Sote,