Sunny Okosun in his gospel of ozzidism popularized the slogan “Which Way Nigeria?”. In his musical album, Okosun was apparently miffed and puffed by the sluggish pace of development of Nigeria in the then thirty-year post independent. Corruption, ethnicity, religious intolerance, decay in social amenities et al in a protracted imbroglio tended to defy immediate foreseeable disentanglements. These led Okosun from the womb of his creative pundits, to sing ‘Which Way Nigeria?’ Nigerians quickly identified with the ozzidism gospel, the song went viral across the land! Okosun has, like the artist he was; a harbinger of the people’s ethos pricked on the conscience of Nigerians lending them a voice of sympathy and empathy, over a predicament of common concern. Perhaps Okosun died out of disillusionment over the very brazen and uncanny conducts of governance by leaders who tended to pull the wheels of the nation’s progress out of the turbulent vehicle.
Unlike in Okosun’s song which merely wailed and beckoned in desperate abandon: “Let’s save Nigeria so that Nigeria won’t die…”, without marshaling out the possible ways of salvaging the situation, Victor Udo’s book is bold and packs with it clear, practical ways to tackle these evil conspirators of our collective and corporate existence. That’s where the strength of the book lies. With the model he explains as “Comprehensive Sustainable Development Planning and Implementation (CSDPI) praxis, Udo submits that Nigeria’s structural, leadership and development challenges can finally be overcome.
Chapters five, six and seven of this book are exciting as the author is painstaking in the comprehensive discourse of the strength cum stamina of CSDPI to bail the country out of the protracted years of growth-dwarf and progress stunt.
At the present 36 state structural level, CSDPI will be less complicated and complex since there is relative homogeneity at this level of governance. Every state has a majority culture that can be leveraged for democratic consensus. With such leverage, CSDPI praxis can help to drive towards an emergent stable structure, good governance and infrastructure management from the LGAs to the state and to national.
The book which is a must read by anyone concerned about the corporate existence of Nigeria, chronicles Nigeria’s journey from creation by amalgamation to its present state. It has lessons from geography and teachings from history, politics, economy and development. It is an X-ray of a kind; a sort of broadsheet of Nigeria as a case study. The problems are identified and solutions are proffered. Something very canonical lends credence to the book as found in chapters 2 and 3 where the author examines the different regimes of governance in the country – both the good and bad, success and failures, of each administration, are identified. The arguments put forward in the book, the principles to be followed and the models to be applied, are ultimately geared towards equitable sustainable development of Nigeria. How else would an author be patriotic? This book dictates the pulse of a true patriot and makes recommendations that if followed and applied, can birth patriots. Written in an accessible language, the target is for readers to gain quick comprehension, absorption and application. That makes the author a considerate, reader-friendly person. Indeed, the issues under discourse dictated the tone and verve of the language so that anyone who reads the book, would with minimum education, enjoy the ease of flow, fluency and carriage. For that reason, “Which Way Nigeria” recommends itself to readership across secondary and tertiary institutions.
While the book is well filled in citizenship subjects for the secondary schools, Nigerian universities would do well in slotting the book into the general studies syllabus for the very promising qualitative indices of citizenship, governance and developmental discourses within the matrix of the book’s benchmark.
Policy makers and civil servants cannot neglect a book like this one, as it dares to tackle the slippery subjects of the nation’s leadership, structural and developmental challenges. The book is a must read for the general public especially patriots who through what the author calls “Operative Citizenship” will drive CSDPI praxis to hold leaders accountable for results.