I’m sure by now it’s no longer news, that a convoy of armed Navy men, maltreated a young lady by the name of Uzoma Okere. They beat her up and stripped her of her blouse, leaving her bra exposed on the streets in broad day light. This constitutes a breach of fundamental human rights, a lack of respect for human beings, and a national shame at the time when the world celebrates democracy.
There are some things within the events that have unveiled that I actually am happy with, and I want to take it up as a conscious effort we can make. Within 3 days, the media had responded, the matter had reached the senate, the Governor of Lagos had called her up and a lot seemed to be happening. It seems like it deserved to happen like that, but that’s not the Nigeria I knew some years ago. The speed of circulation of information about this matter could not have happened 8yrs ago! As a nation, we are changing, to get better, we must take responsibility, and yes we can!
Here are a few key highlights of what happened that was good, and how we can all help to replicate it.
1. Eye witness ireport.
The world has indeed become a global village. Within a few hours, someone was able to video the assault and make it available on ireport, the mobile people fed section of CNN. A news feature that could easily have been hushed by local media was global in minutes. We can all be a lot more conscious of what we see, take pictures, capture videos e.t.c. Most phones these days have camera’s, let’s put them to good use. You can upload your news details at www.ireport.com. It’s unedited, unfiltered news.
The Video: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-134234
2. Leveraging the Internet.
In a matter of hours, the news was on blogs, a petition was on facebook, and there were lots of discussions. There were tons of comments posted by public, loads of reactions. People were unhappy and did not bottle up their emotions. We will not have a democracy if the people do not have a voice. The internet is voice for the people. The internet might not be the joint of the mass majority now, it’s our responsibility to make it so. Get a blog, a free one, until you do, share your comment on the ones that exist. Have presence online. Syndicate with other blogs, spread the news. Democracy works when the people can be heard. Obama leveraged the internet to win the elections. We need to understand the internet and leverage it! This happened and it was beautiful.
Internet Expressions are all over the place.. just go to www.google.com and search for Uzoma + Navy.
3. Media – Wag the dog.
The media is powerful! Sometimes the tail wags the dog, in other words, there exists some catch 22 with action and media… either has the capacity to come first. For example, did the media help Obama because the media was biased? Or did the media have to keep talking about Obama because it was what the people wanted to hear. Either way you look at it, media is capitalist, and even though information must be unbiased, you are in business when you are publishing material that the public wants to inquire about. We the people, can bend the media to do our bid. In a matter of moments, it was a headline feature in Newspapers, the Governor of the state was notified, the Senate was informed, and media was facilitating the information sharing.
The concepts of Nations are changing, globalization is putting pressure on national leadership to be responsible, the cloak of secrecy under which most evil is perpetrated is being stripped. Think about it, if we decide to be responsible, we cannot get away any longer with human rights violation, we can’t get away with electoral fraud, we can’t get away with anything, because the world is watching.
I don’t know what you see, but I see possibilities. I see the possibility of steering change, of making a difference. The stage is set for the emergence of true values. Let’s take responsibility and make a difference.