By Bayo Fasunwon
In every sane political system, the desires of leadership and followers is the development of State to provide for the needs of the vast majority, protect the territorial integrity of the nation-state and also ensure the sovereignty of the country and her dutiful citizens.
Looking through the history of Nigeria’s independence, this perception held valid for the nationalists who sought for freedom from colonial brigandage. While the regions engaged in mutual competitive development efforts, the Premiers still held the firm belief that Nigeria, as a whole must occupy its destined enviable position amongst the super power nations of the earth.
However, the reality portrays a nation with potential but lack the kinetics of achieving its global destiny. Where did she go wrong? The leaders with foresight succumbed to the lure of power and selfish motivations, and went to sleep. In addition, while men slept, the enemies of the country ‘sowed tares’ amongst the good ideological ‘wheat’ of the founding fathers.
Tares are damaging weeds growing in fields of grain. Weeds are any unwanted plants (no matter how good they are) growing on a piece of land. That is if Cassava is growing on a piece of land in which beans are planted, the Cassava is a weed. The ‘cassava’ allowed on the Nigeria land was the military rule. With a coloration of revolution, they swayed the gullible suffering masses in crucifying the government of the people, subverted the peoples will, and enthroned dictatorship, which made corruption a national policy. This ‘weed’ bred more weeds of sycophancy, unpatriotic and the unbridled greed. Unfortunately, the tares developed into parasites, which had remained glued to their hosts (politicians) since 1999. Thus, the prevalence of these tares birthed a constitution that speaks nothing but frustration of the ideals of the founding fathers. Within the present government in power are tares that not only support but also finance terrorism and banditry, policymakers who have no interest other than the impoverishment and the subjugation of the Nigeria peoples. Unfortunately, these tares, given the lackadaisical attitude of militarized leadership have found their ways into every fabric of the society, promoting injustice, corruption, and disintegration. Except these tares in government are uprooted and cast into the furnace of destruction, the nation would only continue to produce sour harvests. We as citizens can recognize the tares in our streets, and environment, we must exercise the political and patriotic will to dislodge and uproot these ones in order for the sleeping giants rise again.
Other tares within the system are the belief system, traceable to the kleptomaniac exhibitions of civil servants, and politicians. The belief system that terms national income as national cake, hence promoting covetous consumption must be eased from our minds in order to breed loyalty and dedication to the development agenda of the nation.
Uprooting these tares however would not translate to the development of the nation except we plant mustard seeds. Mustard seeds are usually so tiny, but when planted, grow into big trees. The mustard seeds therefore represent little efforts that would yield enormous benefits in the years to come. China and Japan’s mustard seeds have turned them into global technology producers and exporters. Starting from the education sector, there is the need for both State and Federal governments painstakingly identify brilliant and innovative youths in the society. These should be ‘harvested’, sponsored and given scholarships for deliberate studies in the science and technology areas. With time, these would eventually lead the science and tech development in Nigeria. In addition to this dedicated, purposive, deliberate, and persistent support to small scale, enterprises would revive the sleeping giant. These supports should not always be in the form of giving monies to the Entrepreneurs, but also include provision of security, sponsored trainings, market protection, as well as government patronage for them to thrive.
The mustard seed would also include deliberate mind resetting. This is where governments would develop curriculums, programmes, and seminars that would inculcate all students from the pre-nursery to post graduate with the transforming belief system. In this line, governments should deliberately collaborate with the creative artists to achieve this feat. Movie producers, songwriters, and musicians should be engaged in the process of re-orientating the Nigeria masses towards selfless service and national development. Thus, teachings and indoctrinations that would promote loyalty, sincerity, and truthfulness are the focus of these media advocacy.
It is expected that these efforts would be matched with basic voter education. The voters” card is a seed of great value. Many have sown these seeds amongst thorns due to ignorance. In States where political positions were bought, the Governors had turned round to recoup the election investments, there leading to the impoverishment of the people. The sales of one are voting rights are a deliberate and pre-meditated planting of tares amongst the wheat of democracy. If conscience, productivity, and honesty were criteria considered before casting votes, then such votes would be the mustard seeds for the development of the nation,
Finally, the reward system in Nigeria and every institution should be reviewed. Nigeria is quick to punish offenders of the law but foot dragging in rewarding the dedicated citizens. Awards of scholarships, jobs, promotions, and national honours to loyal and hardworking citizens would go a long way in encouraging many into working harder to get recognition. When the benefits of crimes outweigh the rewards of loyalty and dedication, tares are given opportunities to thrive. We can begin now to plant these mustard seeds, and also develop and promote the independence of the judiciary for true justice. The power to remove the tares from government lies in the hands of the electorate, the government, and the workers.
If government had been proactive before now and had uprooted the tares of bandits, killer herdsmen and Boko Haram, the nation should have reaped the benefits as at now. However, it is not too late for a well-meaning government to take a proactive uprooting stance against these marauders.