Risks to Peace, “Nigerianness” and Economic Growth – By Richard Odusanya
Before the 2023 general elections in Nigeria and the current unpleasant situations. Young Nigerians in particular are mobilizing for an election that will have huge implications for their future and that of Nigeria. Nigerians lined up to register to vote, in such numbers that INEC extended the registration period to meet the demand. Compared to the 84 million registered voters for the last national elections, in 2019, almost 10.5 million additional voters had registered by June 27. About 70% of new entrants are between the ages of 18 and 35.
As Africa’s most populous country, largest economy and most outstanding democracy, Nigeria is a beacon for the continent. A weakening economy, rising insecurity and violent conflict threaten the progress made in its democratic development. Amid growing distrust of government and institutions, Nigeria has important work to do to improve national, state and local security and governance ahead of the 2023 national and state elections. cohesion as well as to reinvent our “Nigerianness”
While Nigeria has made some socio-economic progress in recent years, its human capital development ranked 150 out of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index. The country continues to face enormous development challenges, including the need to reduce dependence on oil and diversify the economy, address poor infrastructure, build strong and effective institutions, as well as than solving problems of governance and public financial management systems. Hence the need for deeper introspection and honest appreciation by citizens and stakeholders.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse federation of 36 self-governing states and the Federal Capital Territory. The political landscape is partly dominated by the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), which controls the executive branch of government and holds the majority of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives in parliament, and 23 of the 36 governors of state. While the main opposition PDP and other parties appear to be a house divided against itself.
As the clock ticks forward to 2023, the political climate is optimistic about the succession of President Muhammad Buhari. Many guesses are thrown about what should be? Who should be? And, how should it be? There are permutations, disputes, arguments to the effect of the above thought. However, concerns over religious coloring and ethnic profiling have been a major issue threatening the success of the 2023 general election. This is worrying and unlikely to fester for too long.
Interestingly, the number of man-made existential risks has exploded, but the most pressing is the original: religious warfare. Nevertheless, the political situation in our beloved country, Nigeria, will determine how badly we face socio-economic status – vis-à-vis security, education, power generation and other pressing issues. Therefore, it is a good time to reinvent our quite divisive “Nigerianness” and stir up religious feelings.
Allow me deeply to encourage Nigerians to believe more in our “Nigerianness” using the words of George Denis Patrick Carlin, American comedian, actor, author and social critic. Considered one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time, he has been dubbed “the dean of counterculture comedians”. He was known for his dark comedy and his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion and taboo subjects. He said, “Religion is like a pair of shoes…..find one that fits you, but don’t make me wear your shoes”
RISE UP O COMATRIOTS
Richard Odusanya is a social reform crusader and the organizer of the AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI