Very few Nigerians regretted the exit of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the seat of power, but so many others welcomed it wholeheartedly.
One thing that the two groups have in common is a yearning to see a Nigeria that is economically vibrant, and politically stable. But this lofty dream of Nigerian masses will continue to be as elusive as it is illusory unless Nigerian leaders learn what Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi knew, and then forge potent instruments of nation-building from the lessons.
Without any doubt, Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi knew that none of today’s advanced countries would have been as advanced as they are, had they not used warfare as instruments of nation-building. This made the two slain leaders to wanted to do the same thing at a time when the use of warfare as instrument of foreign policy has been banned or, more appropriately, monopolized almost exclusively by the United States of America.
But, being tenacious and single-minded, Saddam and Gaddafi erroneously thought that they could beat America in its own game of grand aggression and destruction.
Saddam and Gaddafi had to pay the supreme price for their errors.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia is also currently making the same mistake by his unmitigated attack and invasion of Ukraine, and he might soon go the way of Saddam Hussain and Moamar Gaddafi.
What is certain is that if not this generation, then the coming generations of Iraqis and Libyans will eventually cannonize Saddam and Gaddafi as rare types of martyrs. Had the two martyrs did a certain thing before confronting the almighty United States of America headlong, their respective countries would have been as great or even greater than America by now.
That single thing that Saddam and Gaddafi failed to do is the great lesson that Nigerian leaders have to learn and apply to our efforts of nation-building if Nigeria has to make any real progress in terms of economic growth and socio-political advancement.
Being shrewd and extraordinarily intelligent, Saddam and Gaddafi must have known that when America and other advanced countries were seeking national development, virtually all of their highly respected citizens believed that nations must fight every now and then to prove their power and test the national spirit. And in the United States of America, anyone who does not fits this mould has little or no chance of becoming President.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, epitomized all other American Presidents in thoughts and deeds. And the great Roosevelt at the age of 39, three years before he became President, thought that nations needed to fight in order to survive. That was when Spain was having a field day in Central America and the Caribbeans, and the American masses were ambivalent over the issue of war with Spain.
For several months, Roosevelt argued strenuously for war with Spain, and he gave three reasons why America must fight Spain: first, on grounds of freeing Cuba and expelling Spain from the American hemisphere; second, because of the benefits that would be done to Americans by giving them something to think of which wasn’t material gain (entertainment), and third; because the army and navy needed the practice.
In April 1898, Roosevelt was serving in the important post of Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and when war broke out he quickly resigned to joined the army. His joining the army to fight for America led him straight to the presidency. That is a typical American president, and that is the American spirit. Till today, no one without this aggressive and domineering American spirit, either Democrat or Republican, can became American President.
This, Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gaddafi knew very well and they were doing the same in order to build greater Iraq and Libya respectively.
But Nigerian leaders, it seems, never look beyond the end of their noses. It is true that most people of all nations in most times in history tend to look inward, and we, Nigerians, are no exception. Among other things, we focus on glorifying our nation, making a living, and simply fitting into the comity of nations instead of seeking ways and means of standing out.
Unlike ambitious nations that desire real socio-economic progress, Nigeria has never enunciated any bold foreign policy that can destabilize world trade unless she, Nigeria, is given fair share of the trade. With exception of general Murtala Mohammed, virtually all of Nigeria’s leaders have had no diplomatic flair and tricks, even though they were all mostly successful in their own fields.
If Nigeria is to prosper in the real sense of the word, the leadership of Nigeria must begin to take an increasing interest in events abroad. There must now be a growing sense of internationalism in which Nigerians should keep themselves informed about political and economic developments in other countries, and the thought of dominating other countries economically should not be far from the minds of Nigerian leaders.
Economic stagnation at home in Nigeria in recent years is enough to shift attention outward across the seas. The crash of the prices of crude oil has surely signalled diminishing opportunities at home. Further growth of the Nigerian economy must take place by manipulating other countries and exploiting their capital resources. This move is very necessary as it is very clear that we are rapidly consuming our petroleum resources, and we must now turn our eyes abroad or else our restless citizens will soon look inward with discontent that will make Boko Haram insurgency and Niger-Delta militancy child”s play.
With carefully planned and brilliantly executed diplomatic shenanigans, factories and farms will rapidly multiply in Nigeria, producing more goods than our domestic market will be able to consume. Our farmers and industrialists will then be able to explore overseas markets and the growing volumes of export – including more and more manufactured goods – will change the nature of Nigeria’s trade relations with the world.
Time has now ripe for Nigeria’s policymakers to realize the vital importance of foreign markets for attaining real economic growth and for keeping our currency valuable.
If we truly want to diversify our economy through agriculture, we must modernize our farming systems, and then aggressively seek wider markets for our farm products in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, using Tariff Reciprocity Agreements and other measures.
These are few of the many things I will do if I am elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023. A vote for me will, therefore, be a vote for a progressive Nigeria.
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