The bottom line is all that really matters

Bridging the Divide, from Talk to Action

The bottom line is all that really matters

Published on Sat, Jan 26 2013 by Pikin-In-Chief
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.
- Bob Marley
The prism through which we look at issues matter. It matters a great deal.
Some approach issues from a Right-Wrong perspective. Some from an All or Nothing. Yet, others from a Us or Them frame of mind. Needless to say, such black and white approaches leave little room for cooperation; no middle ground to bridge the different poles of issues. The result is the same every time: inhibit adoption of practical solutions and consequently, preservation of the status quo.
There is a way out of this quandary. It starts with a reframing of our starting and operating assumptions. Let's adopt a new prism for looking at our issues. One I like is the bottom-line analysis.
The bottom-line analysis is simple enough and easy to apply. It's basically asking, when all is said and done, what is the reality of the issue at hand. This conclusion is the bottom line. Correctly articulating the bottom line of any issue helps to identify the most practical, effective course of action. With this approach, decision making is infinitely more intelligent and less prone to biased induced irrationality.
For example, let's examine the current calls for Nigeria to breakup. Many supporters of this view have some rather reasonable points in their favor. These include for example the historical legacy of the formation of the Republic from disparate independent Kingdoms. This camp will be quick to point out that due to this origin, the concept of Nigeria as one Republic is seriously flawed. That the amalgamated people of the "Niger Area" simply do not feel or owe any real allegiance to this entity that we now call Nigeria. And that this is a significant part of our problems today, hindering the natural participation by the People in their own government and polity. They are right, to a point.
However, when we apply the bottom-line analysis to these views, the question arises: what would we actually get from a breakup of the Union that we don't already have today? And what will be the cost of this breakup to the People? The answer to the former is nothing, while the answer to the later is a very costly civil war!
The cost required to execute this proposal is easy to understand and calculate. Nigeria is a country with oil resources located disproportionately in one part of the country. A breakup will leave the people in regions without oil, the majority, with no comparable significant revenue source. These regions will naturally be opposed to the breakup, enough to go to war over it. This is an historical fact, a cost we've paid once and most likely will be ready to pay again.
The stated benefits of this proposal, in my view, can be easily substantiated too. Granted, the people of these new independent political entities will get new names to build new national identities around, possibly bolstered along historical ethnic ties. However, this is less significant today in 2013, than perhaps it may have been in 1963. Particularly, if we consider that over the years, Nigeria has re-organized politically numerous times. We now have 36 states and 774 local government areas, up from 3-4 regions ( equivalent to states ) from 1960-1967 era.
For example, Akwa-Ibom State was carved out of Cross-River in 1987. Even as recently as 1996, the oil-rich Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State. And the list goes on. If these newly independent political entities had actually exhibited more stability, growth and efficiency than the rest of the country, we may extend credence to the idea that redrawing the political map is a real solution to the our problems. However, this is factually not the case. In fact, these new political actors are just as badly managed as the rest of the Republic. Our problems, it will seem, are the only uniquely uniting aspect of our Republic.
In the words of Philip Shaibu, the Majority Leader for Edo State House of Assembly,
When people are clamouring for state and local government creation I laugh because any state that cannot within its resources provide infrastructure, pay salaries, take care of all its liabilities without external funding is not viable and because that state is not viable it is not fit to become a state. 
I say well said! So,
In light of this reality, the bottom line is that a political breakup is not the solution to our problems. It matters not how much we would prefer our own independent sectarian identities, how much fuzzy feelings of ethnic and/or personal pride and achievement we stand to derive from it. At the end of the day, the bottom line is each newly independent region will continue to have the same issues of political corruption, and all its attending cousins as their regional peers.
The bottom line is also that despite numerous change of guards over the years, from civilian to military administrations and back, our problems have not changed significantly. Our problems in today's Fourth Republic remain largely what it was 50 years ago. Corruption, infrastructure, social inequalities, injustices, sectarian and religious driven violence.
So the answer to our problems must be found in something else. 
We must accept now that political entities exists purely for the benefit of the People. Nigeria exists purely for our benefit. The price of bringing it to life, and keeping it alive is paid in full. We do not need to spend any more capital in creating new political actors to replace it.
What we do need to do is move on to the greater task of creating a viable culture, society and state. Our never evolving problems are clear indicators of our general inability to work together to achieve significant progress for our People. Failures in our Leadership is a reflection of the failures of the Character of the People.
We the People, need to adopt and promote a new mantra of cooperation and support for all things Nigerian. We need to adopt and learn how to work together. Only then will we see a new generation of leaders that also puts the Country and the People first. Only then would we be able to enjoy immense benefits and pride of a Nation.
It's time to start believing in Nigeria and our ability to demand and achieve a Great State and a Great Society. We can do this only by working passionately together, on all levels, small and large, to address all our issues.
At NaijaPikin, we believe that the answer is in individual participation, the resurgence of a real commitment by each of us to our Collective Self. 
Our individual contribution at the grassroots is needed to engender, encourage, and embolden the next generations to adopt a sense of shared ownership and pride in our society, and our current hugely convenient political organization.
Your individual participation matters tremendously, for what it can achieve today and even more so for what it can foster tomorrow.
At NaijaPikin, we believe in empowering NaijaPikins working together by providing FREE tools to collaborate and engage. Whatever your passion, whatever your mission, we aim to help you succeed at it. So join us today, see how and where you too can make a difference!

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