Can we give our leaders hell and tell them enough is enough?

As I write this article, my hands are shaky and my heart is heavy. I am sad and the reason is the state of our nation. I am also afraid that the promise of a better tomorrow may be a mirage after all. The reasons are plenteous. We are yet to have transcendental leadership at the national level and the prognosis is not encouraging. As a business person who is used to solving problems everyday to keep my business running, I understand what it must take to keep our country running. We cannot plunder and prosper in the same breath. It is not just going to happen. We cannot also be asleep at the wheel, neither can we be bereft of ideas as to what needs to be done to get out of the hole. The first thing however, we need to do is stop digging the hole deeper. But how?

2019 looms and we are all at daggers drawn. Propaganda machines are revving up and truth gets to stand on its head for the next few months. The ruling Party is at serious pains right now, trying to convince us that they have made our lives better since they took over. The reality in our businesses and our homes tell a different story. I feel sorry for children who have to grow up in this era of scarcity. Milk and other sources of protein have gone out of reach as wages have either stagnated or declined even as inflation bites. Whereas, I had workers who earned more than minimum wage in 2009, almost ten years later, people are happy to do the same job for half what I paid in 2009. That cannot be called progress by any measurement. What we have on our hands is a catastrophe, a time bomb, waiting to do its job, blow us all up.

As we labour to navigate the great issues of our time, hunger, unemployment, insecurity, Internally displaced persons, Herdsmen/Farmers imbroglio, declining power of the Naira, inflation, kidnapping, Terrorism, etc, it would appear that there is no confidence on the part of the people toward those who govern that they have the capacity to confront the dilemma that we face.

When this becomes the case as it obviously appears to be, people will resort to self-help for the simple reason that nature abhors a vacuum. The days are far behind us when some tribes can be referred to as warrior tribes. There is an equalizer now and it is called the AK 47. With this weapon in anyone’s hands, even a moron, the ground becomes level, very level. Ask Federal troops why Boko Haram persists after 10 years? Ask the United States why they are still bogged down in Afghanistan after 15 years and four Presidents? The Boko Haram terrorists  sling mind boggling weaponry versus our poorly equipped soldiers whose (ogas) have so decimated their ability to fight because they also need to be super rich. It is their turn, they reason. It is for this same reason of corruption in the polity that many things cannot work in this country, whether it be Refineries, Mining, Ajaokuta, Education or Agriculture or anything else that is meant to benefit even suffering people like the IDPs. This expression by itself is an anomaly. How can a man be displaced in his own village and in his own country? Clearly, we have exceeded ourselves. The tainting of anything and everything with front-loading will make it almost impossible for anything to work well in Nigeria. Only strong, selfless leadership can address this.

As I watched a video clip by a member of the House of Representatives about the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Plant, I was overcome with strong emotion. I reasoned to myself—is this not a cause worth giving hell for? Can we give our leaders hell and tell them enough is enough? Can we? Think about this, we spend between $20 and $30 billion yearly on Steel imports. Here is an industry that was conceived by the Gowon administration in 1971, obviously with the strong input of Obafemi Awolowo, a man without peer in his time. Under President Shehu Shagari, it came alive and was 95% completed when that government was overthrown by Buhari for reasons known to only himself and his gang. If he had a plan for governance, how come he did not understand the strategic importance of Steel to the greatness of our nation? His successors have not fared better and so, 34 years after the overthrow of the Shagari government, the Steel sector has been marching backwards. This is why I want to at this point call the patriotism of our leaders to question. Do they love this country? Do they really love this country enough to want to do right by her?

Trump in all his (scatter-scatter) made a bold declaration recently which is resonating around world capitals. He said, “No Steel, No Country.” These are lines worthy of Otto Von Bismarck who famously declared regarding the German Empire:  the issues of our time cannot be settled by blah blah blah but by blood, by iron and by fire. It is a profound declaration with strong attestation to love for country. It cannot be any other way. So declared Sophocles in his book, Antigone----No man must put his friend above his country; Our country is our life, it is only when she rides that we ride.

Just like the AK47 makes men equal, the Steel sector makes nations equal and the greatest equalizer of all is the Nuclear bomb. There is no question about it and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that were I to get a chance to get into Aso Rock, I would locate my office in Ajaokuta until I get the place working by Iron and by Steel and by Blood and by fire.  An industry that holds the key to the creation of 20 million jobs cannot be anything but a national security issue and it must stand atop the pile of our priorities aside Power. What’s gone is gone, what’s done is done. What’s done cannot be undone, but where there is a will, I know first-hand, because I have been solving problems as a business person since the age of 19, there is a clear pathway.

There is no doubt in my mind that the original builders of the Ajaokuta Complex whose government, Russia has explicitly stated their willingness to come back to get the job completed ought to be re-invited to get the job done. Even a mechanic will decline to do a job when another mechanic has started the job already. How much more our Steel Industry and so, I refuse to rest this essay because I am very angry. Many times, when I think of the perils of running for President and I want to advise myself otherwise, issues like this keep tugging at my conscience. If not now, then, when? If not you, then, who should it be? These are the great questions and issues of our time and everyone who loves our country must stand up and be counted. I am standing up but only you, my beloved countrymen and women can help me to be counted. Share this article. My challenge is still out. If you can gather 20 people in your living room anywhere in Nigeria, call me. I will show up and we can have a conversation. 2019 must not catch us asleep at the wheel.

Kindly drop your comments.

No comments

Comments are welcome, provided they are civil, interactively engaging. Hate speech not encouraged.

Powered by Blogger.