Congratulations to President-Elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of the March 28th Presidential election. In my view, he is becoming President in the most difficult period in our peacetime history since independence.
Foreign and domestic debts have skyrocketed despite a four year (2010-2014) period of oil boom; infrastructure is still largely underdeveloped despite huge allocation and expenditure; our main source of revenue (oil) has significantly dropped in price; population of Nigerians has surged leading to many more unemployed youths and increased number of the aged; lack of innovative ideas from citizens to address our various challenges; a very corrupt political class who only seek their own interest, etc.
Yet, most citizens expect Gen. Buhari to deliver a miracle. It is not possible. However, this season could provide the best opportunity to shift focus from our rent economy and also witness true nation-building involving the active participation of the ‘Husband’ and the ‘Wife’.
Using the marriage analogy to describe the building of a developed Nigeria is my attempt to provide an analogy that we can easily relate to and hopefully, be propelled into action.
I define the ‘Husband’ to be the government we voted into office on March 28th and will vote into office on Saturday, April 11th (Executive and Legislative). The President, Governors, members of the National Assembly and members of the State Houses of Assembly, and even Chairmen of Local Government Areas and their Councillors.
The ‘Wife’ is the Nigerian citizen who may be a leader in the home, community and workplace. The ‘Wife’ provided the mandate (through a democratic process) which the ‘Husband’ uses to provide leadership.
Like in any successful marriage, the active participation of the ‘Husband’ and the ‘Wife’ is critical for growth and development. It must happen in an atmosphere of love (compassion) and mutual respect for each other, and each party accepting their responsibility and attending to them diligently.
We attained this democracy in 1999 but 16 years down the line, we are still focusing so much on the role of the ‘Husband’ with little or no focus on the role of the ‘Wife’. It has to be said, the conduct of the ‘Husband’ is largely due to the neglect of the ‘Wife’ and yes, it can also be said the conduct of the ‘Wife’ is largely due to the neglect of the ‘Husband’.
If the role of the ‘Husband’ as the government is to deliver infrastructural and human development in a secured environment, what is the role of the ‘Wife’ as a citizen?
Shift mindset: The main reason for the failure of the government (Husband) to deliver good governance has been the citizen’s (Wife’s) mindset. Like in marriages, the mindset handed down from parents affects our marriage and its outcome. Our parents failed in their time and we are repeating the same mindset and seeing the same outcome.
We (the wife) must change our mindset about government (the husband) and by that I mean, we must move from our current fixed view to the growth view that states that we play an active role in the success or failure of government and must also learn how we can serve that role better.
Adopt New Values: With a shift in mindset, we must adopt new values that will equip us to perform our ‘wifely’ duties. The nation-building core values are:
Compassion Opportunity Responsibility Equality
Valour Ambition Liberty Unity Enterprise Spirituality
More about the values can be found in my book “Nation-building: How to build and sustain a developed Nigeria” (to order a copy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Continuous prayers for Government’s success: Many people of faith prayed fervently for a peaceful election. Now elections are over, our ‘wifely’ duties continue because the real work starts now and our ‘husband’ (the government) urgently needs our prayers to deliver on the promises made. Without their success, our suffering will only worsen.
Keep a close watch on Government: Another key role of ours as ‘wives’ is to actively study government’s plans and provide feedback. There are websites such as www.yourbudgit.com which provide detailed and simplified information on government budget and expenditure. I strongly recommend we subscribe to that website.
We must also engage our representative in the legislature (Federal, State and Local Government) and use such channels to make inputs into government’s plans and to mount pressure on government to act on the promises made.
Participate in party politics: I believe the strongest marriages are those where the wife is actively involved in the work of the husband. As ‘wives’, we must get involved in party politics to ensure our political parties improve in their quality of programmes, quality of leadership and quality of candidates put forward for elections. In some cases, we may have to become the candidate standing for election.
Our active participation will ensure our politics will no longer be left in the hands of people less qualified and with no interest in our national development.
Preparation for 2019 general elections must start now. If you don’t like APC or PDP, there are smaller parties like KOWA or you can join like minds to form a political party.
Generate the solutions Government needs: A key quality of a great wife is her ability to study what will enable her husband’s success and her ability to make him adopt and implement such solutions. As citizens (wives), we must adopt this mindset and again, the success of our ‘husband’ is the achieving of our objectives – a developed Nigeria.
The saying ‘behind every successful man is a woman ’ best illustrates the point we are making here. Knowing that the success of government (the husband) is the improvement of the quality of our lives, we (the citizens) must rise up to our responsibilities in this marriage to enable the building and sustaining of a developed Nigeria.
Would you arise and build Nigeria?