My Race, Politics and our Hope – By Odusote Oluwakayode
It is pertinent we take a look back into the history of our Nation. Has the situation always been like this? We need our government and leaders to tell us. What we heard in years gone by was that Nigerians lived in homes where honesty, integrity, loyalty, decency, uprightness, and truthfulness reigned. Today we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our youth jobless, and a political disorderliness from a government that possibly has no solution to the country’s numerous problems..
Many have spent months looking for work after labored years in various institutions to acquire a degree for sustainability. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — through small scale business that do not enjoy government support but greeted with harsh policies and unfriendly corporate firms. We live in a country, filled with people in the throes of decadence, a nation in the turmoil of corruption. Where brutality is victory, where integrity is perceived dead, where virtue is considered a taboo, and where hypocrisy is taken as loyalty.
No arm of our government is free from corruption. Corruption roams freely in the corridors of our Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals. It is flaunted with honor and pride by some of our leaders; it is adored by some heads of corporate firms.
The Nigerian youth grew up with faith in a Nigeria where hard work and responsibility is expected to be rewarded; where everyone gets a fair share of the “National Cake” at least through a decent salary and good benefits, employment opportunity, free education, free and qualitative health care service, good roads, security, affordable housing and friendly government policies.
For years now, the Nigerian youth have watched painfully the erosion of good and sincere governance. Sadly, most of our leaders have become “Omo ako ti ile ta” by flaunting the nation’s wealth without recourse to human dignity and respect. They have created a hopeless situation for a nation with rich endowments. They have no vision to develop but they have interest to steal.
As much as the failings of some leaders are disturbing and detrimental to growth, it is important to admit and hold dear that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one Nigerian family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well for a better nation. Hope must be kept alive in moments when our nation’s economy is in turmoil, and the governments’ promise has been of deceit.
Many Nigerians are out of work while those employed are working harder for less to feed large families. So many Nigerian can’t boast of a convenient shelter. Many have cars but can’t afford to drive. This country is richer than one where fuel subsidy removal will be considered without a human face. This country is more generous than one where it will be a pain to the government to increase the minimum wage of worker while they make astronomical financial allocation for themselves.
As much as the challenges stare at us, it must be admitted that we are duty bound to be actively involved in our country’s political adventure especially as 2015 beckons. The promise and beauty of our active involvement in national development lay in a virile youth’s active participation in politics.
Politics as a game with a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Politics as a game should be with a promise that says the economy should reward drive and innovation and generate growth. That government and corporate businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create Nigerians jobs, with good package to meet necessary demands.
Politics as a game should be with the promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves, provision of Security, provision of free education, provision of infrastructure, provision of reliable health service, provision of clean water, provision of electricity, provision of refineries etc.
Our governments have the mandate and obligation to work for us, not against us. It should ease our pains, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity for all and not just for the rich and those with influence whether questionable or not. Those are the qualities of politics – the passion that we are responsible for Nigerians, the courage that in times of challenges, we rise or fall as one nation, the love that I am my brother’s keeper from any tribe. That’s the promise I see in politics and that’s what we need to keep.
The promise in politics must address our tax system that doesn’t meet demands of infrastructure. It must address the stagnancy in our export promotion and agricultural growth. Tax system should stop giving tax breaks to corporations that recruit non Nigerians and should start giving them to companies that create good jobs for the unemployed.
As a nation and for the sake of our economy, our stability, and our heritage, there should be a clear goal when we will finally end our dependence on oil as echoed by the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Delta state. The promise in the game should tap into our endowed natural resources, invest in inventions and support technological development which would help create jobs. The promise is not about fighting opponents but about focused and visionary leadership.
The Promise in politics which we must all play active role as youth is to meet moral obligations, to provide every child a standard education. They must recruit quality teachers and make teaching attractive, by paying good salaries and giving them more support. Such gesture from the government will produce standards.
Participating in nation building is neither by the usual complaints in the corners of our homes nor by running out of the country to other countries. It can’t be done by being drowned in the same corruption we condemn. It can’t be done by the belief that one day we’ll take our own part of the national cake It can’t be done by nursing fears of the unknown. It can only be done by being responsible for the future. We are no longer leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today! Our generation must not be wasted!!
It is not easy but we must also admit that fulfilling Nigeria’s promise will require more than just share spectator in the arena of politics and governance. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility by being intellectually and ideologically sound to proffer solutions to our challenges.
We talk about government leading on provision of amenities, but don’t forget that we are the government and each of us must do our part to make our community and places of work or engagement efficient. We must be pro-active to provide more avenues to success for young men and women. The vision we must have is Individual and mutual responsibility, that’s the essence of Nigeria’s promise.
For while we had turned our sights to other things of personal interest, the ill focused and visionless leaders stood up and took over the reign of power-we suffer for it today. In Our nation we need a leadership that can face the threats of the future and not the one that will keep gasping for ideas.
You don’t defeat corruption that operates in government by occupying ASO rock through the virus you intend to defeat. You don’t protect your allowance and security vote and proffer plans to remove fuel subsidy. You can’t truly stand up for transparency when you’ve strained the truth attached to electoral victory. You can’t continue to assure without the visible actions in place, If our leaders wants to follow work, it should be by actions and not deceptive words.
The time indeed is ours to determine, it is a choice – but we must beware!
We must beware because we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done for Nigeria. We must pledge once more to march into the better future.
The better future however begins with you – may God help us realize.
Twitter – @Actionkay
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