With the current global economic trend as a result of a paradigm shift in an oil market, the leaders, as well as the people who will champion the next pace of Nigeria will face parallel challenges of revenue and security. Suffice to say, this is the moment when Nigeria needs a strong, neutral and focused leadership that will champion aggressive economic diversification, security restoration and national integration. Above all, Nigerians must realise that the achievement of a desirable society of our dream starts by ‘we,’ leaders and led, becoming that change we want to see blooms and flourishes in the society.
Lately, the price of crude oil has continued to drift, falling below $70 per barrel as a result of America’s reduction of foreign oil intake. This new development will definitely force countries like Nigeria with over 70% reliance on oil revenue, to begin to rethink on the imperative of diversification in a highly competitive world economy. If we understand what this means in addition to the wave of insecurity that is slamming the country at the moment, then Nigerians must find a crossroad within their conscience to save the next generation of its citizens. They must refrain from ‘politics as usual.’ The status quo of politicking, national cake sharing and allowing situations to take care of themselves cannot work anymore!
Undisputedly, the country had abundant resources. Despite the enormous size of our population and the overwhelming loot of the treasury by the opportunists, the country is able to survive an economic downturn and still crawls as the ‘biggest economy’ in Africa. This was possible simply because oil remained the dynamo of world energy, and the major consumer, the United States, did not produce oil. It will never be the same because the trend has changed. It does not affect only Nigeria; all members of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) are traumatised by the development.
This unfortunate though likely expected economic predicament is surfacing at a time when Nigeria is experiencing the worst security crises. A very systematic and delicate crisis that is not only destroying lives and properties but also devastating the fundamental unity that binds the nation. It is a monster and a reality that Nigeria will continue to live with because it was systematically raised and so it will be demolished.
In the wake of such parallel challenges, the like that nearly brought the whole of Southern Europe to its knee, Nigerians need to be practical and decisive. The present election, I believe, is a great and only opportunity Nigerians should seize to give the country another chance to thrive once again. People must desist from ‘traditional’ politics of ‘money decides everything’ and using religion, region and ethnicity to win elections. I believe, having a good leader starts by having a reasonable and patriotic electorate.