National Unity and Inspiration
ANN understands that there can be no Nigeria without Nigerians from our diverse backgrounds. That we must strengthen the bonds that unite us. That these bonds should be founded on common values of the fear of God and love and respect for fellow Nigerians.
ANN understands that without unity, we cannot have peace and security in Nigeria. We understand that only in peace and security, would Nigerians fully express their human potential – investing talents, time and patriotic zeal – and are inspired to building a united Nigeria that is much better and greater than the sum of our individual parts.
ANN understands that while it is important to build Nigeria’s physical infrastructure such as: roads, bridges, railways, airports, seaports, power stations, dams, refineries and telecommunication; schools, hospitals and decent houses; supplying utilities; and creating decent tax-paying jobs, all of these would be moot and of no use, if Nigerians are not united and co-existing in peace and security. ANN understands that Nigeria’s true greatness lies in the strength of the social fibres that connect us. This is because:
United, Determined and Inspired, we can build the best roads, railways, airports, seaports, power stations; refineries and telecommunication systems in the world.
United, Determined and Inspired, we can build the best schools, hospitals and homes; supply the best utilities in the world; and create tens of millions of decent productive tax-paying jobs for Nigerians.
United in National Pride in our Country, we will ensure that no Nigerian is left behind.
ANN therefore understands and believes that the unity of Nigeria is the fundamental Domestic Policy challenge to focus and define governance success. ANN believes that the unity of Nigeria is the single most important opportunity for governance and leadership. This will be our utmost priority at ANN, to build a country where Nigerians are Culturally Well-informed & Educated; United and Inspired to build a better Nigeria.
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- Nigeria is a large and diverse country. Nigeria has nearly equal population of men to women; and Muslims and Christians.
- There are diverse ethnic, tribal and linguistic groups; and cultural identities in Nigeria.
- Our diverse population and cultures have unique histories, but share perspectives on economic opportunities and development.
- Especially since the nineteen sixties, Nigeria has continued to depend on, and mismanage[d] its oil and gas resources/wealth, while destroying the environment and the traditional occupation (farming and fishing) of the Niger Delta and impoverishing ordinary people at increased risk to health and threat to their existence.
- There has been decline in the Traditional Institutions and in the quality of Local Governance, in Nigeria.
- Politics has been more destructive of the social fibres that connect us.
- Our federal system concentrates power and resources at the centre to benefit a few Nigerians, in a “winner takes all”, zero-sum game that breeds inequality, marginalisation and discontent.
- The bitter memories of Coloniaism and the Civil War lingers and rather negatively, into our sociopolitical and economic spaces to fuel prejudices and hatred, and marginalise many; and we have failed as a country to heal the wounds and to say #NeverAgain!
- All of the above elements combine to create disunity; leave most Nigerians uninspired about Nigeria – what they can do for Nigeria; and what Nigeria can do for them.
- We have not been able to melt our diversity into a common National [Nigerian] Identity (in practice, in which every culture is a critical and complementary part of Nigeria), intended in principle, at Independence and by the Constitution. Therefore, there is nothing big and important enough to all Nigerians to rise above and be part of, in spite of our individual, tribal, ethnic, religious and cultural differences, biases and interests.
- We have not nurtured a political culture of discourse and contests (at all levels), in which political parties are founded on clear ideologies, values and high standards to hold members and politicians to account; to support the thriving of internal democracy; and to be pragmatic in building consensus around multiple perspectives to progress our overall national goals.
- Our political parties and politicians have not invested enough in educating and informing all Nigerians on how great Nigeria can become if we build strength on our diversity and put our large, young and resourceful population to work to produce the goods and services that our people need and to trade with the rest of the world.
- Politics, has not been based on ideas on how to solve the problems of ordinary Nigerians. Politics, has exploited our weaknesses and challenges in a vicious cycle to create more problems by misinforming; misleading; sowing divisions on primordial sentiments and fault lines; and spreading much hatred among ordinary Nigerians (the real victims of our failures to ‘unite and inspire’), on their way to political power.
- The earnings from crude oil and gas have not pooled enough within Nigeria to drive and diversify local economies to significantly impact the quality of life and life chances (social mobility) of ordinary Nigerians.
- Although the Nigerian Economy has grown cumulatively modestly over the past 6 decades, few Nigerians have benefited. Political power continues to determinant access to and mismanagement/mal-distribution of our commonwealth and economic opportunities. Poverty and inequality continues to grow across Nigeria, as political leaders are indifferent, aloof and disconnected from ordinary Nigerians.
- Inability of the political class to deliver to Nigerians the development (human, physical) that we deserve.
- Given that they have misled and divided Nigerians (at local, states and federal levels) on their way to gain political power, politicians in elected and/or appointed positions lack the governance skills and moral authority to lead and unite a disunited Nigerian population.
- While politicians in government fail to “unite and inspire” Nigerians, those in opposition continue to exploit disunity and spread hatred instead of constructive criticisms and alternative policy proposals.
- Without a defined National Identity and big vision and picture to “unite and inspire” Nigerians, across divides, politicians continue to ‘rule’ over a disunited and uninspired country, instead of governing and leading a united, inspired and progressive country.
- The short term ‘gamers’ and gainers are in the minority, the ‘politicians as usual’ and their agents. The long term losers are in the majority, ordinary Nigerians and Nigeria.
ANN believes that Nigeria is too big to fail. That the ramifications would be huge and prolonged in human, material and financial costs. We are better off and stronger together united and inspired. We cannot afford to lose our country and the future of our children to short term ‘gamers’ and gainers. ANN will stand up for Nigeria to “unite and inspire” a new generation of Nigerians to think, believe in, and love Nigerians and Nigeria, again.
ANN is consulting widely with Nigerians and will be finalising a compelling, “Project Nigeria” to promote a “Unique Nigerian Identity” to fuse the currently ‘disunited parts’ of Nigeria into a united and integral whole of something bigger than ourselves, ‘narrow interests’ and ‘tribal loyalties’.
“PROJECT NIGERIA” would have important elements including:
- Strengthening federalism.
- Highlighting the best of Nigeria (looking at the different histories, cultures, geographies, natural resources, food, and how our diverse peoples really complement each other).
- Restore and repackage Traditional Institutions as custodians of our rich and diverse cultures and strengthen local and informal governance mechanisms in local communities across Nigeria and integrate into formal systems of governance.
- Strengthen existing platforms and mechanisms and actively promote multiculturalism and values.
- Strengthen existing platforms and mechanisms and actively promote interfaith collaboration and values.
- Promote a platform for leadership and learning from elder statesmen and stateswomen.
- Promote a platform for ‘Question Time’ about our history, culture, religion, economy, politics, to get Nigerians ‘really’ talking and connecting with one another.
- Promote reforming of political parties to focus more on nurturing a political-culture based on ideology, driven on factual evidence to inform and educate the electorate and to strengthen democracy.
- Launch a programme focusing on ‘unity and inspiration’ for young Nigerians across Nigeria to be passionate about community service; to be proud of Nigeria and to unleash their creative energies for volunteerism and enterprise.
- Launch a programme focusing on strengthening the family unit (the unit of our communities) on which we build national values.
- Launch a programme focusing on Dignity in Labour and working for results in the Public Sector.
- Launch an ambitious Social Development Strategy pivoted on a reformed National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to lead “I am Proud to be Nigerian and to Serve fellow Nigerians”, working in broader collaboration with reputable Foundations, Non-Governmental Organisations, Charities, Development Partners, etc.
- Launch a programme that leverages on the creativity and uniting power of the Entertainment Industry and Sports to ‘unite and inspire’
- Launch a Citizens-Presidency Engagement Programme on multiple real and virtual platforms.
- Gather data for evidence and intelligence to improve and strengthen national unity and inspiration programming.
- Partner with the private sector to organise, build and integrate tourism into ‘unite and inspire’ programmes (actively encourage domestic tourism; and promote Nigerian Tourism, internationally).
The Presidency; Ministries of Information, Finance, Planning, Youth, Culture, Tourism, Interior, Labour, Education and their Agencies and relevant Programmes; and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would integrate policies to support the delivery of “PROJECT NIGERIA”, ‘unite and inspire’ situated on a logic model for continuous performance evaluation, working with the National Assembly (NASS); States and LGs level structures.
This strategy would ‘unite and inspire’ Nigerians, create decent sustainable tax-paying jobs (public, private and social sector) in the process and contribute to economic growth (in quality and actual numbers that we can track), to return on investment.
Imagine a Nigeria that recognises its very best. Ordinary Nigerians. Everyday Nigerians going out of their way to serve their local communities and to make a difference to fellow Nigerians!