I AM writing these lines in a hotel room in Dubai. It is past midnight here, but still nighttime back home. I am part of a delegation of consultants working on the actualisation of Jigawa State Television. We are attending the 20th edition of CABSAT, the Middle East and Africa’s largest broadcast, content, digital media and satellite event. It is truly an event that allows the sharing of knowledge of the cutting edge developments which impact the modern world of broadcasting, a field to which I have dedicated the best part of my professional life, since I was sixteen years old.
Today, I run a multimedia company which works to assist clients solve problems which media posits in the world of the Twenty-First Century. So attendance of CABSAT is an important platform of education for my work too. And every time I visit this city, I marvel at how much success has been built here as a result of the incredible vision and determination of its people and leadership. The Dubai World Trade Centre is the venue of CABSAT and it is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also a reflection of the vision for Dubai to be a destination the world is obliged to visit and do business in.
Such a dedicated pursuit of vision and a dogged pursuit of its actualisation is the hallmark of leadership and those are missing ingredients of the Nigerian political landscape. It marvels me all the time, that one hundred years down the line, sections of the Nigerian political elite are still scheming plans to dismember their country, instead of building the elite consensus to construct one of the most important countries of the 21Century.
Ruling class inability
The inability of the ruling class to assume a historical responsibility for the modernity that can lift the mass of the Nigerian people out of stupor and a dehumanising poverty, goes hand in hand, with the perverse “creativeness”, which that ruling class exhibits, in the gradual evolution of Nigeria into one of the most unjust and most unequal societies on earth today! A conspiratorial and incestuous alliance of the political and business elite has built a country of extreme wealth for a tiny minority of elite today.
First, they sold the country to themselves; and are now drinking more champagne than the Russians; they have conspired to spend over $6billion to purchase private jets and those who hold the reigns of political power are not only looting the country to stupor but have perfected the manipulation of the fault lines of ethno-religious differences to keep the oppressed divided and increasingly unable to organise collectively, to put an end to the mess that the nation has been turned into.
Those whose remit it is to provide leadership for national development do not appreciate the urgency of action, clarity of vision and the commitment which the challenges we face today demand of them. They prefer to walk with a leisurely stride, finding a sense of urgency only in the scheming to corner opportunities for themselves.
The state itself has become “privatised” as organs of personal advantage and is completely sapped by corruption to the point of crippling incompetence. Even a modicum of self-interest to keep state survival central to society’s health seems to have been lost on the Nigerian ruling elite.
They endanger the society in their reckless irresponsibility and as the military response to the Boko Haram insurgency has shown in recent weeks, there is no institution of state that they have not maximally ruined. It is clear that what goes on in the Nigerian national scene, politically, economically and even socially, is not sustainable. Something just has to give.
The Nigerian people face uneasy choices as we move forward. The talk shop of a National Conference was presented by a section of the elite as the panacea to exorcise the pains of Nigerian nation building. That is where we have now arrived. It will be most interesting to see how the cacophony of voices; the disparate agendas and the different, often viciously conflicting mindsets will find the consensus to rebuild our country. Patriots have to work a way through the thickset, because there is no other way.