Which Way Nigeria? Thirty-four years after, the question of Sunny Okosun's classic resounds louder than ever

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Sunny Okosun

It became more than urgent for someone to speak out. A voice with clarity of thoughts; and Sunny Okosun did his best.

"Our ambitions to be millionaires is running the country down... Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t die." -- Sunny Okosun (Which way Nigeria?)

When Sunny Okosun released this classic-- Which way Nigeria in February 1983, it was with the intent to bring a truthful realization to both the leaders and populace of our beloved nation.

Nigeria, as at then, was in a situation that could best be described as a state of disarray. And as a result, the country was being dragged into a hole of economic mess.

The obviousness of this fact was so clear that even those without formal education could tell that things were beginning to fall apart.

It became more than urgent for someone to speak out. A voice with clarity of thoughts; and Sunny Okosun did his best.

However, it's been thirty-four years since Nigeria was asked which way by the legend himself and not one among our numerous leaders has taken it upon his/herself to reply with action. Not even we the populace.

Our nonchalant-ness has made it impossible for us to answer.

Be that as it may, it is important for us to realize now that our beloved country is on a perilous path. And if nothing is done to checkmate this downward movement, the crash will be fatal.

Below are some of the problems that were, and are still, holding back the progress of Nigeria

1. Tribal hostility

With the Hausas and Igbos playing the lead role in this league, there seems to be an endless strife between the ethnic groups of our beloved country.

Nigeria is an amalgam of over 300 ethnic tribes. And for some reasons, these tribes haven't found a way to coexist peacefully, despite the fact that they have lived together for over a century.

The reason for this is deep. And religion seems to be playing a key role.

As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Nigerians pledge allegiance to their tribe, and religion, first and second, before their country.

And as a result of this, square pegs have gone into round holes and needless squabbles have degenerated into full-blown war.

Tribalism and senseless sentiment reign supreme in Nigeria. And until this is checked through the right orientation, our chances of progress will be bleak.

ALSO READ: Deteriorating state of education in Nigeria

2. Leader's Immunity

It was when the People’s Republic of China decided to place everybody, including the leaders, under the rule of law that progress started showing its face on her flag.

We have been told before that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It is only in Africa, and Nigeria in PARTICULAR, that leaders at the federal, state and local government levels feel invincible and disregard the rule of law whenever they can.

And because of the consciousness of their self-given immunity, our leaders bend rules to their wishes without regard to the stated consequences of the country’s constitution.

On the other hand, the judiciary which is supposed to put constraints on this senseless freedom seems to have compromised.

Their power to determine right and wrong appears to only come to fore when it concerns the average Nigerian.

This evil is like cancer, and it has eaten too deep into our nation’s soul.

However, if we desire to progress as a people then we must see to it that something is done to curb these excesses.

3. Administrative Inefficiency

Our country's biggest problem is its lack of good leadership. Although this can be argued, but it is true.

Nigeria as a country has not been able to rule itself efficiently or achieve political stability since 1960.

From the classified rooms in Aso Rock, down to the public offices of civil servants, there seems to be a spirit of lukewarmness hovering around.

As a result of this, the Nigerian civil service has depreciated over the years and is now riddled with corruption and ineptitude.

And due to tribalism and other ills, appointments into offices are based on nepotism instead of pragmatism; making it possible for unqualified candidates to be positioned in offices that they cannot run.

This wrongfulness is counted among the many ills that have brought us to our present situation. And nothing will change until we decide to make a change.

 

ALSO READ: 'A failed people are the progenitors of a failed state'

4. Bad economy

That there is still life in the country's economy despite years of endless looting, simply connote that the unseen hand of providence is on our side. Otherwise, the worse would have happened.

But it can also be argued that the worse is already happening because things have gotten really bad for the average Nigerian.

As of now, hopelessness has taken the place of hope; and faith in one's nation seem to have died off.

Everything that is supposed to stimulate economic growth is in shambles and to make it worse, nothing is being done to restructure them.

How can we make progress in a state like this? How?

5. Over Dependence on oil

The elderly ones among us would say that our problem started when crude oil was discovered in the Niger Delta.

That which is supposed to be a blessing now paints our economy with a curse.

It should be noted that before the discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri, Nigeria’s economy was well sustained with Agriculture. And all hands were on deck to ensure the continuation of this sustenance.

However, due to high demand for crude oil, agriculture was abandoned. And we as a nation has since then depended solely on oil as its source of revenue without seeking other means of making money.

There are more than enough resources in Nigeria to keep the country running. But somehow, we have decided not to be reasonable.

The consequence of this act of ours, coupled with corruption and a non-saving culture, helped in pushing the country’s economy into where it is today.

It cannot be argued that Nigeria’s present situation is not worse than what it used to be when the song "Which way Nigeria?" was sung.

And if this is true as we know it is, then the time has come for us to stand up and take and demand responsibilities for our actions. Because only in doing so can we convince progress to take side with us as a nation.

ALSO READ: Ex-president says his generation has failed Nigeria

 



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