Published on January 6th, 2011 | by Olumide5
Land of Paradoxes
Did I ever tell you that I’m incurably Nigerian? That’s right. I don’t intend to change my citizenship. Here’s why:
Where else in the world is it possible to be so sad and yet so happy, so troubled and yet sleep so soundly? Where else do people suffer and smile as my dear country people do?
Where is it possible for lawmakers to earn in months, what a high ranking civil servant would earn in a lifetime? But then, someone challenges the legislators and they reply by informing us that the Executive is even more financially reckless than they are. So by the time you factor in the grossly over-priced contracts the ruling class usually allocates among themselves, you will discover that it is indeed true in Nigeria: 1 percent of the people spend 99 percent of the money!
Where else would a state governor have his own army of thugs who unleash terror on his opponents and kill based on his whims and caprices? It is so laughable that when finally this assassin is killed while doing the dirty work of his boss, the state police swings into action and prosecutes the ‘killer’ who is very conveniently an opponent of the governor. Are you asking what the police was doing when the assassin was the one doing the killings in broad daylight? I would rather ask what the president of the country is doing. He is so wonderfully enlisting the support of such governors to further his election bid. Let’s have it in mind that this particular ‘Éxcellency’ holds several distinguished records: one for being a governor after dismissal from the police force, another for ousting his boss and successfully backstabbing him, yet another for being the leading Nigerian male in the use of beauty products and skin-toning creams…
Let me give you a few more. In what country are big thieves rewarded with chieftaincy titles while small thieves are sent to jail? In what country are national assets such as the Power Holding Corporation such a huge joke and gross failure? In what country do you meet graduates who cannot even communicate in English- and they are supposed to have studied in it for at least 16 years? In what country do the police stand on the road and demand for bribes in plain language in front of everybody, and they can arrest you for not giving it! Or where else do policemen automatically decide that you are into internet fraud simply because you own a laptop and drive a nice car?
Don’t be mistaken. My aim is not to embarrass Nigeria or make you feel bad about what we’ve been putting up with. My aim is to sensitize us to the task that lies ahead and what we have to do.
In George Orwell’s classic story, Animal Farm, the animals were displeased with the rule of mankind. They revolted and got their freedom. Their constitution was based on 7 commandments, the underlying principle being that all animals were equal. But the story gradually evolved as certain changes started taking place. The more educated animals- the pigs- systematically changed the constitution. The self imposed leader, Napoleon, soon began to rule with force, guarded by an army of fierce dogs. ‘All animals are equal’ became ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal than others’. The story ends with the younger animals (who hadn’t been born before the revolution) realizing that they had always lived in hardship while the older ones realized that even though they had always tried to believe that they were happier under ‘self-rule’, they had actually been deceiving themselves. Their animal leaders had been every inch as bad as the human dictators.
From Animal Farm, I see some things we must do in order to save the situation:
1. Education: those with knowledge will often cheat those without it or use them as gullible tools to achieve their evil desires. Without meaning to be disparaging to any group, a lot of that happens in the Northern part of Nigeria. For Nigeria to develop as a nation, we need education and national orientation. I see that work falling more on churches, mosques and traditional leaders. The media also has a huge role to play. The average citizen should know his rights and responsibilities and what to expect from its government.
2. Influential people should be ready to challenge power players. I love what Pastor Bakare is doing. I think we need more people like him. Let’s be ready to speak out when something is wrong. I am not a fan of Lamido Sanusi, the CBN governor, but I will always respect him for speaking against the legislators and standing his ground.
3. Prayers: I love being pragmatic but honestly, we need prayers in Nigeria. Here’s why: The real solution to our problems is a revolution. I love peace and would never support or incite murder. That is why I see the need for prayers, because for Nigeria to change, some people must either die or be imprisoned. The same people who made things so bad want to stay in power! Even God knew that the ‘Egypt generation’ of the Israelites could not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So he allowed them all (except two) to die in the wilderness.
The 2011 elections may be the breaking or making point for Nigeria. Let’s join hands to make it work. You can start by educating all those around you on the need to vote. There is a great Facebook Group Deolu Akinyemi added me to (it’s known as Political: Game Changers). You can reply to this post if you want me to add you to it (I’ve not gotten the direct Facebook URL). This is the time to aggregate our voices and demand for change. Whether it’s on Facebook, our blogs, newspapers, TV or radio, we cannot continue this way. We need change!
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