Japheth Omojuwa: Activists and active citizens: A new order (YNaija FrontPage)
When I get referred to as an activist and I remember the stories of the real heroes of our democracy, I apologize to their memory because I am not worthy of lacing their shoes in the park of activism.
You would think it was all about the progress of our land and the enrichment of the lives of our people but wait till the activists are done discussing “the way forward” for Nigeria. All hell will be unleashed if the organisers fail in their responsibilities to make per diem available to the participants. I respect activists and we owe our democracy not to the locusts and hawks who came to perch on the carcass of the nation left by the military but to the men and women, who fought and toiled, who talked and walked, who defied guns and bullets, bombs and incarceration to make sure the people of Nigeria have a say in who govern them.
These people are not essentially the popular ones who are able to get appearances on television and radio, they are mostly the unknown soldiers of the people who by virtue of fate and other factors within human control only find their names in the dust of time, thrown into space by the wind and never to be seen again. Even when seen, they are hardly recognized or identified as functional contributors to the quest that birth this semblance of democracy we now have.
Activism has since changed since then. These days, you become an activist if you are able to develop a powerful hash tag and raise enough vitriol on the establishment. I think I have done that before. I never and will never do this to be called an activist, I did mine because it was a natural response to being in a state where nothing works save for corruption and predictable government ineptitude. When I get referred to as an activist and I remember the stories of the real heroes of our democracy, I apologize to their memory because I am not worthy of lacing their shoes in the park of activism. I am saying all these because too many people are getting carried away. This is not a subliminal piece and if it hits you sorry but no apologies. Articles are about what is good about us that can be made better or what is bad that can be made good. It is like a church member who goes to church and then returns home to say the preacher was subbing him. Pray tell, if we don’t preach to ourselves, who do we preach to? Animals?
We need to raise the stake. We must know and always remember that nothing has been achieved yet. It is easy for the ever present social media attention to get into your head but when that happens, knock yourself in the head and retain focus. Activism is not a job, so get a real job. You don’t love Nigeria more than other people so do not let the fact that more people hear you get into your head. Like everybody else, you are dispensable. With or without you, this nation will rise if the people will it.
We cannot replicate the nonsense and lack of civility amongst the current crop of rulers that we regularly knock in posts, tweets and articles. We cannot condemn the pot for being black when we are in ourselves charcoal. It is tough sometimes to get people to see your point and while some see your point, they are just out to frustrate you not to agree with you. You must decide what you want to achieve and go for it. Remember, if it is about this country, you cannot do anything without people and you cannot achieve much if you are poor. If you are a jobless activist, you are always going to need a paying job to be focused. We need to redefine our purpose, our focus and strategy. Above all, we are not activists in any sense of the word, we are at best active citizens and even then we must take our activity offline. From the depth of my heart, have my best wishes.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.