Published on January 16th, 2012 | by Olumide6
The Emergence of a New Nigeria
The last few days have given me reasons for hope. Nigerians have finally begun asking the right questions! We have also proven that we are not too docile for change. Nigerians have protested against corruption, bad governance and public waste.
I won’t pretend that we are close to winning the battle. But within the past few days, millions of Nigerians have protested. Hundreds of thousands have gathered at Ojota, Lagos (and many other places), and demonstrated without resorting to violence! In the past few days, we have seen Muslims protecting Christians in their churches and even attending church services as a sign of solidarity. We have also seen Christians standing guard as Muslims observed their prayers. We’ve seen an amazing and unprecedented unity in the country as people came out regardless of their tribes (although some in power tried inciting tribalism). We’ve seen young people channel their frustrations into music and fun. We have seen intelligent arguments that would surprise the world’s best. When I was interviewed by CNN’s Faith Muthoni Karimi, one of her closing comments was “you are very well spoken for your age.” I responded by saying “I’m a graduate- I should be well spoken”. In reality, I was actually stunned at the information I had at my disposal.
I once wanted Nigeria to be split. Now, I don’t. It is true that there are religious extremists and tribal bigots. It is also true that there are corrupt cabals feeding fat on the largely poor population. But an often less-emphasized truth is that Nigeria is a nation with happy people. Nigerians are hardworking, life-loving and very happy. From what I saw about the Ojota protests, Nigerians would sing and dance even at the brink of war because deep down, there is an undying hope for a greater tomorrow.
I see a new Nigeria. One in which our diversity would be a strength and not a weakness. I see a country with leaders who would lead with the fear of God and according to the rule of law. I see a time when our numerous potentials would be properly harnessed and channeled towards national growth. I see a time when we would be proud to carry our green passports and announce that we are from Nigeria. I see a time when fraud will cease to be our national trademark. I see a time when terrorism will cease.
We are far away from the Nigeria of our dreams. But we will get there. The road may be rough and long. It might be painful and filled with discouraging events. But we WILL get there.
I commend everyone who took a stance in the past few days. Occupy Nigeria has renewed my sense of pride in Nigeria. People like @gbengasesan, @utomiPat, @elrufai, @omojuwa, @ogundamisi, @rosanwo and @omojuwa have been great both in the world of Twitter and in real life. To the people of influence who watched the nation burn but kept quiet, I would like to remind them of the famous words of Martin Luther King (Jnr): “In the end, we shall remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”. Nigerians were betrayed not by Labour but by those who kept quiet. To the people who were sincerely in support of the government’s actions, I appreciate you. The beauty of life is that we don’t always have to agree. To those who were paid to be on either side, I have no words for you.
Nigeria will be great. It is inevitable!