Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Mallam Ali, which way should Nigeria go? ~ by Prince Charles Dickson


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Dem Dey Go
Once upon a time
Some people come together
Made a plan, took a chance
Agreement between one another

Dem dey go
Dem dey go
Dem dey go
Dem dey fight
Dem dey quarrel
Dem dey go

One silly the other sneaky the other sleazy
I tell dem if them no wan gree make dem scatter
Go their separate ways

We are born
And then we’re gone
Nobody lives forever
It’s alright and then it’s not
Freedom is a kind of prison

I can see the future
Oh, I can see
Where the people see what the people need
I have a dream oh
I have a dream
To see the people free
From the pain within

Dem dey go
One silly the other needy the other greedy
I tell them if them no wan gree
Make dem scatter
Go their separate ways


This piece is a testament to my friend and brother, Ali. M. Ali, current MD of the News Agency of Nigeria NAN and before someone accuses me of a praise singing venture, kindly follow me patiently.

In this clothing called life, there are individuals who stand as beacons of resilience and unwavering belief in their homeland. Ali, a friend and stalwart supporter of Nigeria, and Mr. Tinubu embodies this spirit with unwavering dedication and unyielding faith in the nation’s potential.

Ali’s journey is a testament to resilience, weathering the storms that have tested the very fabric of the nation. Despite challenges and uncertainties, his optimism remains unshaken, reflecting a deep-seated belief in Nigeria’s capacity for growth and progress. On this count, we are brothers, and will remain, we don’t always agree but trust me, we hardly disagree!

What sets Ali apart is not just his resilience, but also his steadfast support for the current President of Nigeria. Through thick and thin, he stands as a vocal advocate, articulating a vision of a stronger, united Nigeria under the leadership he believes in. I am not exactly sure where he finds this resilience.

His unwavering support extends beyond politics; it is a reflection of a profound love for the diverse tapestry that is Nigeria. Ali’s optimism serves as a source of inspiration for those around him, reminding us that, even in the face of adversity, there is room for hope and belief in a better future.

As Nigeria navigates the complexities of the present, Ali stands as a symbol of the enduring spirit that fuels progress. In his unwavering commitment, he becomes not just an individual but a part of the collective journey toward a brighter, more prosperous Nigeria.

In Ali’s story, we find a narrative of resilience, belief, and commitment to a nation he holds dear. Through his actions and convictions, he becomes a beacon for others, a reminder that, with resilience and belief, the potential for positive change is limitless.

This is to you, brother and friend, and let me remind you that I am your first line critic, and that I will try to believe that you are not a friend in power that has been lost.

I hid in one corner at the launch of Chief Edwin Clark’s autobiography titled ‘Brutally Frank’. Some of the guests at the occasion if I recall were President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume; former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd); and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The list also included former and serving National Assembly members, serving and former governors, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero and other first class monarchs across the country. It was a gathering of the country’s political, traditional and economic leaders.

My dear brother Ali, let me take you through a little of what my memory serves me from what Mr. Tinubu said: “We are going through a difficult phase in the history of this country but these pains are pains of birth, the birth of a new nation and that if you want to celebrate a child, then the mother must go through some pains.

“At the end of the day, there is joy in merriment when the baby arrives and we will certainly be there.”

“Solutions to problems can never be as instant as coffee but we must certainly be there.”

“We can endure this for a moment but what we are going through today is for a better tomorrow. Our citizens have hoped that tomorrow will be better than today and we won’t disappoint them.”

“Nigeria is structurally complex and structurally difficult but can never be difficult to manage. Our plurality and diverse cultures and with our religions constitute the source of our strength.”

Ali, so this is it for me, our diversity or differences is not the problem but our will to unite is at fault. A people together not united, a people confident but not strong. The tail wagging the dog, rather than the dog…For me, I see that we are not ready because the hypocrisy of restructuring is that we negate facts such as the need for unity for that to take place. A nation that wants to restructure needs not fear unity, because as long as this is the case, virtually nothing can function with the requisite efficiency.

Can the current administration harness the collective of individuals; all with different purposes and directions, none willing to create space for the other, all sorts of mutually held suspicion and pretenses of oneness, to create a nation then we can discuss a structure?

We cannot again think restructuring a non-existent structure will solve our forlorn migraine state.

We suffer selective amnesia- we conveniently forget certain unpleasant facts about our journey as a polity. We suffer selective myopia, our vision skips areas we find unpleasant no matter how recent, and then from the not distant past we are afflicted with an equal degree of selective hyperopic, perceiving and drawing lessons only from convenient happenings in our history, convenient sources.

We listen but our hearing is defective, so our hearing is equally a case of selective audition, we hear the calls and narrative we wish to hear. Our souvenirs are also selective.

When we display certain indignation, it is never for general application, rather it is hood-based indignation, a selective morality, such that our approach to restructuring is one that what is good for the goose is almost never good for the gander.

Whether it is fiscal federalism or state police, resource control or otherwise, a sizable construct of the conversation does not take into cognizance the ‘we’ narrative.

As long as there is no clear structure we cannot restructure, for example as long as there is no definition of, and clear concept of home, for as long as Nigerians already in Nigeria intend to eventually return home because Nigeria is not home to all Nigerians, and state of origin remains a bigger home, then we cannot be seen to changing anything.

From all I said, it becomes very clear that the Nigeria rhetoric is very much at variance with concrete realities of our Nigerian situation.

Ali, you are Nigerian, you feel deep inside your Nigerian-ness as a state of being that enables you to be Nigerian anywhere and legitimately so, and contribute to the betterment of your immediate society first. So where are we going Mallam Ali? I await your answer my brother and friend, and may Nigeria win!

Prince Charles Dickson, Ph.D. is the Team Leader of The Tattaaunawa Roundtable Initiative (TRICentre). He is a development & media practitioner, a researcher, policy analyst, public intellect and a teacher.

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