By Tony Agbons
FOR a country with a population of over 180 million, Nigeria do not lack the much-needed human resources. We have produced some of the best brains in virtually all spheres of endeavour.
Nigerians are making their mark and holding their own creditably globally. A brainchild of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006, Vision 20:2020 was launched in September 2009, during the administration of the Late President, Umaru Musa Y`Adua (His soul rest in peace).
The Nigerian government announced with pomp and zest, the beautifully crafted and worded program captioned VISION 20: 2020.
For most developed and developing nations, governance revolves around a sextuplet of goals. These include a reduction in poverty and unemployment; the provision of minimum levels of education, health, housing and food to every citizen; the broadening of social and economic opportunities and the forging of a cohesive nation state.
So, the coming of Vision 20:2020 was much heralded and seen by Nigerians as a win-win. It was designed to lay the foundation of a veritable framework that will eventually catapult the country to our much desired ‘el-dorado`.
Much of the Vision 20:2020 constructs were inspired from patches of our previous rolling national development plans, the United Nations Human Development goals and other socio-economic parameters you can think of on the planet.
At the time, government officials at all levels from the Federal, State, and Local government all had a field day in well-articulated speeches. The citizens were bombarded left, right and centre with oratory beyond recent Barack Obama heights. Many saw the Vision 20:2020 idea as an instrument of structured planning to the twinkling magical year 2020, and millennium. How wrong we were!
I have criss-crossed and situated arguments from sundry sources as to when, how and where this vision fell apart and the lessons we can learn from it. Some have alluded the failure of this vision to the demise of the President at that time. Some opined that it got washed away by the usual `Nigerian factor`.
A handful of analyst put the blame on our system operators who they claim are smart on theorising but poor in practical implementation. Each of these commentaries are well documented in the annals of our history as a nation state.
In today’s Nigeria, the recurring decimal has always been our inability to throw up our best in leadership. It is being very bad since the return to democracy in 1999. Many still say we are presently in civilian rule and not in democracy yet. This is a subject for another discuss. Ours has been a clime that celebrate mediocrity. We never put out our “best eleven” for any endeavour.
We have some of (if not the best) human & natural resources to excel as a nation. Our kit and kin are `delivering excellence` all over the world, yet we are unable to replicate same at home. Ours has become a very suffocating chimney where only the `hardened` survive.
For Nigeria to achieve her vision and take its place and pride in the comity of nations, our current leadership ascension model must be jettisoned such that candidates who emerge are men and women of quality and wisdom. Not the current selection system where sensitive vital political leadership is for the highest bidder. Great candidates who are ready to serve the people should be able to access the party selection process and pick tickets.
Similarly, we must do away with this “over-bloated unitary-federal-cap-in-hand-to-Abuja system” we operate. It must be a proper federal system where the federating units grow at their comparative pace. As a country, we have missed several opportunities for national rebirth.
The events of the current global pandemic and its attendant incarceration provides us another chance to have a rethink. This way, we can face up to the tirade of challenges confronting us. It is a fresh chance for Nigeria to redesign and recapture its lost vision. Unlike the failed Vision 20:2020, this new vision must be laced with provisions.
Tony Agbons, PhD is a researcher based in United Kingdom.