By Hafsat Abiola-Costello
“As Nigeria goes, so goes Africa.”
That was what United States President Barack Obama told President Muhammadu Buhari when they met in July.
Powerful words from the world’s most powerful man. Now it’s time for deeds, not words.
So, where do we stand at the moment? There are about 169 million of us, and over half of us are under the age of 18. Among those young people are the next generation of leaders in our country. We’re at a crossroads. Our choices today could give them a head start, or condemn them to falling badly behind in a globalised world even though we are now officially the country with the biggest economy in Africa. It’s up to us.
Here’s some good news. After hard-fought elections, for the first time in Nigeria’s history we have been able to demonstrate that votes do count.
The new government has come into office just as the world prepares to agree on the next set of global development goals and as we take stock of how the Millennium Goals worked out in practice. The new goals will give us (and the rest of the world) a framework to work together to tackle problems that Nigeria could never tackle on its own.
Global goals are all very well, as are the apparent intentions of national governments. But we all know that words alone are not enough to guarantee positive change. The hard work starts now. Anyone who wants to see tangible results from promises made in the euphoria of election campaigns and global summits needs to get involved.
Now for the bad news. Let’s be honest. Nigeria excels in its ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just think of Chinua Achebe’s essay, written at the time of our independence. It described the Nigerian man walking to catch the bus in London, dressed in his grand traditional robes as if he were going to meet the Queen. Our people were doing their dress rehearsal for greatness when we lurched into a civil war in which we lost at least a million lives and fractured the fragile trust between ethnic groups.
Then we went through a series of regime changes while the economy lurched from bad to worse. I am convinced that we may be looking at our last chance to stop sleepwalking along the path of self-destruction we’ve been on for decades. It’s late in the day to get on track for a future worth having in a 21st century in which the pace of change globally is accelerating. But that doesn’t necessarily matter, if — and it’s a big if — we act now to steer our affairs onto the right course.
This is why I am involved in launching The Point. If we want to shape a new Nigeria in which people know what is happening and can get involved, then they need access to credible, balanced, objective reporting. That’s not negotiable in a modern democracy. Through unique, visual story telling and simple presentation, The Point is designed to fill this important gap in the pursuit of good governance and a better society.
Rarely do we get the kind of information and news we need and deserve. Instead, we are inundated with information, some true, some rumours, some blatant lies. From this mix, we are supposed to decipher for ourselves what is going on, and what needs to be done. No wonder most people are baffled and give up even pretending to understand the situation. Confusion is the mother of paralysis, after all.
We’re all busy people. That is why The Point is aiming to offer you, the readers, concise news and analysis to help you understand what’s happening, what it means and what you can do about it. We will sift through the massive overload of information to pinpoint what’s important. In journalism, words alone are not enough to guarantee positive change. The hard work starts now. Anyone who wants to see tangible results from promises made in the euphoria of election campaigns and global summits needs to get involved. there’s a nice expression for that sorting and sifting: they call it copy-tasting.
On this backpage, we have assembled some of the most outstanding public commentators to deal with critical national issues in line with the peculiar needs of our dear country Nigeria. People like Azubuike Ishiekwene, Mohammed Haruna, Dele Shobowale and Yemi Kolapo, known for their constructive but fearless pens and their ability to analyse complex concepts in straightforward terms and in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Here, we will help readers decode important stories by giving them the context they need to understand the point.
Of course, it’s easy to come up with ideas for a groundbreaking paper that wants to see transparency and accountability in government and help people to know where to channel their power for positive change. But a newspaper needs readers, and we need to know what you think about what we are trying to do. So, tell us what you think about this preview. What do you like about the paper? What don’t you like? Give us feedback, let us know what we can do together to make this Nigeria’s must-read news source.
Let’s make it happen!