OPINION: In the Season of Worse Before Better. By Abdulmumin Yinka Ajia
I took a break long before the just concluded month of Ramadan and especially even more so during Ramadan. As a concerned Nigerian citizen, I decided at a particular point to take a back seat and watch events unfold from a ringside position. And what I have seen, read or heard over the last two months, the nation continues to haemorrhage and politicians of all parties continue to act silly.
Over the last two months and long before then, many Nigerian politicians have continued to demonstrate that they are undeserving of the positions of responsibility in which they found themselves. 27 state governments are presently either unable to pay salaries or paying parts of it, yet Nigerian politicians, particularly those in the National Assembly and the various state assemblies are collecting their salaries and are yet to develop a genuine sense of outrage against the injustice meted out to the working poor.
Commodities prices continue to skyrocket in modern Nigeria and yet no prominent political figure is offering any policy direction and to do lists of what needs to happen to get us off this inflationary trend that is eating what is left of our peoples' disposable income.
Our energy situation has not shown any remarkable progress and yet career politicians are clueless on what and how to increase our energy capacity. Bottom - line, as a nation, we have endured and continue to endure almost 56 years of stunted growth, the question is: How long are we going to lay down for career politicians to continue to trample on us and our commonwealth?
A Call to Action
My call to action goes to those Nigerians born during and after the civil war. My apologies to those who were born before the war and who are also concerned about the state of affairs. I have my reasons for addressing primarily Nigerian's post war generation. As a member of those born few short years after the war, Nigeria has only worked for a few years during my lifetime, from the tail end of General Yakubu Gowon's government to the era of General Murtala Muhammad to that of General Muhammadu Buhari which ended in August 1985.
As a young lad in 1985 when Babangida took power, I followed his activities and pronouncements religiously. My mother belonged to a generation of Nigerians that had newspaper subscription back in the day and our Newspaper Vendor faithfully drop off the major national dailies every single day back in the 80s and up to the early 90s. Through these newspapers, The Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, New Nigerian, The Herald, and The Daily Times, I followed events as they happen in Nigeria. 31 years after, my conclusion has always been that Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida's government and duplicity set the ball rolling for Nigeria's descent to anarchy and incompetence.
In spite of this conclusion, the generation born after the war have a duty to themselves, their children and grand children to not accept Nigeria the way it is and to fight for a Nigeria that is possible.
Ask yourselves if there are up to 50 Nigerian politicians in office fighting for you and your family? If the question is no, then it means you have to get up and fight for yourselves. One of American's founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson - may be foreign to our shores but the words he spoke over 200 years ago is as true then as it is now. When Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time by the blood of patriots and that of tyrants, he wasn't just speaking to an American audience, he was speaking to all freedom loving people everywhere.
It is incumbent upon the post war generation in Nigeria to demand to be taken seriously and work to create a new Nigeria out of the old order. As anyone who has been a part of organizational re-engineering let alone national re-engineering can attest, change is a most difficult thing and it requires long term commitment and resolve. Yet, as we demand for change, we should be clear about exactly what we want. The most important part of this envisioned future is the evolution of a partnership between the Nigerian leadership and the Nigerian people. As we fight for a more just nation, we have to place as much responsibility on ourselves as we place on those who are representing us in office. Part of the responsibility that we as citizens have to take seriously is the payment of our taxes and adherence to established rule of law. On the part of our elected representatives, from the President down to the councilman or woman, we must insist that politicians live according to the available resources and fight to make their salaries and allowances commensurate to what is obtainable in the general public service. Serving as President, Governor, Council Chairperson or legislator should not be a license to unearned wealth, the commonwealth must be made to work for every citizen not a privileged few.
The post war generation have a choice to accept Nigeria the way it is or to work towards a radically different, economically buoyant and tolerant Nigeria where all men and women will be treated fairly, with respect and given the opportunities to succeed. As it should be clear by now, I am one of those who have refused to accept Nigeria the way it is and I have an abiding faith that if we come together, we can turn this around.
May God continue to bless Nigeria and the Nigerian people.
The Author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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