It had never happened before in the history of Nigeria, but it just happened, or was it a dream? The Electoral process this year was impossible to toy with, the nation was almost unanimous in it’s vote for a true leader. The voice of Nigerians was not muffled, it was loud and clear! The time for change had come, and even the weather bore witness with it’s stillness and calmness. A rainbow stained the skies, it was as if the divine supported us with a message of not forgetting. With the unity characteristic of Nigerians only in the support of our national team, Nigerians were united and with a landslide victory declared the end to the rule of recycled furniture (sorry I meant leadership) and substandard officers. The wind of change blowing all over the world, had made it’s way to Nigeria! The results had just been announced, and the people had been rewarded with a leader they could call theirs.
The government has not started to operate, it hasn’t been sworn in, but already the hope in the air is so thick it can be felt. The people are celebrating and excited! They say beginning is half done, it feels like it truly is. All our unsubstantiated proclamation of a New Nigeria now seem real, all our cries to be the most desirable seem no longer a pie in the sky. Our differences seem buried in a new vision to be a part of the new, and dissociate from the old. We score more airtime on foreign stations than even our own, the world is awed. The world seems as confident in our future as we are. It all seems amazing and like a dream. I cast my mind back and asked my self,”How did this happen, how did we do it, what did we do?” I remembered the faces, some names, some voices, one by one it all came back to me, I remembered the people that brought about this great change, and my heart was gladdened. It had taken us a few years, but alas! Here is how it all started.
Sometime in the last quarter of 2008, some kind of awakening started in the heart of Nigerians under 40. There was this drive to be responsible, and not just leave the fate and fortune of the nation Nigeria in the hands of people who wouldn’t live long enough for the future to matter to them. This awakening started in a few minds and hearts, and somehow some connections started to happen. Someone even wrote about what we now call the present in those days in present tense. Some of these young men and women, also had just learnt a vital lesson from the story of America, that impossible was nothing, and that if they were really willing, there was a lot possible. It started with a few small talks, a few emails, a few midnight conversations, a few talks, and gradually, it was muscled up into a group.
People started coming together, the agenda seemed the same, to wrestle the nation from the hands of those who had no purpose for it, and to deliver leadership that had the capacity to see the future and create it. Somehow, a vital team of people from the New Nigeria Club were already accustomed to the responsibility thinking, and formed the crop of founding members for this subtle, yet politically active group. It all started small and like a joke, we kidded ourselves that at least, we’ll gain a few things. We’ll gain the network of each other, we’ll gain excellent communication skills, and importantly we’ll gain the comfort in knowing that we tried. The kidding however did not last for long.
As if our activities were ordered by the hand of fate, we found ourselves asking ourselves for what the challenge to our success could be. We identified funding, mass mobilization of the youth and grassroot, a secured unriggable election, an intimidating media and a will to go on inspite of all possible odds. We discovered quickly that the fundamental resource was money, and that money answers a lot of challenges. We remembered that the the American president at the time, raised $640million for his campaign, out of which over $550million was from individuals. We decided to set up an auditable system, task ourselves and enlist the support of the public and believers in a New Nigeria to raise funds.
We did not know how far we would get, but the response from individuals and corporates was alarming. As our numbers grew, we developed the structures to support out growth and our mutual existence as well. We were up and about, youths, grassroot, women, minorities, we won their friendship and loyalty. We started getting wooed by different political parties, somehow we had established ourselves as a force to reckon with. What made us more formidable was that in the present dispensation we were not interested in being king, but in making kings.
The momentum built, and Nigeria was taken by storm!
As I ruminate over the events of today, and I place them on the backdrop of yesterday’s struggles, I feel fulfilled. We took responsibility, and now the responsibility of having a say in who gets the responsibility is ours!
The future is sure, but the actors are not. Now is the time for action, and whosoever wills may come. Are you interested in being a part of history? Then let’s enroll today… and gradually stirr along and grow into a force that will be reckoned with. standing outside the feild and running commentary would not affect the game, let’s get our jessys dirty, lets take responsibility today! Are you game?