Arise O Compatriots, Let Nigeria’s Revolution Begin, By Jude Feranmi
I have taken time to sit back and relax from writing almost anything about everything that is wrong with this country for a couple of reasons. Chief of these reasons is the notion that I now strongly adhere to that Nigerians need to do more of doing than talking. Like President Obasanjo once said, Nigeria has more of think tanks than do tanks. We have formed a habit of responding to every negative thing about this country with our talks, in barber’s shops, in malls, in churches and thanks to social networking sites, on social media. We talk and talk like we plan to talk our issues away. In the end, those issues continue to stare us in the face when we take a break from talking to resume our daily tasks.
Today, I have chosen to write (TALK) about three things. The fact that we now worship the notion that we can’t do anything about our matter, the fact that those who tried to do something about it have ended up frustrated or failed at that herculean task and the current revolution that has begun which is set to change the face of Nigeria’s politics into a sane, result oriented, goal driven politics that affects positively the life of the average, common Nigerian. (N.B Those two words no not mean the same thing).
In the quest to birth a different Nigeria from the one our forefathers bequeathed and our fathers spoilt the more, there is need to first of all do away with the popular aphorisms and traditions that we hold so dear to our hearts and have been cemented to our words though personal experiences, stories and empirical fact. One of them is what I address in this article in the following paragraph.
Resilience is said to be one of the core attributes that we can confidently say is Nigerian. It was said that if any human specie can survive in Nigeria. S/He can survive anywhere else on the planet including and not limited to Antarctica. It’s one of the reasons why Nigeria was ranked the third happiest country on earth. (Please note that we now rank in the last 10 of this list). So, when foreigners hear Fela’s Suffering and Smiling song, they can’t comprehend the how until they witness it first-hand. At the core of this resilience however is an escapism that fuels it twenty-four hours every seven days . The notion which is a slander, in fact, a generational slander – that we cannot do anything about our current situation until God intervenes.
It’s the reason our danfos and molues and trucks carry the quote on their windscreens “No Condition Is Permanent”; It’s the reason a story like Olajumoke Orisaguna’s rise to fame can resonate across the whole nation up to the altars and pulpit of our religious houses and crusades and UNILAG 5.0 boy will be forgotten in months, I meant weeks. This escapism is the reason why our public leaders will choose to do whatever they please irrespective how morally upright or legally justifiable, this escapism is the reason why large companies will deny people of their rights and ask employees to sign a waiver of your fundamental rights, this escapism, this slander that says we can’t do anything about this society, that only God can save only a few of us like he saved Orisaguna Olajumoke can save anyone of us is also the reason there are millions of unemployed and unemployable graduate who can’t find jobs or create one.
It has been wired into our psyche and it forms part of the Nigerian Dream. It is high time we eradicate this slander! We must now more than any other period in the history of our nation and in the history of our generation, look to ourselves and say the truth which is that we are capable and we have it ineherent in us to change our lives for the better and make a difference for ourselves and for our unborn children. We must now look within and recognize the power that we have innate in us deposited by God to make life beautiful for ourselves to be fruitful and to multiply, to subdue the earth and not be subdued by it. That time is NOW! And though I am aware that this will require a fundamental paradigm shift in the way that we think, we will see that it happens as we draw out resources and efforts to eradicate this long time generational notion. More than any other time in our history, it is time to listen to the words of the first Black American President and believe like he did when are asked if we ended have the capability to pull this through and answer with every fibre of our being that Yes! We Can!
The obvious plan to then look at next is to those who have gone before us. Those who have tried to achieve the same tasks that we now set for ourselves and have either being frustrated, or have failed or have been in the process for as long as we can remember without any tangible results only to have turned the process into another survival tactic at earning a living and surviving the system. To these people, I now turn. It is no gainsaying that there are hundreds, if not thousands of NGOs in our country today whose ultimate mission is to advance the cause of a better Nigeria.
They raise money from different sources, organize events and carry out activities to suit their sponsors and look forward to them being happy. Some of them even get these finds and do nothing, another sector of corruption entirely and those that are honest and result driven do all they can to achieve their aims. In the end, the goal of a better country is not achieved and to make matter worse, we don’t even get close to the goal. Does this mean we, Nigeria are beyond Redemption?
My obvious answer is a NO! and my reasons are simple. It is not the job of civil society organisations or non-governmental organizations to carry out the fundamental tasks of government, they simply do not have the capacity or the resources or the monopoly of power to make that happen. CSOs and NGOs and coalitions are not designed to carry out the role of government, this job description is to assist and provide checks and balances and as such, the moment we try to use these vehicles to achieve the aims of government, we are bound to fail.
During my volunteer days with Enough Is Enough Nigeria, I was privileged to supervise a workshop designed around training youth leaders on the electoral process and advocating for peaceful elections in Bayelsa State in November 2015. We went past three senatorial districts, five radio stations and two television stations with our message of peace and knowledge about the electoral process. In the end, the process was nothing but entirely peaceful and the election had to first be declared inconclusive before it was re-organised.
In a society where government was up to par, our efforts would have meant much more than it did in that process. We simply did not have the capacity or the monopoly of force to make a difference in such a situation ans so are other CSOs and NGOs and coalitions like GenVoices, 20 Million Youths or Aid A Camp or other beautifully crafted non-governmental movements. This is not to discredit in anyway the work done by these organisations who are more often than not driven by hardworking Nigerians, most times young ones.
However, the efforts put into these activities will make more impact with a functioning government. A recent case study is that of BudgitNG’s clarion call on the budget and the many frivolous items that it contains. It is now popular knowledge that all the debates and advocacies and time and effort put into outlining what is wrong in that budget was all in vain as the National Assembly passed all those frivolous items while we can’t ascertain what exactly happened with items removed or not included.
The question to be raised then is this, Whose fault is that the budget was passed the same way it was padded? BudgitNG’s fault or Senators and House of Reps Members who passed the budget without even seeing the details? The case I make here is simple. It is high time we focus our energies and efforts (those of us that are left) on the political stratosphere and start removing those who insist on ensuring that government will not function the way it should. It’s not just high time we stopped voting like idiots, It is high time we stopped voting in idiots and the way to do that and ensure that the non-idiots we vote in don’t end up as idiots once they are elected is through the political system specifically through a political party that will ensure that what it stands for is a difference from the current political status quo. The next question that will raise its head will then be Why A Political Party?
A political party embodies everything a CSO/NGO/Coalition is and everything it is not – Providing checks and balances, enlightenment of the public amidst a host of other roles that CSOs play. Coupled with this is the power/potential that political parties have of chasing out the incumbent which a CSO does not possess. A political party is a threat to the incumbent while a CSO is not. This is the more reason governments in power would pay attention to the opposition party while neglecting the calls of CSOs and NGOs. They know that whether they listen or not, their seats as public officers is not been threatened in a democracy where stomach infrastructure can be deployed once it is its season.
When it comes to fulfilling people’s interests and egos, a political party is well structured and designed to take care of that. Most coalitions usually end up crashing because some think those who lead can do better or that they themselves can do better and then go ahead to form another coalition. This is the primary reason why we have thousands of different coalitions duplicating the same agenda and even at times, the same activities.
Today, there is little reason for the incumbent party in power to listen to advocates of a leaner purposeful budget or to those who clamour for more regard for the rule of law or for those who argue that the current economic policies do not favour the market or to anyone at all as they seemingly enjoy a popularity that no other party can rival in which case CSOs and NGOs only have to keep on advising and in the instance that their advice correlates with their intentions, they will go ahead and should it differ, they will discard. This phenomenon is what brings me to my third point.
There is not just need to wage a counter political force against the current party in government even just for the purpose of being a gadfly that ensures they are kept on their toes, there is also a need to ensure that there is birthed a different kind of politics in our nation. There is a dire need to start to think of replacing our National Assembly with those who do not just look out for themselves at the expense of National Interest as is evident in the stories we now hear of the budget.
There is a need to fill the public offices of the local government areas where the average Nigerian connects to Leadership with those who have clear agenda for the populace and not leave this sector in the hands of ‘thugs’ as is the norm. There is a need to start to bring in new ideas that align with 21st century practices in governance so that our public services can compete globally and fiercely and break away from the age-long practices that has kept us at the bottom of the ladder.
There is a need to ensure a politics that ensures that the best of us are leading the worst of us and not the other way round. There is a need, howbeit, an urgent need for us to start to define what kind of politics will deliver results for us and our children and ensure that that is what defines our political atmosphere.
If our country must be better, we must seek political solutions to the political problems that we have. It is no gainsaying and I reserve no apologies for saying that the current political parties that we have cannot usher in these realities that we seek and that is why they have remain dreams more or less. Those who have sincere intentions are crowded with those who are bent on maintaining the status quo while those who are working nonetheless are being hindered and obstructed by those who do not want anything done.
My hope for a generation that had a lifetime to prove its worth and deliver a better society and failed throughout has finally waned and it is owing to this that I advocate for Nigerians to seek a different party, a different people and a different association to help actualize our dreams.
As a member of the Charismatic circle of Christians, I have had to recite a verse of confessions every time we ended service and I have applied it to every phase of my life. It is this verse that I now enjoin people to join me in and adopt as we seek a better front in the actualization of our dreams. The verse goes thus
I am KingsWord
I have no taste for mere religion without change
( READ I have no taste for mere politics without making a difference)
I live a result-oriented life based on principles in the word of God
I am man of the spirit, yielded to God’s purpose for my life
I take my place in God’s Agenda for the earth and my generation
As SURE as God HELPS me,
I will NEVER GIVE UP,
I will NEVER CAVE IN,
I will NEVER QUIT,
I will NEVER DIE
Until MY JOB IS DONE
And VICTORY is WON
These words if each of us will apply to our resolve to make our country and our society a better place, we will ultimately march on even if gradually to our dream Nigeria and as the adage goes that Heaven helps those who help themselves, Heaven will indeed rise to our calls and crown our efforts.
May God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
Jude Feranmi is the National Youth Leader of KOWA PARTY (@KOWA_NGR )
He can be reached on Twitter @juded27 and by email through firstname.lastname@example.org