As a youth, I heartily rejoice with everyone on the occasion of our democratic celebration. I am indeed extremely elated on this landmark achievement of thirteen years uninterrupted civilian rule. On the 29th of May, 13 years ago, the military left the government house for good, back to the barracks where they constitutionally belong. Although, like the fuel subsidy removal news that woke us on the 1st of January, our president has once again woken us up with another landmark unpopular decision to keep us busy for some days but i am not going to waste my time talking about his leadership this past one year.
Objectively, the general skepticism on the necessity for the euphoria that greeted the departure of the military remains a worthy debate in and out the shores of Nigeria. Have we indeed been benefiting from the accruable values of a true democratically driven society? Fortunately, gone were those days when the elites were almost the only beneficiary of western education. Globalization and the incursion of civilization have necessitated education for all and sundry in Nigeria. The truth at the moment is on the palms of every citizen of the country, especially to a large extent, those that are eager to know. Nigerians now divulge information consistently enough to incite agitations. The information on how a true democracy is practiced makes us think out loud. So many questions beg for answers. Is May 29 of every other four years truly our democracy day or we have just blindly adopted the day as our liberation day? Every four years, for 13 years running, we have seen successive civilian administration take over the mantle of power but did so undemocratically and we are yet to see the attendant transformation that normally come with democracy.
May 29 unfortunately is going down in history as a day we collectively misjudged, misinterpreted and misinformed our selves. We misjudged the military era as the worst government in Nigeria only to wake up to the gruesome reality of a far worse civilian administration. A day we misinterpreted the intention of the elites, naively misconstrued their motives. They told us this is democracy-vote for us. We responded we know and that they are the candidates for us come rain come sun. May 29, the day we unanimously degenerated our hopes, misinformed ourselves of a bright future because men in khaki left the center stage for men in agbada to greedily operate at a more desperate pace.
As much as we accept the mythical existence of a political system called democracy in Nigeria; with its numerous mediocrities, we equally must not fail to adjudge openly the several defects. The lingering question, through careful observation is if indeed we are practicing true democracy while painfully, the youth are playing along in the fools game? Wisdom I hear is profitable to direct. Is the misdirection, exuded by the youth, a sign of lack of wisdom? because the Youths have demeaning themselves to insensitive blackmail by manipulating their conscience for peanuts to favor the aspirations of the collective few. I can’t but wonder if the saying that ‘the youths are the strength of a nation’ is applicable in Nigeria. We have exuded a weak disposition and have shown too many a time a consistent lack of vision and also have been shortchanging ourselves while we ignorantly think we are enriching our bank accounts.
What wisdom is our youth selling out, considering they blocked every channel of good governance because of political activities, hooliganism, positions or possessions? I challenge all youth from the creeks of Niger-delta to the far deserts in the north, from the deluded civilization in the west through to the revamping efforts in the east, to reliably analyze the wisdom in expecting an outward change when they themselves haven’t changed inwardly. What wisdom is there campaigning for a candidate under the rain or sun, exposed to campaign dangers while his own children are under a secured atmosphere? We may claim to be hoping our selfish involvement will evolve a working crop of leadership but surprisingly, after every election comes a depletion in our socio-economic strength. The accruable benefits of democracy become only available to such candidate and his house hold. So what wisdom is there in a do or die campaign, deceit, killings and hates most youth indulge in?
What wisdom is there in accepting pre-electoral benefits in form of stipends while forfeiting every iota of possible post electoral benefits of good governance? For an irresponsible amount in few thousands, we have compromised the expected good roads, hospitals, schools ,infrastructures, jobs, socio-economic vibrancy, developmental projects, working constitution, transparency and accountability culture, good policy formulation and implementation culture etc. we have entrenched a generational degenerated pattern of irresponsibility, thus placing us at the mercy of the leaders in all facet of our existence. We forgot that while collecting bribes from our leaders to rig elections, we are equally empowering them to go about every other activity in government through undue process, hence daily growing skills in rigging, embezzling and manipulating.
Wisdom tells me we can only be better Nigerians in Nigeria than anywhere else. No matter how far we try to run or dissociate ourselves from the spiral events that becloud the tiny integrity we inherited from our leaders, I have a premonition we can’t run too far. No matter what foreign assent we inculcate, culture we imbibed or ideas borrowed, our root can’t be outlawed. Our skin color remains our identity. Wisdom tells me if the youth fail to use their strength to broker a deal , as a country, we may remain chained to some ring bolt set in the rock of a not too distant but discouraging years. Until we decide to move on with the dream of our heroes, we may be moved aside by villains. Quite important it is to celebrate our leaders, but in the process we are becoming nothing, hence there is nothing to be celebrated about us?
There is wisdom in demanding for a true representative government. A government that understands the vision and aspiration of past leaders, a government that understands one Nigeria is the mission, great Nigeria is the motive and good Nigerian is the propelling factor. A working hospital is achievable. Educational reforms with 30 percent input from yearly expenditure to re-engineer proper school standards is possible, in order to produce world class graduates of high intellect to shape the country. There is unparalleled wisdom in voting in a government that will initiate effective economic policies, creating an enabling environment for economic growth and development. Good policies to encourage investment. Tax cut, tax holidays, constant electric power supply, adequate security etc Wisdom tells me we can make Nigeria work again; some years ago we had a working rail transport system, one of the most effective means of transport world over. About 30 years after, we have it no more. Wisdom tells me we can reposition our agricultural comparative advantage. It used to be our only source of income and also, the first major reason we became an economic partner in the global market. Yes, agriculture can work again. The death trap roads, Benin-Ore, the far northern and eastern roads, the southern road across Niger-delta where not in existence before. They were all built at some point. So there is wisdom in my belief that these roads could be reconstructed, repaired or rehabilitated and adequately maintained.
Wisdom tells me it’s time we rewrite our own history, we can’t continue to cling to the past glory, in achievement of our fathers if we don’t want to be a past without a worthy story to be told about us. We must recapture the vision of our leaders past, recharge our strength and refocus our attention to birthing a great nation out of this entity called Nigeria. We must not be tired or weary; we must not fail or be exhausted. The journey is not far, distractions are just much. We need a true leader who has the passion and love for this country, who will take us through the numerous stop over.
We need wisdom to be free from the time bomb of instability and war waiting to explode. Let us be wise to know that only a democratic system gives more power to the electorate. If we don’t protect it, we may find ourselves in the historic trend of system failure, war or revolution God has saved us from. Let’s be wise to know that no amount of affluence can carter for the vacuum created by any failed system. No individual can provide adequate health care, security, sound education, infrastructure etc than the government. Let us also be wise enough to own up to our individual, as well as collective responsibilities. Let’s ask for our right, work towards greater height and fight with all our might. Let’s do the right thing at all times because system failure mostly start right under our roofs. Most homes have failed in teaching their kids the culture of decency, loyalty, truth, dignity and integrity.
We need wisdom in Nigeria, Wisdom to pursue our freedom and freedom to develop our kingdom. Let’s start our developmental process from inside out. First we change our orientation and strive in dignity to stand for what’s right. Then the outward developmental process can start in due course. Let’s stand for the just, ask for a trust worthy government that truly represents the vision of Nigerians, dead or alive. With the vision, let us entrench a working mission that we shall all inculcate as a way of life towards the greater good. The leadership in the 70s till date has done all they could, it’s time for a government from this time and space. Let us take it from here, let us be pro-actively involved for the sake of our children. We need to be wise enough to be willing to protect the pre-colonial dream of our heroes i.e. dream of freedom for all Nigerians, dream of a unified Nigeria plus the dream of political and economic growth.
The better organized societies are failing; from America to Britain, France to Italy, how much more an entirely disorganized and corrupt third world country. Therefore, if the seemingly organized but troubled society in the west are trying to resuscitate their economy, politics and lifestyle for the future of their wards, it is only just going to be sheer wisdom if we decide to do more to revive our socio-economic activities for the sake of our children too. Leaders in the early 50s and early 60s initiated a movement towards a grandstanding economic autonomy. The crop of leaders from 70s till date had tried but failed to pick from where our fathers stopped and thus failed us. Let us take up the Nigerian dream. It’s now our responsibility because of our children. Let us be wise. 2015 beckons. As much as we think it’s still far, we are getting close. Let us be smart enough not to sell out our destiny this time. Be intelligent enough to refuse any bargain or plot to play games with our future. For now, we may not be able to fight until the end of this administration, but by 2015, we shall have the entire weapon on the election day. Even if we keep blaming the leadership for failing us, the truth is we are still the one going through the difficult times. Those we daily condemn are living without knowing any hardship. So let’s stop the blame game, let us plot to make hay while the sun is still up. We are the youth, we are the leaders, and we are the future. Its time we fought for our freedom, its time we are wise enough to demand for a true democracy. God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.