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The likely reaction of most people to statements as we have it in the title of this article is a defensive reaction: “what do you mean by we either change or perish?” Yet the word is not mine, I was given! In the book of Proverbs 29:18, the Scripture says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepers the law, happy is he.” Nigeria is not in one of the best moments in history right now; we are almost pushed to the edge of thinking that we were better off in the past than now; yet, we understand that growth is an inherent feature of every living thing. Nigeria is supposed to be a living entity of a living people; hence, she ought to be growing in experience, realities, expectations and law making and lawfulness.
However, our corporate experience as a people has not been suggestive of growth or learning. We are rather behaving like the mad men who were treated for mental illness, but being considered for release. But before release, were subjected to mental test for mental alertness and social readiness. They were put in a bathroom with mopping sticks in their hands and a running tap beside them. They were instructed to mop the floor dry. But after a long hectic mopping exercise, the water was still everywhere and the mad people were still sweating. The truth is, the indicator of their mental rehabilitation wasn’t hard-work in mopping or more time for mopping; but in their awareness of the cause of flooding in the bathroom, which was the running tap.
Nigeria has been battered under the colonial masters; and having been “treated” for better life under the military administrations and few civilian administrations; we presume that we are alright and ready for a change of living and change of leading; however, we care less about the process of change and how to improve or review our change processes. Every nation transits from one leadership to another leadership through a civil leadership recruitment process. The better the process, usually, the better the conditions of the people.
Sometime ago, I watched a movie titled, “Gladiators”. A Roman Army General managed to escape for safety at the emergence of a new Caesar, who killed his own father to take the throne. In the long run, the General became a slave and subsequently, he became a gladiator. He needed to kill to live and he needed to make some people happy by killing his fellow slaves. Later on, the new Caesar wanted to “please” the people and he reintroduced the killing of persons by persons, reopened the Colosseum that his father closed and returned to the Gladiatorial Contests or games. The contests were like fun to the political elites and slave merchants; but to the slaves and ultimately the taxpayers whose money were spent on the daily “shows”, it was death and peril.
Some years ago, Nigerians were greeted by do or die politicians, whose political goals were bigger than our corporate existence and corporate prosperity. They pursued their ambitions without any consideration to the immediate and remote implications of their selfish ambitions. Some only came to realize their evils few years after. I was listening to the news some days ago when the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was asking for forgiveness from Nigerians. I wanted to ask him, “Forgiveness for what and what?” Then, the Vice President followed in the quest for forgiveness. The truth is, no matter how much forgiveness is sought and how much it found; the lives of many Nigerians that were cut-short by the “pockets of violence” across the country cannot be revived.
A nation where the death of two or three or five or ten Policemen, 22 or fifty citizens are referred to as little incidences of violence; is not too far from the cruelty of the Roman Empire. Elections are not supposed to be a means of accumulating wealth; neither is it an avenue for jungle justice. Nigerians must stop dancing to the gallery of the few politicians that are ruining the destiny of our nation. The 2015 General Elections have come and gone; but the negligence of many appointed and elected Public Office holder have brought us all to this place where we now have to adjust, endure, and even suffer. Those who did not forget to withdraw money from their accounts during the electioneering period; abandoned their “work” for the purpose of retaining power by all means.
United Kingdom had their own elections, it came quietly and left quietly. After the elections, some people resigned for their loss at the polls, and some people accepted defeat and victory as the cases were. Nigeria, has many things to learn from other nations, where things are done easily and quietly. I do not know about any English man or woman that had to be sacrificed during the elections; yet, there was peace. We cannot all be sleeping in one place and facing one place; there an urgent need for an overhaul of our national pride, esteem and values. We cannot continue to laugh and dance at political rallies; without asking questions about how the rallies were financed and the source of such finances.
During the Gladiatorial contests, some Senators were discussing about the future of Rome; they were amazed at the excitement of the people about the daily fights and the daily Royal rations of bread they all eat at the Colosseum. The Senators were worried about the increasing depletion of the nation’s treasury for the daily events and the effects it would have on the capacity of the empire to feed itself. Are we not in the same shoes in Nigeria? Elections have come and gone, but the petroleum products have become further elusive to ordinary Nigerians; the foreign exchange of our Nation’s currency is further depreciated. We now import almost everything we eat, drink and use for every activity.
However, just as God does not want any sinner to perish without repentance; I believe that we must not perish as a nation: for the days ahead of us can be the best in our national history. We must therefore change for the better; we must shun the collection of daily rations of breads from the politicians: for if any politician give you a portion of bread, he or she will collect it back from your present to your future in countless folds. We must not forget what happened at Ibadan after the Governorship elections; when a defeated Governorship candidate went to remove his installed transformer from a particular place where he was defeated. In short, the portions of politicians can not in any way be compared with the likely looting of the treasury by the same politician.
Therefore, for us not to perish or become exhausted in worth as a nation; we must stay clear from the stipends of the elites, in order to have mouth to correct their wrongs in our public services. I rest my humble, but firm and unapologetic case!