‘Nigeria needs visions with clear roadmaps’

Counter terrorism and strategic thinking expert Ladi Thompson spoke with Sunday Oguntola on how terrorism and rising ethnic agitations for autonomy can be tackled in a win-win manner. Excerpts:

How do you assess the state of the nation?

We can see that Nigeria has finally arrived at the thresholds of its finest hour. If we could think straight and get things right, we will realise that we are at better position than most nations of the world. We will ride on global storms and emerge true champions, not only in Africa but become key players on the globe

If we look careful at the chaotic dissonance, the explosions, the loud noises across our nation now, all these things are just symptoms. They are nothing but the death traps of an old order. If Nigerians will just take a breath and step back to take steps, we would realise that the happenings are not local but global affairs.

There is a wind of change blowing across the entire globe. Anything manufactured by man has an expiry date, whether it is on governmental or individual side. There are certain aspects of our national inheritance that have ended.

Our railway track has reached the end and we need a new set of people who know what to do to move all that tracks to a particular direction.

So, Nigeria needs a new direction?

That’s the point I am driving at. The problem of Nigeria is that we have this fire brigade approach to understanding where we should go and how to get there. We must look at the present and realize this is the final chapter of Nigeria as we used to know it.

As important as one’s future is, it does not have to appear in one’s past. The best place one’s future can come out from is through inspiration, not from the past. In fact, if we are wise, we need to help everybody to stop looking at the past.

The main reason people are looking at the past is because we are yet to understand what it is to have a charismatic government or leadership that understands the only way to process a future is by locating a vision for the future.

You mean a national vision?

Yes, a national vision. You will realise there is nothing Nigerians are looking forward to. This country has been running on visionless hope. We need to change that narrative. What do visions do? Visions take you out of today and locate you into a tomorrow.

For instance, if we had vision, we would have shared it with Niger Delta youths to address the restiveness there now. We meet them and let them know we acknowledge we take resources out of their region but in the next five years, we should let them know what they stand to gain in return. That will give them hope and tackle restlessness among them.

There have to be people who could rethink and look into the future. Like I said, we need to first look at the global settings because the fire brigade approach will never work.

What is the global setting saying?

We must know first of all the reason why we must take the global setting very important is that average Nigerian is a potential leader, unlike most other countries. And I can tell you God created them like that for a purpose.

Look at the global setting and you will realise everything manufactured by man has an expiry date. The western civilisation was a dominant standard in global affairs. It was armed with the advantages of vast technology and democratic effects, which they developed from Greek roots.

So, they championed the model of life based on rational thinking and pursuit of personal pleasure. Science soundly defeated metaphysical and theological worldviews. Because of scientific advancement, theological views had to take back seats. In the western world, religion has been relegated to the back seat.

Now they enjoyed that until another flavor of civilisation nurtured in the Middle East threw up a violent streak that demanded absolute surrender as an alternative to the western glory of civilisation. They presented the metaphysical basis of belief with a total disdain for the scientific.

What we call the Boko Haram is a local face of that global insurgence and what it is doing is to challenge the old order. Nobody expected it but they have been nurtured and been brought up for a while. It has created a new type of war devoid of any rules of engagement. It has no borders and the armies don’t wear uniforms.

In short, the western world has never seen this kind of thing before and don’t have any capacity to handle it. Now this situation can never be pushed away. It is waiting for a solution and fresh paradigm shift. It is waiting for fresh thinking, which can come from anywhere in the world.

Once that fresh thinking arrives, even the western world will realise the old world where it could differentiate religion from state is gone forever. It is just a matter of time. There is a new world emerging where we are going to have a marriage of religion with state.

There is a raging war between what came out from the Middle East and what the west has been accommodating. That actually is a global situation. In the future of the globe, once these things change, it is going to affect economies. It is going to affect national borders passport. Everything will change after it.

Technology has come to stay but what is happening in the world has clearly shown it has its limitation. The insights that lead to this change in the globe has decided to teach the western world that there is an invisible world that gives instructions to men. It is discovery that is shaking the entire world.

There is an engineering in the inside fighting the engineering on the outside and the engineering focuses on the outside in the long run. Stomachs filled with pleasant health cannot win against empty stomachs with firing hearts. There has to be a compromised solution coming that the whole globe can buy into.

How do these affect Nigeria?

When Nigeria was born, it was born to be the giant of Africa. It was born with the potentials to be a leader of Africa. What happens to Nigeria is that we have not added to that tracks created by the colonials since helping us to start Nigeria. We have been following only a few ideas we borrow from here and there.

We have a generation that is not willing to embrace the tracks again. The cries of liberty have been coming from them. The economy has gone down. They have realised what is on ground is not working. They average Nigerian looks into the future and sees nothing.

By reflexes, anyone that cannot look into a vision goes back into the revisions. So those who saw the early days of Biafra are turning back to look for the future in the past. The Dan Fodio jihadists won by the global resurgence are simply still hoping that there can be another Fulani uprising where some Fulani will finally rule Nigeria.

It is a bad dream that can never happen. In the south south, the Niger Delta agitators are nurturing certain dreams of what life was before oil exploration. The challenge is Nigeria needs to get its leadership back now.


The present leadership is coming to buy time for Nigeria. It came on a salvage and rescue mission. The salvage and rescue has been done. So, if they say that’s what they use their first year to do, I don’t mind. But there are certain things we are expecting right now.

Nigeria needs to go and learn lessons from Dubai. Dubai used to be a sleeping village of fishermen who were core divers in the Arab world. That was until a man came on board.  He looked at the entire village and saw into the future. He made a few statements available in books for Nigerian leaders and special advisers to learn from.

The bottom line is to stop chasing other civilisations, especially when they are busy with their own problems. Instead go into the future and set a bigger standard.  Create your vision around that and go after it. That is what Nigeria needs now.

There is the use of visions to create something everybody in Nigeria can relate with. The power of visions is visions are engaging and transform into a tomorrow. Visions make one resilient.

What you have seen in the tomorrow is what makes you know that we can gain today. Now a change agenda that has no vision, a change agenda that has no direction of change, a pre-determined pace of change is a counterfeit.

It is a like a man waking up in the morning with no destination. Nobody is going to make sacrifice in that kind of situation. As a matter fact, it is well recognised all over the world that wherever there is not vision, the people will rebel; they throw off restraints.

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