The purpose of this think-tank is to draw expertise gratis from astute Nigerians in universities, organizations, cultural groups, traditional leaders, adaptable ideas from well wishers filtered for African soil. It may be a self-starter by groups of Nigerians from every village. Even if we have all the money in the world mostly in the care of the three ethnic giants, they can only take us back to the dark ages. Ideas can be considered by each of the relevant or specialized think-tank no matter their ethnic group, age or affiliations as long as money is of little implication.
The think-tanks are supposed to be ideas competing with the status quo. Under unemployment in Nigeria is pathetic. We have young well educated poor, rich and unchallenged car racer folks in inglorious professions. If we can tap some of them into think-tanks, sensitize them to worthy local causes, their self worth would be appreciated. There are Nigerians at home or in Diaspora waiting to be helpful to think-tanks in their villages but may have lost touch and a few may have given up hope. It is a shame that we have more states and local governments than think-tanks.
Many of our young ethnic militias started as think-tanks of boy’s scouts and girls clubs before they became an aberration as they lacked neighborhood recreations to avert idleness. When money can be made from favors given by money bags and politicians, they lose their compass and went into the abyss. In many cases sharing money is a common denominator for going wild like Oron, Akwa Ibom State. If they can join militias and our university graduates can become cult members, imagine how useful they could be as think-tanks using brains instead of brawls.
We all want to belong to a group where the members can feel included and useful. A simple case: included in the building of industrial farm or road in the village of Umofia. Money bags can compete, but think-tanks would be able to spell out each specification, cost and percentage of profit so that any contractor that strayed from the norm could be held accountable by our people in Umofia. We know how most of our money is stolen out of the Country. Competition for goods and services is a joke in Nigeria except in the governments of Jakande and Mbakwe.
There is nothing new about think-tanks amongst Nigerians everywhere but we must admit that most self-help organizations with noble and ideal creation have metastasized into secondary cancer growing hydra tentacles into the fabric of our society. Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and to some extent, Igbo national leaders always goofed over leadership at any level, anywhere. There must be a way out of chaos to regenerate our Country and Continent on fresh competing ideas from other ethnic leaders. In the days when our leaders were serious, no traitor was bold enough to sell off Independence, not even in Biafra, as they do now. But afterward the same leaders wasted our principles on personality clashes!
Before we go any further, some people may be out there wondering if any sane idea can come out of Nigeria without money, Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa/Fulani leadership. The way to answer is: none of their solutions has moved us forward, but backwards from all the money Nigeria made since Independence in the trust of the three giants of Africa. Instead of sinking deeper into the hole, we may as well start afresh. The three can only earn their respect as arms length advisers. Another issue of the giants is those over the age of 59 years that refuse to quit arid leadership.
The funding must come in kind not in raw cash. When Zik, Awo, Bello, Enahoro and Aminu Kano started their think-tanks, it was in-house with the generosities of their wives’ dinner, in their poor student days, short on funds but blessed with a strong will to achieve. It was meager funds and burning desires that gave us our Independence. Unfortunately, these think-tanks of ethnic nationalities metastasized into cancer cells eating us inside out. Let others try, Ibori is no excuse.
We do not need to remind ourselves that our civil war, ethnic and religious conflicts still to be resolved, is swept under, boiling out recurrently as in Jos. It is felt from one generation to the next including children never born into them. Ironically without the evil of funds the Igbo who mostly borne the brunt of the incongruence have caught up economically and academically while the poorest victims of the misrule are still mostly located in the North. Indeed, as more money corrupts, Igbo are turning Anambra upside down. Nobody has gained, we have all lost.
If the Yoruba want to demonstrate how important, generous and tolerant their contribution is, display it from your locality and the rest of Nigerians will be attracted there. The same is true of the two other giants; show us what you can do locally for others worth emulation. But when it comes to national competition for ideas, bids, contracts and infrastructure, the new think-tank cannot accept national leadership from any of the three mega groups. We see examples of their national contributions and our children need a break from their incessant atrocities on Nigeria.
In order to invade non-profit think-thanks, politicians would try to make some of them work to their advantages or cry discrimination. Of course we will be taken to task to define Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa/Fulani since only a granny came from Atlantis. Well, Nigerians are known not only for defeating the system but for corrupting it. We already know that bigmanism or excessive profit is our greatest weakness; so think-tanks members that suddenly become rich must step down.
We have to be careful so that these think-tanks are not mistaken for communists’ workers or capitalist serfs. They must be locally regulated and adapted to each cause. Nevertheless, there must be some connection to compare notes from region to region so that they can stay to their root causes and prevent take-over by political parties. As they would see themselves as sisters and brothers across the Nation, they may become more tolerant, comfortable and share causes.
It will be pure folly to think that some members of jumbo ethnic groups will lie down and let “ethnic starlets” walk all over them in competition for leadership. All we are saying is if you have perpetually failed, for God’s sake let others try. If you have any contribution to make, pass it on. We all know those noble men and women in our villages that never had a chance to contribute because of the glorification of money. It is past time we woke them up to become a think-tank member. Their expertise must not be wasted. Oya now!
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