Inaugurated on May 29, 2023, Bola Tinubu assumed the role of Nigeria’s 16th president, sparking hope among Nigerians for his ability to address the nation’s challenges.
However, it is crucial to recognize the diversity within Nigeria, encompassing individuals from various socio-political backgrounds. This diverse population includes diligent and intelligent citizens, determined individuals, as well as those who are more inclined to boast than take action.
Nigeria’s complexity is characterized by a mix of progressives and conservatives, the strong and the weak, praise-singers and faultfinders, elusive and frivolous individuals, perpetual pessimists, and embittered opposition groups. Furthermore, Nigeria is plagued by political gamesmanship, opportunistic dealings, and insincere theatrics, which have become prevalent.
Reflecting on Nigeria’s history, the execution of Major General Mamman Vatsa on March 5, 1986, exemplifies the intricate complexities of the country. Vatsa, a childhood friend of Domkat Bali, the former Minister of Defence and Chief of Defence Staff, was executed for his alleged involvement in a coup plot during the Ibrahim Babangida-led military government. Bali maintained that it was impossible to determine Vatsa’s guilt. This unfortunate event underscores the multifaceted nature of Nigeria’s internal dynamics.
Recalling the reign of General Sani Abacha, his battles were initially dominated by military might, but eventually, he succumbed to the power of public sentiment. The ‘Two-million-man March’ led by Daniel Kanu symbolized the influence of collective voices and sentiments, ultimately challenging Abacha’s authority. This instance demonstrates the evolving political landscape and the potential for change within Nigeria.
Under President Tinubu’s leadership, the challenges associated with the Yoruba Agenda have come to the forefront. The ascension of Oba Okunade Sijuwade as the 50th Ooni of Ife in 1980 brought hope for swift transformation and development in Ile-Ife. However, the expectations were left unmet, and the Ife/Modakeke crisis persisted, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction among the people. This example highlights the discrepancy between expectations and reality in Nigeria’s socio-political landscape.
Tunji Adebiyi, a key figure in the birth of the Fourth Republic and a loyal associate of the late Abraham Adesanya, faced inadequate rewards for his diligent service. Adebiyi’s passing in December 2014 necessitated calls for donations to support his immediate family, demonstrating the lack of substantial recognition and reward for hard work in Nigeria.
The transformation of Adams Oshiomhole, formerly the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), is emblematic of shifting motivations within Nigerian politics. Oshiomhole’s transition from the passenger’s seat to the driver’s seat within the Federal Government Delegation raises questions about whether his motivations are rooted in genuine love for the nation or personal gain.
Governing a nation with an educated population poses a significant challenge. Former President Muhammadu Buhari once expressed his eagerness to govern cattle, suggesting that governing Nigerians was far more complex. This observation raises concerns about Nigeria’s intellectual disadvantage and its implications for the nation’s development. Additionally, the experiences of Ike Ekweremadu in the United Kingdom highlight the clash between Nigerian and British cultures, emphasizing the need for cultural sensitivity and understanding in international interactions.
Within President Tinubu’s Nigeria, the story of Kamal Usman, a physically challenged student with aspirations, serves as a reminder of the individuals whose dreams and ambitions require support and assistance.
The #EndSARS movement marked a shift in the mindset of Nigeria’s younger generation. Realizing that their existence can go unnoticed if they do not assert themselves, this new generation understands the need to address prevailing issues for lasting change.
Blaming others for failures and shirking personal responsibility has been a recurring trend in human behavior throughout history. Similar tendencies can be observed in Nigeria, where individuals shift blame onto others, such as President Tinubu or state governors, for their own shortcomings or the nation’s challenges. This lack of personal accountability hinders progress and development.
Certain state governors prioritize interfering in traditional institutions rather than addressing pressing issues. Their involvement in matters that should be left to traditional institutions raises concerns about their governance priorities and the influence of vested interests.
Hope for Positive Change: President Tinubu has a unique opportunity to act as a healing force for Nigeria. However, positive outcomes can only be achieved if Nigerians change their beliefs and take responsibility for their own actions. No president can single-handedly solve all the nation’s challenges—individual commitment is essential.
Nigeria, with its diverse population and complex dynamics, faces numerous challenges as it enters a new era under President Tinubu’s leadership. The nation’s success depends on a collective effort, with Nigerians taking responsibility for their actions and actively working towards positive change. Only through a concerted commitment to growth and development can Nigeria overcome its obstacles and build a brighter future.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (email@example.com)