Friday, May 25, 2018
Bonn, Germany

Continued from Part 3

Pain is a spiritual wake-up call showing you that there are oceans you have not yet explored. Step beyond the world you know. Reach for heights that you never thought possible. Go to places you have deemed off limits. This is the time to take off the shell of your past and step into the rich possibilities of your future. God does not give us dreams that we cannot fulfill. If you want to do something great with your life-whether it's to fall madly in love, become a teacher, be a great parent-if you aspire to do something beyond what you are doing now, this is the time to begin. Trust yourself (Debbie Ford)

e have major problems in Nigeria, and life is in the least normal there. Things like rampant corruption; high rate of unemployment, which the youths are suffering from; high inflation rate; infrastructure problems; ethnic and religious killings etc are some of the chronic conditions we have to solve immediately, to make life meaningful for the majority of the citizens. Although the president, instead of tackling these problems, only engages in blame game and name calling, but, the followers are doing nothing to change the situation.

As I noted in Part 1 of this article, the followers, in general, and the Nigerian youths, in particular, are parts of the problem. They're parochially partisan, and senselessly religious! Although we have a failure of governance, we cannot heap all the blames at the doorpost of the leaders when we, the followers, did not carry out our civic obligation of lending our voices at critical times, as Amaechi once said. Truly, followers are leaders. Truly, you can be the change that you passionately yearn for!

We have in our hands, today, the power to steer the affairs of state. We have the power of ‘the Voice of the People’ – our mandate. Luckily, trends in social media and the globalization now ensure that nothing is hidden any more. From our various corners, we can awake and make a difference. We can hold our governments, at the various levels, accountable. They are not gods or masquerades; they are flesh and blood - we can hold them accountable. Today, we can truly rise to be the citizen-kings that would produce and sustain the ideal leadership that our progenitors, our future generations would be proud of - a Nigeria that truly embodies its capacities, its potentials, the Pride of Africa and a testimony to the world! No one says that the road to realization will be paved in gold. No one says change will go unchallenged by the unchanging Status Quo. Yet no one doubts the divine truism in the time-tested truth - the voice of the people remains the voice of God!

The country cannot meet its budget projections, we got unbearable unemployment and a federal government that is out of control, and unfortunately, Nigerians, and of course, the youths, still cannot take back their country from the mis-rulers. There are no other greater enemies of Nigeria but corruption, insecurity, unemployment, excessive debt, economic stagnation and other things which keep our country in these critical conditions.

Today, millions of Nigerians increasingly suffer from unemployment, poverty, hunger, disease and the destruction of their families at a rate never experienced before in our history. In Nigeria, using the words of Jonathan Sacks (1948), “A perfect storm is in the making: financial uncertainty, economic downturn, rising unemployment and a future that looks less clear the more we try to fathom it”. And still, many find no reason to hold this government accountable. No doubt, governments at all levels in Nigeria are too free with our money, and only few followers are complaining about it. The Nigerian youths should wake up, and the time is now.

Indubitably, this crisis of high rate of unemployment is having a profoundly damaging impact on the lives of those bearing the brunt of it, most especially the youths. For those unfortunate enough to experience it, unemployment is a tragedy. And, for the Nigerian society as a whole, the productive capacity of a significant portion of the labour force is unutilized.

It’s unfortunate that Nigeria stands at the crossroads of leadership failure, corruption with impunity, crushing national debts, rampant cases of armed robbery, threat to life and property by hoodlums, and sometimes, high handed security personnel, insane business regulations, lack of infrastructure and staggering national unemployment, and all these are pushing the nation to the brink. In Nigeria, using the words of Dennis Kucinich (1946), “We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction”.

Our president and our other leaders can claim whatever they want, as their reason for seeking political power, but, Nigerians are not hearing what they want to hear from them at all levels. From the president down to the local government chairmen, Nigerians should be hearing our leaders say, and meaning it, in the words of King Abdullah II of Jordan (1962), that “What keeps me up at night is poverty and unemployment”, and, in the words of Nicolas Sarkozy (1955), when he was the French President, that “I want to wage war against illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, unfair competition, communitarianism, delinquency”, and not how lazy Nigerian youths are.

I also wrote, previously, that Nigerians should blame themselves for what they're going through. Nigeria's future is bleak; while the youths are suffering, they're making no move to hold the government responsible for their plight, rather they're more interested in Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Manchester United football clubs and the outcome of their matches, than in what's going on in their own country. I weep for Nigeria when I see the youths, who should be demanding the best from the government, being so unconcerned, unconnected and only interested in matches of football clubs in foreign countries. They can even kill each other for it. Let me see if those foreign clubs will give any of them job. The government is happy when the youth are distracted, and that's why the matches will be beamed continuously to serve as opium for the youths of Nigeria.

As Mr. Azuh noted, there is good correlation between good leadership and good followership. Many philosophers believe that to have a near perfect society, where the leadership is accountable to the people, there must be followership that is pragmatic and responsible; followership that has passed through moral transformation and regeneration. The problem with the society is that majority of the citizens and the real followers are docile and succumb to the actions and dictates of the leaders whether such leaders are on the right part or not. In civilized societies of the world, leaders dance to the demand and desires of the citizens and the followership, but in Nigeria, citizens’ bow down to the dictates of the leaders no matter how untested the leader is.

There is no doubt that poverty, in present day Nigeria, is a determining factor in the ability of the citizens to stand on the right part notwithstanding where the leader or leaders are heading to. In the Nigerian political history, the leadership has the penchant to continually amass wealth to the extent that followers resign themselves to fate, waiting to eat only from the crumbs that occasionally fall from the master’s table. They suffer it and transfer the suffering to their children and children’s children. They forgot that their actions of today can positively or negatively affect their present status and that of the generations yet unborn. The present Buhari's government has exploited this But Nigerians forgot that if they take steps today, to correct the imperfection and excesses of their leaders and obliterate the notion that the leader must take it all, then they have succeeded in shaping good future for their children and the society as a whole.

Today, Nigeria is among the nations of the world that can be said to be practising democracy, and democracy is defined as government of the people by the people and for the people. What it literary means is that the people have the power to determine those that govern them, and since they have such powers, then they cannot play slaves to those that they put in positions of authority through the ballot papers.

In every true democracy, the people determine those that would be elected into positions of authority and by so doing, they are subject to the wishes and aspirations of the people, but unfortunately the reverse is the case in the Nigerian political arrangement. The masses have brought themselves to the lowest level, sold their birth right, that they no longer have the power to take their rightful positions in the scheme of things or to even correct their leaders when they go wrong. They have forgotten that it is better to suffer hunger for a day than to be hungry for the rest of one’s life, and even transfer it to the generations yet unborn.

It is the sole responsibility of an injured population to resist poor leadership. But in a situation where the majority of the humiliated population is illiterate, poor and un-organizable, this responsibility falls on the enlightened few to actually call their leaders to order in a most civilized manner. The few who would have stood in the part of truth and decency are afraid because it is a chequered road to pursue justice, to stand by freedom and to uphold true democracy in Nigeria.

To be continued!






Continued from Part 3