by Bankole Eniola
The new majority must ensure that our relationships as Nigerians must never again be defined by our differences or else we will empower those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that is required to build a developed state.
Last month I started a discussion on the need to build ‘The new majority. My article suggested the need for all well meaning Nigerians, to lend their hands and hearts in building an unstoppable coalition, in our quest towards building a developed Nigeria. I stated that; ‘The new majority’ will not be defined by their political affiliations, ethnicity or religion, but by shared hopes and common ideals. History shows us that, the only way to build a modern nation is to leave behind those things that divide us, and concentrate on our shared identity and common hopes.
Hundred years after the amalgamation of Nigeria, this generation of Nigerians have the opportunity like no other before it to reshape the future of Nigeria. We represent a generation that did not grow up as a colony, unlike our parents we were born without any ethnic allegiance, we were born Nigerians. I know most of my readers are divided on the issue of our diversity. Some of us have uttered many ethnically biased comments; others still cut and dice Nigeria across ethnic and religious boundaries. Some of our leaders have played politics with our differences; some have built empires just feeding us with stereotypes that will make us fear each other and this distorted view of fear and cynicism towards people who are different from us pervades the entire nation.
The truth is simple: as a new generation of Nigerians we do not have the luxury of time before we realise it is inevitable to work together. The strength of our population is amazing if we choose to harness it. I am aware that the Nigerian experience is a paradox; it contains a lot of contradictions – the good, the bad, the ugly and the very ugly. Nigeria contains in full, kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and the bitterness… this makes up the Nigerian experience, but in moving forward; we all have to set our differences aside and tell each other that there is not a thing like a…Hausa Nigeria, Yoruba Nigeria or Ibo Nigeria, we are all Nigerians pledging allegiance to the same flag ‘The green white green’.
If fixing the ethnic divide is the number one responsibility of the new majority, the second responsibility is to identify our common enemies. These are the demons that plague Nigerians on a daily basis irrespective of where you live in this nation. These demons include: the poverty gap, lack of social mobility, corruption, greed of monumental proportions, lack of quality education, inadequate infrastructures and lack of vision as a developing nation. The poverty gap is so wide that it leaves over 80% of the human capital in Nigeria at a position where they are incapable of contributing to the national growth. The new majority must create a societal structure in which social mobility of every individual in Nigeria is enshrined at the epicentre of every decision we make in education, business and at the national level. The new majority must cast away self-interest and war against the corrupt practices that bedevilled the generations past, making national growth and the creation of immense opportunities for vast millions of Nigerians as our new mantra.
The new majority must ensure that our relationships as Nigerians must never again be defined by our differences or else we will empower those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that is required to build a developed state. Our generation must end this cycle of suspicion and discord. We must envision a Nigeria not be defined by their political affiliations, ethnicity or religion, but by shared hopes and common ideals.
I believe this new majority will transform our schools and universities from corridors of shame and start putting students on a pathway of true success. We will stop talking about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their greatness by giving them more pay and more support. With our new majority, we will harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists, citizens and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of epileptic electricity and save our nation from a point of no productivity.
I know the battle ahead will be long and our climb will be steep, but always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change. The choices that we make about our neighbours, will determine, whether our future will be shaped by fear or by freedom, by prevalent poverty or by prosperity. Together we can build the ‘New majority’ that Nigeria craves for… welcome to tomorrow!
Bankole Eniola is a Nigerian policy advocate who is passionate about developing economies and most especially the nation of his birth, Nigeria. ‘Banks’ works as a strategy consultant and as consulted for several Fortune 500 companies, including UBS, Credit Suisse, RBS, FTSE, Lloyds TSB and many more.
Bankole’s ideas about policy advocacy and communal participation in nation building led him to initiate Nigeria Dialogue in 2011.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.