nation’s culture resides in the heart and soul of its people. It’s not the honour you take with you but the heritage you leave behind. What would we want the coming generation to remember us for as leaders? Would it be honourable and fair to pass the current state of our nation to the next generation just the way our parents ceded it to us?
The reality of the matter is that Nigeria as a nation should be a Watchtower to the entire black world because it has the resources and the manpower which if correctly utilized should be standing shoulder to shoulder with any of the great Nations of the world but issues like; plundering of resources, squandering of riches, nepotism, greed, corruption, tribalism, and lack of vision continues to be our bane.
Our beloved nation Nigeria is in dire need for a great change, a change in mentality and behavioural patterns. A paradigm shift from the bad system. We can’t expect a different result doing the same thing, the same way again and again. A new Nigeria requires a revolution of values, a change of plan and great minds that are ready to bring change. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Why is Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) recognized as simply that and the Indian traditional practice of wellness and acknowledged as Ayurvedic treatment, but African Traditional medicine is associated with black magic? Progress begins when we as Africans stop associating everything non-African as being superior. Decolonize the mind.” – Risa Okech.
Our heroes past fought to free us from slavery and now we must emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. They fought to free us from colonialism and now we must free our nation from regionalism. They fought for independence, now we must fight for progress and unity. A new Nigeria we seek, a new Nigeria we must get.
“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain degree of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen. We must dare to invent the future.” – Thomas Sankara.
Remembering Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, the visionary demonstrated that only the people can change their circumstances with the support of a pro-people government that is committed to serving the majority, not the political and business elites.
Captain Thomas Sankara was an example of good leadership and true depiction of Africanism. He built roads and a railway to tie the nation together, without foreign aid. He redistributed land from the rich and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in just three years from 1700kg a hectare to 3800kg a hectare, making the country food self-sufficient over a mere three years.
Sankara opposed foreign aid, saying “he who feeds you, controls you”. He converted the Army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country). He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy in support of Women’s rights. Can our leaders in power and outside power draw a lesson from Sankara who laid this few legacies among others with only four years in power?
Our country is in a deep political, economic and moral crises. The youths suffer while their leaders fight over positions. The strength of any nation is in its youths but here they are often made to watch the political and leadership affairs of their nation from the political gallery. A country where the leadership tirelessly abuse the populace in numerous ways and turn around to accuse them of not being patriotic.
A good example of good leadership and vibrant nation is Italy. Recently, the Italians voted in a referendum to cut the size of the country’s parliament by more than a third. Almost 70% of people voted in favour of the change, with almost all votes counted. The number of MPs in the lower house will be reduced from 634 to 400. The senate will also be downsized. Ours is to keep duplicating MDA’s and creating irrelevant new one’s to settle cronies at the detriment of the National purse.
Going forward, let us strive to eliminate conflicts of interest and build a system whereby the President of our countries in Africa will be guided by the constitution and reduce drastically interfering with independent institutions like the: judiciary, legislative and electoral bodies.
We don’t need leaders who see themselves as champions of only some regions of our population. We don’t need leaders who are more interested in silencing their opponents than in pursuing justice. We don’t need leaders who don’t practice what they preach.
We need leaders who, in paddling the affairs of the nation, shall institutionalize the principles of fairness and equality. We don’t need leaders who place themselves above the constitution and the laws of the country, but leaders who lead by upholding and respecting the law.
When and if a wrong set of persons find their way into leadership of a nation they tend to see their positions as compensation for their role in candidate’s ascension to power.
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee men of a good conscience, people who are more Nigerian than religious, people who believe in nationalism over regionalism and people who will discourage favouritism and encourage meritocracy regardless of region or religion.
Let us be dissatisfied with fraudulent elections, system collapse and eliminate corrupt tendencies in our country. Let’s make October 1st Revolution Day a reality. In the Nigeria situation presently; families are going through excruciating pain, paying the price for inefficiency, ineptitude, cluelessness, recklessness, nepotism and corruption. Nigerians should be prepared for resistance and be circumspect about the reality of our country. The Labour Union and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria seems to have woken up from its self-induced slumber, we owe it a duty to keep our eyes open.
And should try renegade and be bought over, Nigerians should be prepared for resistance and take full responsibility. Recently, the Industrial National Court granted an order of interim injunction restraining the Unions, their officers, affiliates, privies or howsoever described from embarking on any Nationwide strike.
It seems they want to serve the masses another familiar well-played script. If NLC/TUC truly intend going on protest for the hike in the prices of petrol and power, there won’t be a need to grandstand and dawdle until the Industrial court stops them. The postponement of the action till next week was just a ploy to buy more time so they might have an alibi.
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Again, let’s wake up and smell the coffee. In the history of our dear nation, the cry for a great change in every area of our national life has never been greater. If we need a new and a better Nigeria then we must demand for it.
Also recently, on Wednesday 23rd of September 2020, a group of protesters have demanded more stringent immigration laws while marching through South Africa’s capital city of Pretoria directing their anger at African immigrants particularly against Nigerian nationals for allegedly committing criminal activities and human trafficking. The march to the Nigerian Embassy trended on social media with the hashtags: #23SeptemberCleanSA and #PutSouthAfricansFirst, sparking a conversation about the ongoing protests against immigrants in South Africa.
It’s about that time we fix our country. Our people will travel less and gain more respect outside of our country. How many South Africans do we have here? The South Africans we see in Nigeria are mainly those who came here to work as expatriates. Let’s put our house in order and a stop to avoidable deaths, carnage, explosions, infrastructural decay, incessant killings, medical facilities in total comatose, education zero, Plundering of resources, squandering the riches economy and total system collapse and be a positive influence on the smaller nations of the continent.
Richard Olanrewaju Odusanya
Convener AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI