The seeming difficulty in raising a new generation of leaders is apparently due to the percolation of negative values from some set of leaders into the impressionable consciousness of the emerging community of potential leaders. There is yet a nationally shared vision regarding the Nigeria of our dream to which the leadership is committed in spirit and in truth. The consequent ideological underpinnings of the envisioned Nigeria is in the behavior of a political leadership class that repeats the same old game of playing chess with the destiny of the nation.
It is failure to come up with a vision and the direction to take that makes it difficult for many public policies such as the quota system, Federal Character, NYSC, the rebranding Nigeria project, Change Begins with You to promote active citizenship in Nigeria.
To achieve corporate citizenship, a state must ensure social cohesion and social justice. It demands that all forms of social inequalities; gender, income, class, political and material etc are minimized as much as possible. In any society where the wealth gap between the rich and the poor is excruciatingly wide in ways that are even facilitated by the government through its tax regime, the social strain of inequality undermines social growth.
In Nigeria, where the ethnic diversity is so virulent as to constantly undermine social cohesion, where there is a disproportionate sharing of scarce resources in ways that enable one group to have more than the other, it builds the blocks for social disorder.
Nigeria’s diversity facilitates ethnic and religious distrust at individual and group levels. This can be explained as one consequence of t sure sign that relating with an Igbo appears as a distasteful possibility.
Essentially, social cohesion demands a strategy of governance, as good governance is the framework within which the transformation of ethnic diversities into nationhood can begin to unravel.
Two dimensions of the strategy of governance are needed to ground social cohesion. The first is, urgent need to leverage education and value reorientation as the dynamics which engages with the citizens’ mental sets and worldviews.
The way people perceive the world and their relationship with others has a lot to do with what they have learnt or refused to learn as they go through life. Such citizens might have learnt but there is a sense in which learning undermines the basis of relationship when it is founded on crass individualism and selfish understanding. A state that desires social cohesion must therefore invest in an educational policy that encourages the growth of reflective, respectful and ethically-minded citizens who are willing to trust others and live with them in tolerance. Ultimately, this kind of value reorientation helps the citizens to learn skills, competencies and values that promote the common good.
The second strategy of governance required for social cohesion is a reform blueprint that leads to a capacity building social policy. This refers to policy initiatives, social relations and institutional arrangements that energize human well-being. It constitutes a deliberate attempt, on the part of government, to intervene in the redistribution of resources among its citizens as a means of achieving welfare objectives that empowers the citizens. This involves investing in healthcare, employment, housing, and so on as well as opening up the society in ways that undermine inequalities, protect the vulnerable and facilitate democratic relations.
The Nigerian project at present seem to lack coherent strategic dynamics that would ensure that the leadership deploys towards ameliorating the Nigerian al condition.
Until the political leadership is awakened to this consciousness of ameliorating the negative conditions that affect national progress, the country will remain with the cries of desperate citizens seeking for better opportunities to express their potentials maximally and position the country for socio-economic growth and political greatness.