As we progress towards our 50th anniversary as an independent nation and a transition in 2011, one thing we as Nigerians have to note is that if we must have better results in the next 50 years, we need to change the way we have always done things. For instance, we can no longer rely on individuals to drive peace and progress in Nigeria. We need to over the next 50 years concentrate on building strong institutions and systems that will drive our transformation to a greater and better nation. This is because individuals come and go, but institutions and systems remain behind. Also, whereas individuals do change depending on their moods, whims and caprices, an institution is stable especially if it is built and operated on the rule of law that is anchored on fairness and justice.
So whether it is the Executive arm of government or the Legislature or Judiciary, we really have to start building institutions and systems rather than personality cults. Our law enforcement bodies, the office of the Attorney General, The Accountant General and the Auditor General of the Federation all must be developed with the aim of making the institution and the statute creating them as well as the Constitution stronger than the individuals who occupy these strategic offices.
The goal must be that whether at the Federal or State level, our institutions must be so developed to the extent that it will not matter who emerges as President or Governor because he or she will have to operate within the laid down rules governing the institutions attached to his office so that Nigerians and the International Community can predict that things will move in the desired direction. Once we have this stability, investments, development, and prosperity will follow leading to genuine and lasting peace and progress.
Also in the next 50 years we must bury tribal, regional and religious politics. What has tribe, region or religion got to do with ability to govern? This is a very important question we need to ask ourselves. For example, we participated in the just concluded World Cup in South Africa and Nigeria like other nations sent her best players there because we wanted to win. If we send our best players to win in football, why should we not use the same principle in politics which is even more important than football? If we want to make progress as a nation, we need to look beyond primordial interest and into the character and ability of a person. We can not keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Nigerians are capable people. Our ethnic identities, the region we come from or the faith we practice must not be allowed to hold us down. Ultimately we are all from one womb. We are all Nigerians. We are brothers and sisters!
Dear friends and fellow Nigerians, as we progress to our 50th anniversary, let us take the weeks ahead of us before October 1st, 2010 to engage in some sober reflection and ask ourselves this very important question-How can we make national progress if we keep doing the same old thing?
As our late musical icon Sonny Okosun once sang in his song “togetherness”;
No matter the place you may live
No matter the language you speak
No matter the tribe you may be
No matter your height and position
Unite so we can quench the fire in the country
Remember we are one in the Lord
Remember we are one in the blood
Remember we are brothers in the world
Together we will solve our problems
Together we will serve our country
Together we will change the world