Connect with us

Opinion

API’s Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey: A Scary Report Spiced with Hope

Published

on

By Omoniyi Ibietan, Ph.D., fnipr

Earlier today (October 6, 2022) up till early evening, about two hundred Nigerians, listened raptly to Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, lawyer, ex-Central Banker, scholar, public intellectual and former presidential candidate in the 2019 Nigerian elections, as he delivered the keynote speech at the public presentation of the 2022 Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey Report conducted by Prof. Bell Ihua-managed Africa Polling Institute (API).

The lead paper presentation was followed by a panel discussion by Saudatu Mahdi, Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA); Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, Head Media Relations, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Aisha Yesufu, President Citizens Hub; and Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough (EiE). The session was moderated by Uju Nwachukwu, Head of Station, KISS FM, Abuja. The panel took a broad, informed, and patriotic look at the issue of social cohesion in Nigeria, not really bemoaning the Nigerian social reality as it has become characteristic of our ever lively, controversial national discourse, but essentially proffering solutions aptly in the context of the frightening findings of the API Survey.

Last year, the Vice President of the Republic, Oluyemi Osinbajo, a professor of law, SAN, GCON, was the keynote speaker at the annual API event. Nigeria’s mark in social cohesion was 44.2% in 2021, a 6% shortage for Nigeria to hit the average global threshold. This year (2022), the Nigeria Social Cohesion Index (NSCI) is 39.6%, a 4.6% decline from 2021, which was already a short fall from the 50 percent average.

A socially cohesive society fights exclusion, creates a transparent sense of belonging, ensures social justice, is marked by a considerable sense of trust, and signposted by a reasonable degree of participation, sense of relationship, bonding, trust, worth and acceptance. Moghalu submitted with all strength his chubby frame could muster, the panel that discussed his paper and the findings of the 2022 Survey also agreed, so was every soul in the auditorium of the Chelsea Hotel in Abuja, venue of the event.

Sadly, Nigeria falls short of the indices and organising principles of social cohesion. Dr. Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo of the University of Ibadan, and Prof. Hauwa Yusuf, of Kaduna State University, who were intimately involved in the survey said the study, focused on 13 indicators and sub-indices, is a product of world best practices in methodological design, which reliability or internal consistency was tested with Cronbach’s Alpha Value that equals 0.510, because “values less than that are usually not acceptable.”

The 13 indicators computed using primary data from both quantitative and qualitative approaches are identity, trust, social justice, participation and patriotism, worth, future, gender equity (not equality), natural resources governance, impunity, corruption, peacebuilding, polarisation, and coping strategies.

Findings revealed that 81% of Nigerians are comfortable with their dual individuality. While 36% are fine in being both Nigerian and member of ethnic groupings, 35% identify more with their ethnic groups, “only 10% feel more Nigerian than ethnic”. Fifty percent “feel disappointed in Nigeria” and 66% feel Nigeria is more divided today than it was in 2018. “Major causes of conflict were political party affiliations, ethnic and tribal differences, religious differences, access to land, and differences in social status”.

On trust, religious leaders were rated more favourably (50%), then traditional leaders (43%). “Trust for President Buhari’s Government, National Assembly and the Judiciary have declined to 17%, 16% and 22% respectively”.

Sixty-one percent (61%) Nigerians said the “Federal Government is not making enough effort to promote a sense of inclusion for all ethnic groups, only 12% assess government positively on social justice. A substantial 67% said the law does not apply equally to citizens”.

On participation and patriotism, 71% Nigerians are willing to cooperate with fellow citizens to make Nigeria more socially cohesive, “42% expressed willingness to join the military to defend the Nigerian state”. Herein lies a major spicing promise to savour in the report and a great hope for remaking Nigeria.

Natural resource governance is perceived very poorly, as 65% Nigerians felt Government was mismanaging revenues from natural resources. Expectedly, a significant proportion (77%) of those who felt the natural resource governance policy is unfair and insufficient are based in the South-South region.

Fifty-three percent Nigerians rated the Buhari administration’s action on gender equity as poor, and “80% of Nigerians feel boys and girls should have equal access to education, and 71% believe boys and girls should be assessed based on their qualifications, competence and track records”.

On impunity, 96% of Nigerians “consider human rights abuses and violations a problem in the country…53% of citizens believe that impunity thrives in the current administration; 83% believe impunity amongst government officials is increasing; 63% believe that state agents such as the police and military are often perpetrators of human rights abuses”.

Study findings on corruption governance is devastating as 75% believe the level of corruption has increased in the past one year, 76% of citizens perceive government’s effort at halting corruption as “poor”, and 87% were of the view that the path to justice is paved with corruption.

A huge figure (67%) rated government poorly in peacebuilding and 58% believed peacebuilding can be achieved better through local efforts. Government is rated as inactive in peacebuilding but unlike government, churches and mosques as well as civil society organisations have been rated highly in helping citizens to cope with the challenges of poor social cohesiveness. Indeed, “53% of Nigerians said they do not rely on government for support with the challenges of poverty and insecurity in Nigeria”.

Nigerians are so polarised in the context of faith, ethnicity, and religion, and they said Nigeria is more polarised in 2022 than it was under previous administrations. The causes of polarisation are “ethnicity (62%), political affiliation (60%), and religion (57%)”.

On self-worth, “63% of Nigerians said they feel ‘extremely or somewhat dissatisfied’ about their lives as Nigerians, and top destinations for those with a tendency to emigrate are the United States (28%), United Kingdom (15%), Canada (14%), Saudi Arabia (9%), and Dubai (8%)”.

Gratifyingly, “60% citizens believe that the future of the country would be better than it is presently” but 27% are pessimistic while 6% of the citizens do not see possibility of any change for a better society.

The participants agreed with the keynote speaker that there must be some sort of restructuring of the polity not to divide Nigeria but to make it better and flourish for the prosperity of all citizens. The reason as Moghalu argued, is the evident failure of governance arising fundamentally from the departure from federalism which is the foundation for Nigeria’s independence as advocated by Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Moghalu reminded the audience that it was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was reluctant about embracing federalism but Bello and Awolowo and others had to convince Azikiwe to let the young nation adopt federalism.

In his paper titled, BRIDGING THE FAULTLINES IN THE QUEST FOR SOCIAL COHESION, Moghalu submitted persuasively, that there is progressive absence of state capacity in terms of ability to defend territorial integrity, effective collection and administration of taxes (which has worsened Nigeria’s fiscal crisis), and painfully, the Nigerian state lacks capacity to efficiently and effectively managed health, education, water and sanitation as well as every index of social cohesion and development.

Insisting that social cohesion is the real basis for development, Moghalu submitted to the unequivocal approval of participants that, to bridge the faultlines, Nigeria must prioritise competence in the management of her resources and in governance, offer incentives and immediately institutionalise direct state policies that focus on job creation – a job creation exercise managed through stakeholder collaboration because the state cannot act effectively in this regard owing to incapacitation. Moghalu stated that investment in education is irreducible but should focus on ‘Brain Capital’, a skill-oriented education of young people, aligned with the embrace and utilisation of technology and not just any kind of certification.

The former Deputy Governor of Central Bank and professor of practice in international business and public policy at Tufts University in Boston, USA, appealed to all of us to manufacture consensus because people must be willing and consent to be Nigerians and we need sophisticated and egalitarian leadership to achieve this by first returning to the Nationality Question. This consensus must be driven by the spirit of honest conversation with the objective of stabilising the polity and migrate the people of Nigeria to prosperity, rather than pivot discourses on national development on a “perpetual mantra of indivisibility”.

The quartet of Mahdi, Adamolekun, Yesufu, and Ibietan, also offered solutions for remaking Nigeria. While Mahdi called on women to be ready to re-enact their natural role as first teachers for the children and young people, and be willing to help refocus strategically and constructively the energy of the youth, Adamolekun and Yesufu insisted that those who wish to lead the nation must do so with the most scrupulous conscientiousness of honour, they must submit themselves to tests and pass very well via public scrutiny, and the duo equally urged Nigerians to be ready to turn out massively in the forthcoming elections to elect leaders that are responsible and accountable. Importantly, they urged Nigerians to be willing and ready to ask questions and take the leaders to task even after elections, because eternal vigilance is central to harvesting derivable benefits of democracy.

Ibietan advocated that appointed and elected elites must be ready to walk the talk on federal character principles and similar affirmations in all they do, particularly in ensuring inclusiveness, diversity, and representativeness in appointing even their personal aides. He also called for a policy that incentivises those who have acted to promote social cohesion, and punishment for those who have promoted divisiveness. Ibietan also tasked citizens to rally actions focused on making constitutional provisions that empower the media to hold government accountable to be justiciable. He called for more investigative and interpretive reportage because such perspectives give better context and meaning to media’s role as agents of social cohesiveness, and he appealed to citizens to support the media enterprise because good journalism holds a big promise for promoting democracy, accountability, transparency, and by that fact, social cohesion and development.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight

Published

on

By

By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

Continue Reading

Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

Published

on

By

Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

Continue Reading

Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

Published

on

By

By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: