It’s 2am and I’ve never caught myself so drained and saddened by what I see Nigeria gradually decaying into. When I close my eyes, I see the Nigeria of my dream, the Nigeria where candle lights are remembered only as instruments for romantic dinners and not alternative sources of light, a Nigeria where my son grows up not to know what a generator is. A Nigeria where even when it rains, we know when we are at the beach and when we are on the road. When I close my eyes I see the most desirable nation on earth, but these days, that it’s 2am and my eyes are still open, the realities that my eyes see in the 20 plus hours that I am awake are making it difficult to hold the dream of less than 4 hours.
My clarion call goes to all able bodied Nigerians above the age of 18! My clarion call goes to the criminally silent enlightened elites! My call goes to the spiritual leaders who exist as islands of prosperity in a poverty stricken country! My call beackons to churches who find nothing missing in the rate at which manufacturing companies are closing to provide them with warehouses to store the hopeful souls of irresponsible citizens! My call goes to all who are comfortable in Nigeria, who have done well for themselves and don’t think long enough to know that the society that is unelightened will ultimately burn their houses. My call goes to you and I, who have been more accustomed to talking than doing, who have lofty ideas, puritan ideals and score woefully in political participation. My clarion call goes to all who think themselves too clean, too sacred, too neutral or too important to be involved in the polity of our nation. My call goes to you in diaspora, you who know the answers but remain dislocated from the questions! My call goes to all of you, we need all of you. We are bashed as a nation, buttered with shame on both sides, but our ego is intact and incorruptible. We’ve been too proud to beg, I beg you all, let’s come to our rescue, before this titanic collides with the sure iceberg ahead and doubtless sinks!
Let’s be clear about one thing, Nigeria has gone from manageable to bad, to worse, to worst and is fast approaching an opportunity for English language to create further superlatives. We are in a free fall, and except we do more than business as usual, all the kings men and horses will not be able to put our country-dumpty together again! It is good that we have done more than talk, at least we have been involved in Charity work – helping stranded patients, giving to orphanages, helping the oppressed and the perishing. At least we have been involved in sponsoring bright but financially challenged students, oh we have been involved in community development, enlightenment, re-orientation, e.t.c. We’ve gone to secondary schools, tertiary insitutions and churches. In the places where the minds need to be reoriented, we’ve been there more than any minister of information since we can remember. So trust me when I say to you, this is NOT ENOUGH. this is scratching the leaves to cure the root, it’s not working, it will not work!
What will work you ask me? MORE, I respond without thinking! Before I tell you more of what however, let’s have a look at some of the current icebergs contesting our sourjourn currently.
1. Niger Delta!
Head Lines – a. Militants handsomely renumerated, almost at par with Senators. b. Petroleum Minister completely disconnected from national issues – pends Petroleum Training Institute to upgrade Kaduna College of Petroleum. c. Kogbara – The only Niger Delta in the Rilwan Lukman led Oil and Gas Implementation committee, resigns.
The Niger Delta is asking for the same thing all Nigerians should be asking for – True Federalism. MEND and PRONACO have the same objectives, but different means. If the MEND approach seems to be working, what is the nation requesting for? Is the goverment losing control?
2. Northern Killings
For the first time since I can remember in Nigeria, Islamic fundamentalists in the Nortlh are not fighting christians, but fighting the government. They are killing and being killed because they believe that the country (or their part of the country) should be islamised with stricter laws. In a news article summary of their activities, they simply want to take over the Federal Government. They are tired, and going for it. Even though their objectives do not serve the greater Nigeria, at least they have an Agenda they are implementing. Do you and I? With over 300 people dead, is the government in control?
3. Teachers’ Strikes
For the first time since I have also been aware of it, ASUU is staying of work for a just course. It’s no longer the selfish manipulations of the government by lecturers for salary increases, it’s negotiating a bigger investment into education. ASUU is asking the government to investing in educating the minds rather than providing amnesty for them when they have become irreparably damaged. ASUU is questioning why Reps and Senators get to earn more than $2,000,000
The case of the Kogi teachers is also troubling. The students became teacherless 6months ahead of WAEC and the teachers gave them the opportunity of sitting for it. Last year, 13% of students passed WAEC with credit in maths and english and 3 other subjects. What will this year be? These warehoused generation of students caught in the no man’s land of between Secondary Schools and Universities, there older ones trapped in between NYSC and getting a Job, and the many who are trapped within the tertiary institutions without really being there. With these many frustrated, and unhappy youths, and a country that pays so well for militancy, can we say the Government is in Control?
4. Lingering Darkness
Just last week, TELL Magazine featured Nigeria as the Darkest nation on earth! That’s ahead of Somalia, Zimbabwe our leaders in Failed State Status. Manufacturing company’s are working at 4% of their capacities, In a country where having light is a miracle, can we truly say that things are in control?
In the light of these icebergs and many more lined up ahead. We need to do much more than we have ever done. It’s time to put our hands on the plough and not look back. It’s either we take ourselves and our chidren out of the country today and relocate them to Ghana while we still can, or we stay around and be useful. If we do nothing, our children will meet nothing! If this nation fails further, in a few years, many of us may begin to seek refugee status in other countries. Our lack of sufficient points in refugee status seeking is what is keeping us as not worse than 15th on the table of failed states. We are all involved in politics, many of us have voted with our silence, and most of us have offered our silence as tools to people who have an agenda for this country. Silent or Loud, we are all involved in decision making in this country, not making a decision is a decision, and politics is how decisions are made.
Here are a few things we must begin to do.
1. Daily Political Round Tables: Accross the nation and the world, small cells of 10 people must begin to form that will have daily political round tables and turn ideas together on what to do to save our Nation. These groups must grow and break in the same way that our body cells divide to give us growth. Talk doesn’t solve it, but it all starts with thoughts, moves to words and then action is birthed. This is the same fomular the world was created with. It’s the same format that Martin Luther King Jr used. Small groups of people must engage in daily demanding discussions about our history, about how future and about next steps. These are the birthing place of ideologies. We need to get all our discussions in sync and regularly be updated about concepts and strategies from all sides. We will coordinate this from Lagos. The future movment site, www.thefuturemovement.org/register will also house a forum soon so discussions can happen online for those who are physically incapable of meeting currently. If you are intersted in leading any of the roundtables around the nation and world, please reach out to us from here. We are starting off from my office in Lagos, 5:30pm daily for anyone on mainland. We have also secured a venue for the Island, Leaders Needed. There is also a place in Ibadan, Leaders needed.
2. Weekly Political Congresses: Once a week we need to pull a bigger conference where we share ideas, and share progress. Martin Luther King Jr. had a church that served this purpose. He lamented bitterly about churches around becoming irrelevant social clubs. We need to gather weekly some of us constantly, some of us frequently. It also needs to be sustainable. I’m proposing 4pm on Sundays.
3. Forthnight Press Conferences: We must constantly be heard. Silence is Criminal, and those who will have no part in our future are irrelevant. Our constant public expression will release us from the possibilities of resulting to violence.
4. Monthly Rallies and Freedom Walks: We must gather together monthly per state and once in 3 months as a nation do do a match, a rally or simply a conference where we again review and deliver our objectives for the next period. We cannot kid ourselves that we have time, being surrounded with enemies of national progress that are satisfied with our current deplorable state. Our collective enemies are those who prefer to take care of theirs and not ours. Don’t decieve yourself, we are our greatest enemies.
When you do not know the details of what happened before you, you are forever a child. We must learn from the past and be free to live in the future. We must decide today if we are better off relocating of if our staying can add value! We need to mobilize people and funds as we go, we do not have the luxury of time.
I have to stop before I write an article too long to be understood. I’ll be back!