The Struggle Ahead in 2021: A New Year Message from SDP by Dr Olu Agunloye Social Democratic Party Chieftain, SDP National Secretariat, 16 Nairobi Street, Wuse II. Abuja. 01 January 2021
Compatriots, The outgone vicious year 2020 bore its fang with several violent unrests, kidnappings, road ambushes, killings of innocent citizens, Covid-19 pandemic, and slide into economic recession. I am sure not many people would miss the year.
Our Challenges and Struggles As we enter a new year, 2021, we should reflect on the various challenges facing our country and the nation’s struggles to rid itself of corruption and corrupt leaders, its struggles with unemployment of youths, its struggles with nosediving economy, its struggles with widespread violent unrests, its struggles against inadequate infrastructure, and its struggles against widespread insecurity.
As individuals, we reflect on our various personal struggles to grapple with our challenges. We struggle to pay rent, struggle to get education, struggle to get employment, struggle to get health care. We struggle to put food on the table, struggle to avoid being kidnapped and struggle to stay alive.
From old struggles to New Struggle This New Year message is direct and unpretentious. It is that while recognising that we are faced with serious challenges and struggles, it is also time for all well-meaning Nigerians to embrace another type of struggle. It will be a struggle to terminate prevalent struggles. This new struggle will be primarily to enshrine social justice through a new drive to restructure Nigeria and enthrone a correct Constitution for Nigeria that will provide proper guidelines and guidance on how we live together, work together, share profits, penalties, and rewards. The new struggle will be about how we select or elect only credible, competent and compassionate people into positions of leadership. The new struggle will have to revamp nationwide efforts to attack gross unemployment of youths, assure youths empowerment and their placement in positions of leadership across the country.
Reasons for New Struggle The main thrust for the new struggle is our resentment of the place where we are as a nation. We are not where we want to be or where we ought to be. Nigerians of diverse status agree that the country is not at its best, they only disagree on what caused this and how to get out of the woods. At this point, it is noteworthy that the life of Nigeria, as a nation, has been held in abeyance for 55 years since January 1966. That was when the Nigerian Constitution was suspended by unwarranted military interregnum. We cannot but refer to the misrule and misgoverning by the military and civilian governments since Independence and especially in the last 21 years, but this is not where or when to dwell on this aberration. What is important at this point is that the life of the nation has hung in abeyance for 55 years without valid rules, guidelines, guidance and regulations known as Constitution made by “we the people of Nigeria”. Out of these 55 years, we had 29 years of military without any semblance of a nation’s constitution. The rules of governing only came in ad hoc forms, mostly one at a time, sometimes backdated and usually completely devoid of common sense or common interest. In the last 21 years there has been a Constitution created by Decree and forced down by the military regime. There have been several attempts to rewrite or amend this Constitution-Decree of 1999 when, in fact and in reality, it should be jettisoned completely in its entirety and replaced with a new true development-oriented constitution enacted by “we the people of Nigeria”.
The summary of the life of our country is that it has been administered since 1966 without the national code of practice book, also known as the Constitution, prepared by the people of Nigeria for the people of Nigeria. In the absence of this code book, the nation’s governance system has been haphazard and unable to guarantee social justice and equity, healthy ethnic competition, economic development and social security. The system cannot deter unhealthy ethnic rivalries and systemic ethnic domineering tendencies or unbearable levels of violence and gross insecurities.
With the above, the new struggle for course correction has become imperative.
Time for New Politics All social democrats and other progressives should be in this new struggle to structure and restructure the basis of our nation’s union as a Nation to assure social justice, equity and fairness for the progress for all sectors, all ethnicities and all regions of Nigeria. The goal is for an average person to be able to put food on the table and be able to eat the food. This is a simple way of expressing the goal of economy and security for all. The goal is however, easy to define but hard to achieve. This is because achieving the goal requires the third leg, politics, of the development tripod of economy, security and politics. Therefore, the new struggle will require a new politics.
In this wise, all social democrats, progressives, and positive thinkers of all shades, wherever they are or from in Nigeria or in the diaspora, need to join hands together to bring about new politics based on justice, equity and fair play. The emergent politicians must encourage more Nigerians to become a new generation of politicians motivated by the development of a new restructured Nigeria, leveraging on empowered youths for the benefit of all Nigerians in respective of class, religion, tribe, or location.
Happy healthy New Year. God bless Nigeria. Long Live Nigeria.