Idegu Ojonugwa Shadrach is a Nigerian activist, journalist and author with dozens of published books across the genres of literature. His political articles have been published by foremost Nigerian newspapers and reputable international journals. His books have received globally distributions with accolades. His books have emerged bestselling and have been translated into major languages across the globe. In this interview with our correspondent, he bares his mind on state of the nation and the way forward.
What do you have to say on the current political circle in Nigeria?
Nigeria, the most populous nation and the giant of Africa has become a satirical stage among others due to progressive loss in democratic features. This is affecting everything in the nation. Invariably, security challenges, economic deflations, abuse of constitution, high rate of crime, bribery and corruption and host alike, have been used to describe and define the nation among its counterparts and to the regards, there is a high scale of international embarrassment as we have no singular point on transparency page.
To that, I am categorically agonized with the issues surrounding our democratic government – the outrageous decline in appropriational parameters in the three arms of government and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is a concern to all.
Hence, I want to see Nigeria in good condition. I am not the only one wishing to see this, but, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora. Note, we have a lot of intellectuals that could help curb these irregularities. Nigerians have no reason to leave everything to the government anymore.
Everyone must stand to risk our lives to save our dear nation as I do encourage all to contribute quota to growth and development, we always project. We all know what to do and we know how the politicians have abandoned affairs of citizens to pursue their interests, even currently that poor masses need them most.
We should just do it as the country belongs to us and our children. If we refuse to right the wrongs cultivated by our evil leaders, our children would suffer the way we are and we are not certain what the current situation would turn our children to. Therefore, a lot of reforms to make resolutions are needed in Nigeria now.
You always advocate for youth inclusion in government, why and how do you want it?
Yes. Seeing youth in government is one of the safest things that upholds a nation’s glory and enhances growth and development. So, by all means, the government should score high in having 50 per cent of the offices occupied by youth. I do mean, visionary and intelligent youth, that could identify and proffer solutions to problems of their fellow youth across the nation.
This would reduce rate of crime, which is among the biggest threats to national safety and growth. Appropriate reviews in employment to engage productive youth should follow in order to protect their talents and gifts from being used otherwise. Most importantly, youth should make themselves available for this by growing in reading books and articles that help getting leadership skills. Inclusively, most of my published political books and articles help get all it takes to make a good leader and follower.
What do you have to tell Nigerian politicians?
I have always advised politicians around me to embrace good leadership styles. I do tell them how making their doors open to poor masses at all times helps secure a political career than a habit of showcasing or coming around during electioneering period only.
Citizens are tired of political propaganda that happens every four years. Hence, electorate are duly concerned on records of touching lives and not cooked stories to be delivered during campaigns.
In a nutshell, politicians should make their resources available to citizens at all times, as that is one of the surest ways to win hearts of citizens. By developing leadership style, both the politicians and their supporters access and connect themselves with citizens to know their needs and to always try to provide such needs in order to maintain glory of democracy and to foster good governance. So, don’t wait till election period before visiting your people for their needs. It certainly brings suspense regarding electoral practices, which somehow damages electoral proceedings.
Do you think religion has a lot to do to standardize the nation?
Definitely, religion has a vital role to play in standardizing a political atmosphere in Nigeria. We have seen in the 2023 general election, how religion and ethnicity played for the leading presidential candidates. We know this. Besides, religion and politics are the leading defenders of societies. Nigeria is not left behind.
I don’t want to talk much on that. But, I would love to appeal to our religious leaders to be helpful to our dear Nigeria, henceforth. A lot of irregularities in the religious circles have plugged certain areas of the nation backwards. Religious leaders especially in Christianity should stop building churches and purchasing of luxurious materialism, but to use money on physically-challenged and less-privileged people; the Muslim circle, should do much in enlightening members on need to shun societies-of-negligence; and the traditional circle, should stop taking lives of innocent citizens in their enterprises. By doing these, we regulate manners of progress, peace and unity in our dear Nigeria.
What do you have to tell Nigerians?
I would love to encourage our well-meaning citizens to continue to work against negativity around us until we see a colourful Nigeria we ever need. We must continue to work with our good-mannered and unbiased human rights activists, journalists and other strong campaigners of rights and freedom of people to save our dear nation from evil leaders.
If we do this in the political and religious circles respectively, sooner than ever, we shall see our nation the way we do always wish.
Again, youth must get ready to take their place. Do it intelligently and with non-violence approach. Nigeria belongs to all of us and we must collectively work for its good as we want good for one another.