In my first article, I wrote that Nigerians only need to look in the mirror if they want to solve the Boko Haram issue. Now, here, in Part 2, I focus on discussing the solutions to several of the problems in my homeland. Here are six issues Nigeria needs to tackle in order for it to reach its full potential.
In Nigeria, leaders often use funds inappropriately and/or excessively to live a lavish lifestyle, failing to add any economic or social value to the people and regions that they govern.
Therefore, a separate entity from the government must be created for the sole purpose of monitoring and disciplining corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors.
This entity should be comprised of individuals who have no relations with key figures that would create a conflict of interest and defeat the whole purpose of the organization.
From churches to school teachers to police men to political figures to scammers and business executives, there needs to be a system in Nigeria created where the citizens can easily and anonymously report fraudulent or corrupt practices to this new entity that monitors and disciplines those individuals who perpetuate these practices.
Transparency is key, so being able to monitor the way public funds, for example, are being handled in a much more transparent manner would create accountability.
At the end of the day, if those in charge are not doing their jobs, swift actions need to be taken to remove them from power and replace them with someone who is competent enough to do the job and make positive changes.
This would systematically eliminate toxic elements in our culture, such as the bribe culture, that exists from the top-down in Nigeria, where as long as you can pay someone off or extort someone, you get what you want.
2. The Media Needs To Do Their Job
The media is another solution to bringing accountability to our society. Nigerian media needs to make it their duty to report unethical behavior by politicians, company executives, and those in other public/private sector positions.
Additionally, there needs to be a proactive campaign to educate the youth throughout Nigeria via positive television programming that emphasizes education and leadership development.
I believe that if the media companies in Nigeria made it a point to focus on positive and empowering messages for the country’s youth, it would mentality shift them away from lawless behavior to more progressive attitudes.
3. Education Needs To Be Prioritized
Developing a better educational system with an emphasis on making sure every child has an opportunity to be educated needs to be a focus. In addition, college should not be limited to those who are privileged or well to do and have the money to send their children there.
This alone, would help to create a stronger workforce and help create stronger businesses and more jobs that will slowly eliminate the unemployment rate and poverty levels and lead to a stronger overall economy in the country.
Another solution that will help Nigeria to move in the right direction is youth empowerment. The youth in Nigeria need more guidance and a better overall support system from the government in order to develop the leaders of tomorrow.
One way to empower the youth is tackling unemployment (more on that below) with infrastructural development and the aforementioned reformed education system. I bring up education, because I believe that a country of highly educated youth gives them the ability to not only look for jobs but also actually create jobs by becoming more industrious.
Right now it can be said that a lot — however not all — Nigerian youth tend to look for quick money rather than something sustainable, and we need to empower our youth and show them there are many ways to positively contribute to society by being business owners instead of being a get-rich-quick scammer.
Entrepreneurial Incubators, more non-profits, and public organizations that have a core focus on developing entrepreneurial and business skills of the youth are needed.
Finally, one of the things we need to do with our youth is teach them the importance of ethics and integrity, so as to not repeat this cycle of corruption that has plagued the country. They have to learn from the mistakes of leaders in the past.
Ultimately, the future of Nigeria is the youth; therefore, they need to be the best investment we make. Youth empowerment is critical to the success of Nigeria’s future.
To actually improve the employment rate in Nigeria, the country as a whole needs to develop the infrastructure needed for large companies to want to come in, invest, and do business with the country, thus creating more jobs.
Many companies are scared away from Nigeria by the lack of organization, the lawless nature of the way things are actually accomplished, and sheer corruption in spite of Nigeria’s large economy and market.
In addition, the truth is that when most of the people in the country are struggling anyway, they are not able to spend money, which some companies are fully aware of.
Other solutions for unemployment would be encouraging more investments in to Nigeria, such as the development of consistent electricity and energy for the entire country and the development of the transportation infrastructural system, especially the roads.
A reformed transportation system, including airports, highways, traffic as well as other means of transportation, will make travel around the country simpler and affordable.
6. Terrorist Organizations Should Be Stamped Out
The security problem in Nigeria can be solved through a more aggressive approach to eliminating and jailing anyone who has associations with any terrorist organizations. For example, any government official or private sector individual(s) who are known to be colluding with these terror groups must be removed from their respective posts.
This is a lot easier said than done, but if there is to be real change, we have to start by removing those who are sponsoring terrorism in Nigeria.
Second, the Nigerian military needs to continually have the support of the government and be given the best chance to succeed through high-quality training regiments and military supplies. If adequate training and military supplies are provided — as well as better overall pay for service — morale would also be lifted in the part of the service men and women.
There also needs to be a strong sense of accountability enforced for those in the military to do things the right way and work ethically and with integrity.
Any military official found to be engaged with corrupt practices, such as embezzlement or abuse of prisoners, needs to be disciplined swiftly to set the precedent that, that type of behavior will not be tolerated.
An independent institution should be created specifically for this sort of compliance issue with the military.
Finally, there needs to be a more consistent and uniform push to remove any terror cells from the country. I mean think about this, in the United States, you can’t even imagine some group of terrorists taking over a city for even one day without swift and decisive action.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigerian cities for more than a decade now!
Nigeria needs to create an environment that is safe for the progress of its citizens, and that is done by eliminating all toxic elements that continue to keep that from happening.
It can be said that most of these horrible acts going on in Nigeria comes down to greed, power and money, and a lack of unity on the part of its citizens.
I don’t claim to know it all; however, if you don’t get anything out of this at least get this: Nigeria will only change and get better when Nigerians (from the top-down) CHANGE & DO Better.
Again, this is all easier said than done, but we should keep praying, stop waiting for help from the world, and actually take responsibility for ourselves and the action steps needed to create change in Nigeria.
I am sure there are many other solutions, but for the sake of wrapping up this piece, I will say to Nigerians abroad and in Nigeria, the most important thing we can do is put all of our differences aside and come together and take the steps needed to create a better Nigeria.
Over time, I believe these solutions will make a drastic change in the right direction for the country; nothing can be done overnight, but the journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step.
There is no reason that Nigeria can’t be one of the greatest countries in the world. The only thing that is holding us back is our own indiscretions.
Let’s Move Forward.
IT’S TIME TO SOAR, NIGERIA.