The former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), insisted that the time has come for Nigerian youths to push forward the unifying “Naija spirit” as a vehicle to achieve the desired paradigm shift that can guarantee a change from ineffectual leadership to a purpose-driven governance structure in the country.
Chidoka, who spoke at the 2021 Law Symposium of the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State on Monday, 24 May, 2021 drew a parallel between Nigeria as a nation and the concept of “Naija”, and posited that Nigeria will not realize its potentials unless the youths reengage to infuse the spirit of “Naija” in the Nigerian approach to governance.
“The time is now to Unlock Naija; to infuse the spirit of Naija in Nigeria. The youths must reengage with the country Nigeria to enable a change from progressive decline. They must use their population to elect a new leadership inspired by Naija to dismantle the constricting hold of the Nigerian State over its citizens” Chidoka stressed.
Chidoka, who spoke on the theme ‘Promoting Social Justice, National Unity and Development’, told the students that the current poor leadership across the various tiers of government has led to the emergence of two Nigerias; Naija and Nigeria.
According to him, “Nigeria the country is now dying due to a convergence of issues that has marked it as moribund, being plagued with a leadership system that is progressively producing poor outcomes in all areas of governance.
“Rising and unsustainable population growth has led to a youth bulge worsening the unemployment debacle; a collapsing educational system, a sad reminder of the continuous lowering of standards that the quota system has enabled and a national bureaucracy that has become a national albatross where the federal character has blunted the edges of our national institutions.
“This is Nigeria the country, where efforts at National unity through the creation of institutions like the National Youth Service Corps, Federal Government Colleges, quota system, educationally disadvantaged states and zoning have all failed to produce the desired national unity.
“On the other hand, we have Naija, a corruption of the name Nigeria that has developed a life of its own. Naija is that space where we unleash youth creativity, and government meddlesomeness is absent. It is that space where there is no quota system, no federal character and no rotation. Naija is the country we don’t have. Naija unlocks our potentials and spreads it globally.
“The difference between Nigeria and Naija is widening every day. Nigerian youths are disconnected emotionally from the country. Nigerian firms like Paystack, Flutterwave, Kobo 360 are growing in the Naija space raising money from global investors and innovating continuously.
“Where Nigeria stifles, Naija liberates. Where Nigeria obstructs, Naija supports. Nigeria is moribund, Naija is creative. Time is now to Unlock Naija; to infuse the spirit of Naija in Nigeria. The youths must reengage with the country Nigeria to enable a change from progressive decline. They must use their population to elect a new leadership inspired by Naija to dismantle the constricting hold of the Nigerian State over its citizens”, Chidoka stated.
The former aviation minister also stressed that Nigeria as a country would continue to slide backwards among the comity of nations except the productive energies of the citizens are properly harnessed and channeled for national growth and stability and in such a manner that the masses begin to hold current government officials accountable