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Soludo’s treatise on Nigeria’s challenges: Time for action by all — By Christian Aburime

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As Nigeria celebrated 25 years of uninterrupted democracy this year, Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, of Anambra State was not ready to pop the champagne in celebration when he spoke at The Platform event on June 12, 2024, in Lagos. Instead of celebration, he came with a load of sober reflections. In a long, mind-boggling presentation, he discussed the nation’s challenges with dispassionate clarity and candour, arguing that democracy itself is under threat from a broken economy.

Governor Soludo is not just pointing accusing fingers; he is also offering solutions. He sees democracy and a free market as two sides of the same coin, crucial for liberty and prosperity. But these systems, he warned, need constant work to deliver the much expected dividends. Nigeria, despite its vast potential and years of democratic rule, has not quite unlocked its true potential.

The problem? It is an unsustainable economy. Yes, we are a potentially rich country but actually poor in indices of real development, as our economy is heavily reliant on a volatile oil sector. Our public finances are in shambles, with debt ballooning and recurrent expenditure swallowing up any hope for real development.

Governor Soludo’s diagnosis is direct and haunting: Nigeria is under an existential threat that must be urgently arrested to salvage our today and future. We can’t take democracy for granted, especially with a burgeoning population putting even more strain on resources.

But there is hope. Governor Soludo is not a leader given to pessimism. Having dissected where the shoes pinch Nigeria, he has made suggestions for a way out and is now calling for collective action. He urges all Nigerians, from leaders to citizens, to become part of the solution.

He has advocated for tough reforms, streamlining government spending, controlling borrowing, empowering states, devolution of powers, true federalism, ethical re-orientation, leadership by example in terms of modesty and sensitivity to prevailing times, patriotism by patronizing made-in-Nigeria products and so on.

He also believes President Tinubu’s leadership offers a ray of hope, but the road ahead won’t be easy. It will require sacrifice from everyone. Yet, Governor Soludo remains an optimist. He sees Nigeria’s youth as a force that can propel the nation into the future as a global powerhouse.

Most importantly of all, everyone in positions of leadership in Nigeria is advised to avail themselves of the soul-searching Democracy Day speech delivered by Governor Soludo at The Platform.( You can get a copy from this writer via 08032876662). The vivid details are there on what ails Nigeria and how to get her out of the woods. So, let our leaders from the federal level to the states, from the policy makers to the policy actors, from the private sector players to civil society groups, get into action and make Nigeria work by taking a cue from Soludo’s well-articulated suggestions.

Is it not better for us as a nation to choose to confront our challenges and build a stronger democracy and economy? The time to act is now. Shall we all rise to the challenge now, or still be found lamenting the same issues next Democracy Day? The latter will be a pity indeed.

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