BY UBONG SAMPSON
Sometimes it seems my only desire, call it a dream, if you so wish, in this life is to see my dear and beloved country Nigeria get through the hurdles of political, social and economic challenges.
I recall that at a time during my tender age, I had serious worries about my future. Coming from a humble background was a reality I could not change and had to deal with, but I knew I could fight so hard to ensure that background does not put my back on the ground.
Having won that fight to a satisfactory extent, my worries later switched focus to the future of my fatherland; for obviously, the finishing touches of that successful future I have always desired seems to be less guaranteed in a land that is losing its growth potentials. That is Nigeria, my country.
Recently, my interest in the study of world politics has had an undistracted focus on how one globe that was originally divided into continents at the supranational level, and then nation states at the national level, later got categorized into worlds from first to third.
Based on available historical facts, this “third world” as a term, according to the analytical framework of European political scientists in the early 20th century, had its genesis from the dualism of capitalism between the United States of America and the Union of the Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR- now Russia). Laughably, this term was more of imposed on the bearers, even as the gain of independence increasingly spread among colonies previously controlled by those in the so called first world.
Wondering how this segregation/ demarcation came about, I could only get to the rationale that it was either an attempt by those in the first world to force a feeling of inferiority on those in the third, or that despite taking over full control of its government and affairs in the name of independence, those in the latter category were still mentally dependent on those in the former category.
In other words, the gain of independence by the third world nations only ended colonization, while the challenge of neocolonization remained a seeming lifetime hurdle. However, the good news is that there are no Jericho walls barring any nation from ascending the upper world from the lower, a fact the likes of china has proven in the last two decades. But why my own Nigeria is yet to realize this fact, is one question that must be raised until (a) suitable answer(s) (is)are provided.
Nigeria, arguably, seems to be suffering from the problem of mental and intellectual dependence. Arguably in the sense that, like a friend- Borono Bassey recently argued, there is nothing wrong in adopting a more result-oriented approach and thinking from distant shores; but then, the problem lies particularly where the adopted thoughts and approaches are either not modified to suit the realities in the country, or modified to suit the desires of a privileged few at the expense of the larger masses.
It is not an uncommon knowledge how the different sectors in the Nigerian state were structured based on the model drawn from some countries in the upper world. Yet, the bases that are supposed to sustain the structures have been wrongly modified and misplaced. Hence, the shaky state of the structures.
Take for instance the Nigeria system of government. A supposed democratic government originally structured in the prototype by its founders landed Nigeria having the American-modelled presidential ‘sub’ system, but rather became and still is a problem to us. Why? Simply because a democratic structure that should have had the social contract theory (power with the people) as a sustaining base, in the Nigerian context, glaringly rings a different tune. Hence, turning the country into a jungle-like nature (like in the international system) where might is right, and where the strong does whatever it likes and the weak suffers the effects.
It is sad that Nigeria has been spending all her years like Turkey and her Ottoman Empire which kept fighting for territorial expansion without first advancing its military powers to withstand possible contending superior powers, courtesy of a few individuals who prefer seeking financial expansion, rather than contribute to the economic expansion of the country for a more secured future. Here the need for a reform- a total amelioration in the country’s political, economic and social structures becomes dire. And to achieve this, external and internal models she needs to make reference to- external models like America, whose democratic practice has given her an identity of a true national interest pursuit, where the yearnings and aspirations of the people supplant those of individuals, irrespective of their financial and political power.
Looking inwards, models like the Onofiok Luke of Akwa Ibom State whose political ideology and leadership principles model most of the positive results we look out for in developed climes, but modified to suit the realities in the Nigeria system.
For instance, in his belief that the easiest route to achieving a united and happy Nigeria is when the privileged ones learn and inculcate the habit of contributing towards building a society that will sustain their underprivileged fellows, Onofiok Luke makes a Nigerian-suiting model of the efforts of France and the other states of Luxemburg, West Germany, Italy, Netherlands, etc; which had the thinking that having been privileged to a quick economic recovery from the ruins of the second world war, putting their resources together to assist other European states recover as well, was the easiest route to achieving their desire of a unified European continent.
In the quest for the unification of the European states, Britain was conspicuously missing, not because she was not privileged with same economic recovery as France and other five states, but because most of its citizens were living in the illusion of self-sufficiency; hence, saw the course of assisting others as waste of resources and voted against it, thereby falling the leadership mantle on France. Modifying the France model to fit into the Nigerian realities, Onofiok Luke takes, even at the expense of his comfort, the challenge of making himself accessible to people from all origins, skin colours and political boarders, sending a strong message to whoever might want consider the Britain model that sinking into the sofas of self-sufficiency does not guarantee a happy and fulfilled life. If it does, Britain would not have had to apply twice before joining the European Economic Council which France had led the other states to establishing for the economic benefits of the entirety of Europe- same course Britain earlier refused to contribute to.
In the thinking of Luke, the more hungry the masses are, the more the chances of increased criminality and less security for the rich, because those who will resort to criminality will never target the poor but the rich.
Furthermore, in her quest for international peace and security, America had taken up the lead role in the formation of the United Nations based on certain beliefs, one of which was that the continual cooperation between the Soviet Union, Britain and herself in international politics could guarantee more benefits for the entirety of state and non state actors in the international system. America had her own main benefit, which was to check the communist system that would be giving the Soviet Union more powers and by so doing, protect the America-interested capitalist system. Same way, the son of Luke believes that the continual cooperation between the legislative arm of government, the executive and the judiciary would guarantee a fast tracked development for the benefit of the citizenry. As a politician (or “political activist”- by way of patronizing him), the benefit of winning goodwill for himself and using same as advantage for his political party, no doubts, lie underneath; however, the selflessness and commitment he puts into this, roots it deeper in reality than a make-believe disposition for political gains.
Sadly, putting this theory of power corporation into practice in his capacity as the head of legislature in his state has given him undeserving bad labels like rubber stamp”, “deaf and dump” and anything one may think inconceivable to the human mind. However, with the brighter picture still visible in sight, and with the belief that surely, the glory of the latter days shall be greater than that of the former, this young, thoroughbred legislator seems less distracted, and the results of this focus are already counting upwards in a gradually expanding list- one that is best left a topic for another day, preferably, a day particularly for scorescard/account rendering.
UBONG SAMPSON (08021419939)- A HISTORIAN AND PUBLIC/POLITICAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, WRITES FROM ATA IDUNG MINYA IN MKPAT ENIN LGA.