How to move Nigeria forward, by Osundare, others

Osundare-4ALTHOUGH the nation-wide protests over the fuel subsidy removal are over, and the Boko Haram attacks are persisting, there are still unresolved economic and political issues provoking a fundamental crisis in Nigeria, according to a group of Nigerian scholars, professionals and activists across the world.

The group, under the aegis of the Committee of Concerned Nigerians, added that there was need for a national conference to address the nation’s many ills.

The group includes internationally acclaimed poet and United States (U.S.)-based university teacher, Prof.  Niyi Osundare; former U.S.-PRONACO leader, Dr. Baba Adam; leading African historian, Prof. Toyin Falola and Prof. Funke Okome of the City of New York University, among others.

Others are Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, the son of the late National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) leader, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin,  who  is the leader of a socio-cultural group, Atayese, and U.S.-based Prof. Amina Mama.

The group in a  statement yesterday in U.S., said “fundamental problems raised by the civil uprising” remained “unresolved”, proposing that the convocation of a national conference is the only way to save Nigeria from “imminent collapse”.

“The government of President Goodluck Jonathan, by its simplistic and haughty responses to the true wishes of (Nigerians) … has lost a golden opportunity to align itself with the people whose mandate it claims to hold,” stated the Committee for Concerned Nigerians.

In a statement signed by more than 60 Nigerians both at home and abroad, the group stated that “even though they are provoked by, and react to, different aspects of the national crises, both the terrorism of the Boko Haram group and the gallant efforts by the masses and the civil society against the increase in the pump price of oil, are manifestations of a perilous incoherence in the structural composition of Nigeria and the manner in which the country has been, and is being, administered.”

While stating that President Jonathan has been rendered “inarticulate” by the incessant terrorist attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram, the group added that these attacks, and the protests, raise “questions on the corporate existence of the country.” Osundare and others advised that this should compel Nigerians and the government to address the question of “Which Way Nigeria.”

The group, which described its members as “joint stakeholders in the Nigerian project”, condemned the “glaring incompetence, corruption and lack of vision” of the Jonathan administration, adding that the government’s shortcomings constitute a threat to the continued existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity.

“In spite of the promises that have been made by the present economic managers, the Nigerian masses and the withered middle class will continue to experience a life of unrelenting misery unless a new path that encourages a fundamental and holistic restructuring of our national life, including economic and political structures, is stated immediately.”

The group which includes scholars, writers, activists, and others, both young and old and from every part of Nigeria, criticised the imposition of what it called “mere postulations of development economics which are not interrogated through nationalist analyses of local circumstances and historical conditions”, while condemning the tendency of Nigerian government to take “instructions from Washington D.C. or London and other Western capitals.”


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