Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Prodding The Change Cause By M.B.O Owolowo
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle” - Martin Luther King Jr.
The country is atypically restive about the implications of the 2015 elections, the contenders and consequences: the manifestations of the orchestrated polarity and constant reminder for our unity. The youth especially are confronted with the dilemma of being conscientious or being corrupted. Different alliances are being formed by those in Nigeria and those in the Diaspora, all for the purpose of a better society. The saboteurs are also working in unison to sabotage any coordinated efforts that could lead to change.
We must be cognisant of those currently running and ruining the polity, and their desperation to maintain the status quo. This greedy lot would vehemently deter the general progress of the nation, as they would prefer only a select few rotating the common wealth within their clique. They are desperate and will devise schemes to break the unity of any potential change movement, usually through material means. Apart from materialism some of those involved in any positive cause may also fall prey to carnal traps and some may be threatened by security forces. No doubt it would require steadfastness to endure all modes of temptation and sticking to the change cause. Motivation must be derived from attaining the bigger goal and the common good of all must always be in sight to succeed.
Whilst we encourage and commend any change initiatives we must all realise the work of change can’t be done in isolation, as we must involve everyone across all social strata. The real work isn’t restricted to social media, intellectuals or the academia but the grass root: the mechanic that fixes your car, the boy that sells you recharge card, the woman that sells pepper in the market, the newspaper vendor, and your domestic workers- the list is endless.
The real task of change entails engaging those affected the most; the masses. To succeed, many must forget their college degrees and privileged backgrounds and enter the poverty stricken zones to educate and enlighten those badly affected by the malfeasance of public office holders. It is our collective duty to let the masses know the long term implications of the wrong person being in power.
The masses must be made to realise whatever money they are given cannot change their lives in the long term, such monies can only be spent with insignificant or short term benefits. Understandably it may be difficult to preach such ideals to a hungry person, but they can be encouraged to search their conscience and pick the right candidate and not necessarily the candidate that plans to buy their votes.
The social media is being heavily utilised by both progressive and anti-progressive forces, so we must be very cautious of the information we assimilate and disseminate. I recently read an article exposing the hypocrisy and antecedents of certain supposed social media crusaders who had benefited or are still benefitting from the executive largesse, such vigilance is necessary to succeed with any sort of change movement. One must give kudos to all the groups sincerely working towards effecting change, as we shame those whose sole objectives are getting their share of the 'national cake' at any cost.
The artists too are involved but I wouldn’t delve too much on their role as I am not at all impressed with many of them or their antics. We all witnessed how some artists made a nuisance of themselves during the last election, from the lame presidential interview to the appalling gyration at rallies: sickening is the word. Even on the artistic level, I often ask myself what happened to conscientious music, or just good old music: not ‘shayo’ this, or ‘shepe’ that or I love your ‘baka’ this or ‘bobbi’ that. Please wake up from thy slumber and identify with greater causes, as not all of us are beguiled by such trashy music. To the few amongst you trying to galvanise your peers positively, keep it up!
Earlier in the year, I attended the El Rufai TAPS dinner event in London, apart from the fiery author and professionals, also in attendance were government representatives. The gathering was also an opportunity for those in the Diaspora: sceptics and supporters, to scrutinise the political protagonists of our polity- assess the proposed merger, the current leadership and realistic alternatives.
During the question and answer session, many of those present often started by stating their names and affiliation before asking the actual question. As this process continued, I noticed the young man seated next to me had been raising his hands to ask his question, but for some reason the compere didn’t select him, he felt ignored and lamented his plight to me, I told him he would get his chance. Eventually he got his chance, mentioned his name and emphatically said “I am a nobody”, I just have a message for El Rufai to pass on to those in power and those planning to wrest power.
The young man continued by saying “I have suffered seriously in this country (UK), but to God be the glory, if my country was good, I wouldn’t be here”, the words he spoke sent a chill down my spine as I looked up at the young man in approbation.
This ‘nobody’ had just in a few words captured the angst majority of the masses home and abroad felt towards the leadership of Nigeria.
These words were a stark reminder and monition to those involved in the power tussle. This was a message which those in attendance understood very well and many of those reading this can relate with. For present day Nigeria, it’s not a matter of being no longer at ease, but things falling apart: imploding beyond redemption. If those toying with the lives of tens of millions don’t get their act together, they or their progeny will be recompensed in full measure.
The battle for leadership shouldn’t be primarily motivated by personal ambitions or ego trips, many of those jostling for power are already sorted in financial terms, so this is about the wider society. This struggle must be motivated by empathy for those who feel the impact of the actions and inactions, decisions and indecisions of the political power contenders. The current power grapple must concentrate on the deprived, those without a voice-except via channels such as these, this cause isn't about the satiated or inebriated. The authority jostlers must focus on positively utilising wasting human resources, as they must be concerned about turning around the fortunes of the forlorn and destinies of the downtrodden caused by successive maladministration.
Change is one of life's constants; it is possible to change from better to best, as it is possible to change from worse to worst. We need an urgent reversal of fortunes in Nigeria; we need a progressive change.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters