Date Published: 05/24/10
The impending earth wake in Nigeria By Ogwu Paul Okwuchukwu
Do we really need to change our ways in Nigeria? Are we ready to change? Is change possible?Are we ready to pay the price for change? Is change desirable? I would prefer to use the word ‘change’ instead of ‘revolution’ because the word ’revolution’ is weighty and may instil fear in some people. We need to change because things will not continue the way it is going .In every society and groupings, people will resist change especially people who are benefiting in one way or the other from the prevalent situation.
What do these historical figures have in common ?Oliver Cromwell, Karl Marx, Valdimin Lenin, Che Geuvera ,Ruholla Khomeini, Viktor Yushchenko, Vac law Havel, Moa Zedong, Robespierre, Pierre Proudhon, Fidel Castro. We may have heard of the French revolution, the Russian revolution, the White revolution, the Orange revolution, the commercial revolution and the industrial revolution. At a stage in once life and the life of a nation ,we need to reflect and ask ourselves some fundamental questions .To honestly ask and answer these questions will result in change .What type of legacy are we living behind for our children and grandchildren yet unborn? Do we wish them to live in an environment littered with time bomb everywhere waiting to denote .Do we actually have other places we can call home? The answer is no so change is inevitable. Another question is’ Is our society ripe for change?’
Looking at the various indicators, we are indeed ripe for change and a fundamental shift from the way we do things. Although change is inevitable but for several reasons we may not see change in Nigeria except if we are able to surmount some challenges that are posing as an impediment to the change we carve for. These obstacles include sociological, economical, political, psychological and human made obstacles .These and some other things will make change difficult to achieve in Nigeria. These catalyst for change in Nigeria include the systematic and endemic corruption from the high in government –elected, appointed, private sector, public sector, bureaucracy ,society down to the family ,the high level of inequality in the country. Also included are the excruciating poverty in the land, the near collapse of infrastructure, the insensitivity of the government, the lack of social contract between the government and the governed ,the general frustration of the masses ,the lack of linkages between the resources available and its utilisation, the discontent between the educated elites and the supposed middle class and the increasing high rate of ethno –religious upheavals, the directionless and insensitivity of the ruling class ,high level of mistrust ,unemployment ,injustice and search for few scarce resources are catalyst. In most societies, all these would have made violence and not peaceful change inevitable. So the question is’ why have not change happened in Nigeria’. Change may not happen in Nigeria because of the following reasons. Although we may be witnessing one or two sparkles, it is still minimal to be called a change because no society ever remains stagnant.
Leadership manipulation .Our leaders or should I call them rulers and those entrusted, privileged or acquired power seems to understand the psyche of the Nigeria. They employ all the tactics that include divide and rule, politics, ethnicity, religion and pauperisation to perpetually stagnate us. They use all these tactics to manipulating the masses against themselves based on distinctive and identifiable identities .So with these it may be impossible to come up together and fight for a common goal.
These divide and rule tactics seems to have found a comfortable abode by the diverse and distinctive composition of the Nigerian state. These division which include cultural, language, religious and ethnic differences and distinctive class differences.. These differences have produced societies that are deeply fragmented and foisted on us with a mentality of’ us’ against’ them’. It is so bad that it appears that there are deliberate indoctrination that always plays up the groups against the other .Our leaders instigate that by their actions and inactions .So nepotism ,ethnicity, stereotyping has been perpetually instilled in an average Nigeria.
These indoctrinations have been so entrenched that it easily finds its way in our peculiar culture and religion. Culturally, some of us come from a society that you will not question you leaders so they act the way they want and we primordially support them. We may not be looking at the long term effect of their actions on us and our children.. Culture with its other twin brother religion has also played a destructive part. Religion seems to be playing an important role in this situation. Our own brand of religion have encouraged division, laziness, docility, patronage, affinity and these seems to have deviated from its original intent. Chairman Moe calls it ‘the opium of the masses’ .A society that leaves everything to fate, superstitution is bound to act irrationally. The veritable tool for enlightenment have blinded us from asserting our rights as individuals and societies. A society that no longer see lying, untruthful and insincerity as evil and bad is bound to have problems.
These rights have also been hindered further by our level of awareness and high rate of illiteracy, prolong military rule. We seem to accept absurd situations as normal. As a result of these, we have not been able to question our rulers and demand for our collective redemption and freedom. Do we actually know how enslaved we are as a society? Do we actually know how we have mortgaged the future of our children? It is under these lacks of awareness even among our educated people that these divisions are encouraged.
These divisions which have reduced us to ‘we’ against’ them’ seems to have taken up one of the most important ingredient of our national development. The lack of patriotism is at the root of our collective failure .It is in this that corruption, religious strive, killings and ineffective leadership blossoms .We have been reduced to self serving, self aggrandizement, personal insecurity ,greedy and primitive accumulation. Our rulers and followers think more of ‘me’ before them. They think we are their enemies that must be conquered. They have succeeded in creating a society with low sense of patriotism and belongingness to the entity called Nigeria. Simply put nobody believes in Nigeria .That is why we are corrupt. Corruption is a symptom of unpatriotic mindset.
These lack of believe in Nigeria project which was systematically induced have also contributed to the near lack of change in the Nigeria society. A flawed system should be able to grow and develop with time but a situation where the foundation is faulty and based on the highest level of insincerity may not encourage the development of the society. We should try to build up a system based on justice, fair play, accommodation and collective interest of the masses. It is also in our interest that we look at the common interest we share and not the differences we have as a group. The masses should come to the agreement that we need social and economic infrastructure, good educational system, health awareness and that the role of government is that of social contract, good road ,good hospital, good school, electricity and enabling environment. We should not discriminate based on religion, culture and ethnicity. We should be able to hold our government accountable for the provision of these basic human needs but las it is our turn. It is ‘them’ against ‘us’ will not allow for a collective or galvanizing interest.
For some of the reasons above; it appears we may find it difficult or near impossible to galvanise forces together to redeem the only country we can all call our own. We need to fight against a sect that has spread their tentacles in every sector, sphere and segment of our society. The debasement ,the rape, the exploitation ,the dehumanising continues and no matter how long you live in another man’s country there is still a limit that you can claim the citizenship of that place.. People that act as if they have any other country they can call theirs and to the masses we are gradually loosing it. We as followers are also guilty if we fail in our part to act.
Ogwu paul Okwuchukwu. Leicester UK