Monday, October 15, 2007

Announcing Our Problems

Thursday, 26 August 2004
As an avid reader of commentaries and every written by Nigerians, I have come across many that only seem to announce our country’s challenges, even as they insist that these challenges are so complex, complicated and intractable or beyond solutions.

We should not underestimate the power of our ideas and bearing this in mind, it is more helpful, in my view, to proffer solutions. Suggesting policy changes, for better results, ought to be the benefit of public debate of policies that affect us all and our nation.

Nigerians at home and abroad must become more innovative in fathoming solutions to our national issues; After all, there is a Nigerian axiom, which states that good hunters do not bag their hunt, unless they have first ensured, that the animal is completely dead.

Our national issues and the challenges emanating therein are not about to magically disappear, these challenges are not about to be solved by some wistful thinking or by the sudden appearance of some foreign benevolent invaders; It follows then, that the more complex things get, the more innovative we ought.

Commenting on public issues therefore, requires, an attempt, at least, on the part of the commentator, to aspire to elevate the debate, with superior ideas or arguments. Otherwise, what help, is it, to anyone, that we repeat that Nigeria Airways is bankrupt, without suggesting what we ought to do next, regarding the rebirth of a Nigerian national airline? It is understandable that some might have concluded that government and policy helms persons are sometimes unreceptive to suggestions of new ideas or change, but, we should persist in making suggestions, even in the if there is only, the slightest possibility that the helmspersons are amenable to them.

In recent weeks, commentaries regarding the Nigeria Image Project, have been so one-sided, just as too many of those commenting on the subject, have failed to broach possible solutions, as alternatives to how our government has chosen to proceed.

It is my opinion that, commentaries that disagree with public polices ought to, as a rule, include the commentator’s preferred course, so that, when we write that the Nigeria Police is not performing at its optimum, we may suggest more funding, equipment or even decentralization of policing work in Nigeria. When we understand the appalling inadequacies of certain agencies, we must act as problem solvers, by suggesting alternatives. Blistering and scalding criticisms have their places, but, as intense criticisms may have purposes, certainly, suggestions and solutions are preferred, as these only emanate from result oriented thinking. Debate for its sake, is abstract and too academic.

Merely stating accurate diagnoses is probably not sufficient or effective, in resolving safety and security issues, the duties the Nigeria Police ought to perform creditably. Diagnoses of NEPA epileptic power supply, is only but a start, in resolving our energy generation crises, we ought to move beyond a mere recognition of what NEPA problems are, we ought implore adequate funding, we perhaps should demand privatization or even decentralization…. Electricity generation and transmission for Nigeria’s almost 200 million citizens ought not, be a centralized monopoly of one organization. Power generation in the United States is a local issue, there are of course, federal and state laws and rules, but essentially, generation and transmission is done at town and local government or county levels, and this makes it more manageable for all concerned. New York City for instance, has many power stations and this ensures efficiencies. There are local, regional and nation energy efforts that coalesce to ensure steady supply of electricity.

This American electricity generating and transmitting model can be replicated in Nigeria, to make our power generation more efficient. Electricity powers the most mundane as well as the most sophisticated of processes in today’s modern world. Drastic reform through decentralization of power generation and transmission is overdue.

There are so many areas of our public life needing reform and rejuvenation. And announcing our plentitude of national issues or challenges, are no longer enough.

What wonderfully innovative ideas, suggestions or solutions can we offer to keep Nigeria in good stead? Problems solving ought to be the number one job for all Nigerians leaders and the everyday average citizens of our dear country.

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