The Platform

Photo illustration by John Lyman

What Nigerians want isn’t all that different from what everyone else wants.

Since its independence from British rule in 1960, Nigeria has undergone a series of political changes. At various points, it has been ruled by the military, and in 1999, Nigeria transitioned to democracy. The country is blessed with abundant natural and human resources. Unfortunately, all these resources are not fully utilized as many Nigerians inevitably seek greener pastures abroad.

The renowned Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria, commented that nothing is fundamentally wrong with Nigeria’s character, but the trouble is with the failure of its leadership.

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”

Looking at what he wrote as far back as five decades ago and the recent happenings in the country, we can see that our leaders are not ready for the task of what Nigerians want. We want a country with competent and trustworthy leadership, who create opportunities that will lead to a better future and can defend the nation’s security challenges which will attract foreign investors to stimulate economic and commercial growth.

Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa” owing to its large population and economic strength and is considered an emerging market by the World Bank. Regrettably, the country ranks very low on the Human Development Index and remains one of the most corrupt nations in the world. We want a nation that will lead Africa’s economic and social revolution.

It is no longer news that the Nigerian government is curtailing the fundamental rights of every citizen, and disregarding equality before the law, which are fundamental for the well-being of any country. The #EndSARS protest movement is still fresh in the minds of many – where Nigerians lost their lives by relentlessly exercising their right to demand a better future. We want a country where all citizens can express and exercise their fundamental rights without fear.

Nigeria is a multinational state inhabited by more than 250 ethnic groups who speak hundreds of distinct languages. Amongst these ethnic groups, there are different hopes and dreams. With proper equality in Nigeria, every ethnicity can harness its unforeseen potential to create a better Nigeria.

By shunning tribalism and working together, Nigerians collectively can lead the development of the country and ensure that all Nigerians can live and work anywhere in the country, and participate in the social, political, or economic life of the country.

Nigeria’s motto is “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.” We want all Nigerians to unite and have faith in their leaders to discharge their responsibilities fairly and responsibly.

The Nigeria we want is a country with a leader that will maintain equality, promote unity, ensure faith, and a defender who can promote and develop peaceful co-existence through the respect of human rights. Once this is achieved, then Nigeria can consider itself a developed country.

Ismaila Biliaminu Manne is a freelance journalist and writer, with a keen interest in African cultures as well as underreported storytelling of marginalized communities across Nigeria. He lives in North Central Nigeria.