Cowards die many times before their death, the Valiant never taste death but once.’ -Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)
Only a weirdo sits to watch the Nigerian television Authority in these days of colour, flare and fun- The love for edutainment is dead but being the weirdo that I am, I was glued to the program airing on the NTA- It was a program about understanding religion better and a Sheik stated that the true meaning of Jihad was ‘The ability to look leaders, bosses and superiors in the face and tell them that what they are doing is wrong.’- The word Jihad has been mistaken as ‘the fight against infidels or people who do not share the same faith’ by local Muslim faithfuls in Nigeria; those who have extreme beliefs take this further to the level of terrorism. I have never doubted the fact that Nigerians and Africans need to fight but I do not think the fight that is clearly needed is that of physical violence but the fight to have a logical mind which can discern between good and evil, ineffectual and effective, performance and mediocrity- a mind that is purpose driven and has a clear vision of its goals, objectives and mission.
Permit me to explain why I believe that there is a need for ‘strife within’ for an average Nigerian. Nigeria is at a point in its existence where there is need for clarity on issues- The country is currently bedeviled with terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and Ethnic prejudice and only sane leadership can change the path of destruction in which we are headed but instead of Nigeria’s political leaders to proffer solutions, they are more concerned about their selfish preservation of the serf- master relationship than any other sensible actions to be taken. Nigeria needs a clear path to salvation and this can only happen when we have leaders who are critical thinkers, presently the crop of leaders are not fit to be called thinkers much less critical thinkers, it is pertinent that we need a paradigm shift in terms of the type of leadership we have or continue on this road to destruction whose only present guide is hypocrisy- It is abnormal that a nation with elites and political leaders who do not care about the well being of the citizenry are most times defended by the same citizens to the point that it causes heated arguments that leads to hate and fights; it is unimaginable that the poor people in Nigeria seem to love their cruel and vindictive political elites than they love each other.
Over 30,000 deaths have been recorded as a result of the activities of terrorists; daily, hundreds are killed and many more lives are lost to activities of bandits and sometimes untamed herdsmen. It has become normal for citizens to feel unsafe in their country. What most Nigerians are not aware of is that the death casualty figures being recorded in their country surpasses that of war torn countries and that there is a social contract which states that the citizens have a right to live, a right to protection of lives and security; as such if the government has failed in this regard, it has failed in it’s primary duty to it’s citizens but let’s look at other aspects asides the devastation caused by terrorism and discuss the economic situation of the country, truth is, there isn’t much to be excited about either in this area and a critical look at the economy will warn one of an impending gloom- Gloom because the poverty index of the country is said to be multidimensional, which means that a greater percentage of the Nigerian population live in abject poverty and there is no policy drive to change this- there are no programs in place to ensure that we attract FDI (foreign direct investment) neither is there a drive to ensure that entrepreneurship is encouraged. Local manufacturers are still battling with electricity issues and multiple taxation at the federal, state and local government level is sending companies out of Nigeria and this all points to one thing- failed leadership- So one begins to wonder, why do the Nigerian masses subscribe to partisan views ahead of commonsense and objective reasoning?
Permit me to state that the Nigerian situation isn’t devoid of solutions, far from it- our challenges can be tackled and effectively brought under control if we had leaders and political office holders who have the interest of the masses at heart but the situation becomes complicated because even the masses seem not to have any common interest worthy of focusing on- We are lost as regards what we want as a people and obsessed with self survival to the point that the concept of commonwealth is alien to us, each individual is constantly struggling to get what he can from the government that the interest of the people is most times lost in the process of politicking. Let’s be factual, how many Nigerian’s ever think ‘We’ before ‘me’- The ‘we’ aspect seems an alien concept in which the average Nigerian have come to abhor- So let’s ask the question,’ how can people exist when the sense of communalism is dead and societal values erode fast because of selfish interest?’ Answer is, such a people are heading to destruction and doom if they don’t have a change of heart and ways. There are no two ways to building a great nation than for the people to realize that collective interests must be at the forefront of agendas of the country and that no politician is worth being placed ahead of the delivery and actualization of our collective interest. There is a need for us to fight the urge to allow partisan views, ethnicity, tribal differences and political alignment sway us from given objective performance evaluation of every political office holder and public servants.
We must fight, Yes we must! We must fight that love for oppressors who masquerade as friendly political allies but deny us the benefits that we should enjoy as citizens. We must hold public officials accountable as regards campaign promises and manifestoes- We need to demand better as a people and let these set of elites know that we weren’t created with the sole aim of accepting substandard leadership. We must learn to condemn acts and policies which do more harm to the majority of the people than any good- there is a need to purge our mind the ability to make excuses for the failure of governance. We are in perilous times and there is no favour in urging an incompetent leader on, there is no loyalty in depriving our political principals the access to the truth. As a people Nigerians have suffered enough and if we are not suicidal, we must stand up, face our leaders and tell them the obvious truth at any cost available- We must tell them they have all failed and henceforth we will not tolerate such mediocre leadership again but before we can do any of these, we have to tell ourselves the truth and fight the presence of hypocrisy in us. A life not examined is not worth living and it takes a lot of internal struggle for a person to be objective- Let us fight the sycophant in us, let us fight the hypocrite in us and let us fight every selfish motive that makes us give excuses for failure. We are running out of time and we do not have the luxury to take good leadership and goals oriented governance for granted.