Nigeria is at a crossroads in its existence. Since its independence, its fortunes have continued to decline with attendant negative impacts on the lives of the citizenry. Over forty decades of visionless leadership and endemic corruption has worsened the standard of living of Nigerians and cast the country towards an uncertain and perilous future going by the current trajectory of events. Agitations from all sections of the country seem to be reaching fever pitch coupled with the worsening economic situation and abject human development indicators.
This situation threatens whatever progress has been made over the years in building national cohesion, maintaining political stability, the emergence of the middle class, and sustaining economic development. The 2015 General Elections seemed like a watershed moment in Nigeria’s history with the ousting of the incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government, which had been in power for the last sixteen years, by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). However, a candid assessment of the performance of the APC-led government after two years in power reinforces concerns about the existential threat to Nigeria given the continued failures of the political elite in Nigeria. The current economic recession, unabated extra-judicial killings by Herdsmen, ethnic conflagrations, rising cases of kidnap and armed robbery, nepotism, and lack of social justice all paint a sorry picture of the state of the nation. The lack of fairness and social justice -the fundamental tenets of any sustainable democracy- which has pervaded successive administrations remains a serious challenge for policy, even under present circumstances.
For one, sectional agitations trace their origins to the lack of social justice as people do not share in the Nigeria blueprint, especially in its current maladjusted form. It is against this backdrop of recent events in the policy that a group of like-minded and reform-minded individuals came together to brainstorm on practical solutions to salvage Nigeria from its gradual descent into anarchy. Successive deliberations of this group gave birth to the “Revive Nigeria Group (RNG)”. The RNG is a movement for true, purposeful and participatory change in Nigeria. At its liberal core is the need to identify and implement sustainable solutions to the diverse challenges plaguing inclusive growth and development in the country. It will create a structure for professionals -with the leadership credentials and know-how- to participate in politics. This movement leverages on existing political party structures to effect the change desired.
RNG believes that having people who share its values and ideology actively involved in political governance is critical to reclaiming Nigeria’s lost glory. During the RNG inception meeting held on March 17, 2016, in Abuja, several issues were highlighted as fundamental to the mission of this group.
However, ‘national identity’ emerged as a critical and fundamental concern as it forms the basis for building national cohesion and achieving sustainable socio-economic development. Although national identity is a core issue to be addressed by the RNG, this concept paper presents a preamble for the operationalization of the group including its nomenclature with respect to supporting much needed socio-political and socio-economic reforms. Given the multifaceted nature of Nigeria’s challenges, this document attempts to lay the framework for narrowing the scope of this group so that it targets the most critical challenges in a productive and impactful manner. Essentially, its contents should form the framework for developing a detailed roadmap for formalizing the activities of the group.