Nigeria needs to be ambitious to inspire its people

Posted by News Express | 6 January 2020 | 1,305 times

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We welcome you to the new year, expecting new resolutions and for things to be generally better. We again take a break from the, “it takes a minister” series, to introduce our first article for 2020, about national ambition. It is indeed, ‘national ambition’ that inspires citizens to ask what they can do for their country. It is ‘national ambition’ that makes a country to create the ‘structure and environment’ that brings out the best in its people. National ambition should be strategic to Nigeria’s future.

When a country is ambitious, its policy priorities and actions are guided, coordinated and integrated to positively influence the behaviour of citizens around shared values and vision. Politics and governance are also guided. As I shared in my book, “National Ambition Reconstructing Nigeria”, “bold, clear, statements and sentiments, on national ambition drive national identity and character”. National ambition requires an honest appraisal of where we are now for reflection on how we got here. It requires a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world we are a part of. It requires a consensus of our “leading lights” and clarity on where we should be heading as a country, why and how?

National ambition is about our worldview, how we navigate the complexity of global systems to achieve the most positive impact on Nigerians and the world. It presents a visible and viable pathway to national success that Nigerians can see through and identify roles for individuals and groups, and the potential benefits. It is therefore what would send the most powerful message to positively influence the behaviour of most Nigerians to become committed and patriotic citizens.

When ‘national ambition’ is bold and compelling, it triggers the refocusing of all national assets towards achieving ambitious national social and economic goals and targets. It redefines national assets on our human potential so that every Nigerian (at home and abroad) becomes an intricate and important part of the jigsaw in constructing our shared future. When it is bold, persuasive, clear, coherent and beneficial, Nigerians would own it together. As a result of wider ownership of shared national ambition, it can drive genuine citizens’ intentions and reminders of our responsibilities. It can provide inspiration to young people and the incentive for honest hard work. It can rewire Nigerians and our current systems.

Indeed, an elite consensus is required to articulate national goals and targets, to inform national strategy. But the goals must cause greater good, to galvanise Nigerians in our diversity to align governance, leadership and citizens’ behaviour. What may be akin to a country-citizens Charter that defines our ‘national character’.

To be clear, this article is discussing national ambition within the context of enlightened citizens' interests and pride to identify as Nigerians. Pride in a country that cares and protects. Pride in a country that is deepening democratic values and promoting freedom and equality. A country that is protecting the fundamental rights and liberties of all Nigerians. This article is not discussing or subscribing to ethnocentric, nativist and ideological nationalistic views. It is making the case for national ambition in a multi-ethnic and multicultural Nigeria as strategic to leveraging the potential strength of our diversity.

For example, corruption (corruption is “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”  –

 Transparency International) feeds from the lack of a coherent ambitious national social and economic goals and targets that we determined to meet and holding us to account. As I shared in my book referenced above, “corruption blurs the focus on national ambition and limits Nigeria’s capacity and ability to attain bold and ambitious national goals. It diminishes Nigeria’s strength and identity in the world”. It is the mobilisation of all Nigerians behind national ambition that would empower every Nigerian to demand transparency and accountability, as part of their ‘office’ as a citizen.

National ambition, would redefine leadership-followership engagement and would challenge the poor level of governance and performance. It would encourage questions to be asked of corruption and impunity. It would enable Nigerians to insist on and attract the best talents (in skills, behaviour and love for country) into positions of consequential decision-making. It will gradually end the culture of sycophancy, cronyism, mediocrity and tokenism, limiting Nigeria’s ability to achieve its potential.

National ambition will give Nigerians the voice they need and the audacity to believe and act in determining their future prospects, integrated into national ambition. Nigerians will have a credible and reasonable basis for hope because they are all involved.

Source: News Express

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