Japheth Omojuwa: Can Nigerians be aroused…again? (YNaija FrontPage)

As a people we must come to realise that we are on our own. We must come to see that except we re-distribute political power by empowering ourselves nothing will change.

Nigeria needs a shake up and that really must happen fast. I have come to the point where I totally believe this system deserves to crash. It is unsustainable and those at the helm just do not care what happens to those at the lowest rung of the pyramid as long as they are insulated from the several menaces that have caught up with this country.

I cannot begin to outline what the major challenges of this country are. Do we talk about the now familiar insecurity that has become the norm rather than the exception? Is it about the fact that an average resident in the north expects to be bombed at any time of the day or at best endure sporadic gun battles as though they were part of a 3d movie audience. Do I begin to talk about the biting poverty or the fact that the inflation rate has since taken a plunge since January’s fuel price increase? Considering the fact that income has not changed since then for most Nigerians, we are certain to know that the majority of Nigerians that were poor before January 2012 are as a matter of projection poorer now. It is simple to understand, money loses value during inflation. The National Bureau of Statistics stated in January that there were 112 million poor people in Nigeria. That figure was computed from the national economic indicators before January. By inference, many more have plunged into the poverty circle and those who were there are actually worse off now.

As a people we have since become used to bad news, bad governance, corruption and all the attendant ills. Never in the history of our country have we the opportunity to change things. More than ever before, we have access to information we never even dreamt of less than a decade ago. We can now organise ourselves across the divides and boundaries that once separated us and given the will, we can be the change Nigeria craves. As far as the conventional system of governance goes as we have it today, we are on our own.

Take the church bombings that have come to take centre stage every Sunday. You half expect a bomb to go off somewhere in the north – from Jos up to Borno – yet these things seem to catch our National Intelligence men unawares. If there is anyone that really cares about the menace of terrorism, kidnappings and general insecurity in Nigeria, that person is certainly not in government. If that person is in government, the individual must really be helpless; either that or whoever that is, does not care. No matter how you look at it, the solution to our major challenges has defied our government. If the government cannot provide the solution, it then falls on the people to sort things out.

As a people we must come to realise that we are on our own. We must come to see that except we re-distribute political power by empowering ourselves nothing will change. Throughout history, the masses have ridden on the crest of certain events to force change. Israel rode on the plaque that hit Egypt to ride their way to freedom, English workers were forced to change the order of their society in the 14th century after the Black Death plaque wiped off the majority of them and the people went mad. They demanded more rights and powers and got them. This eventually started a cascade of events that birth the industrial revolution and indeed the Western world as we know it today. History is replete with moments like this and Nigeria’s I believe started in January. We must not sleep on the wave of January’s powers and possibilities; the Nigerian awakening that began in January was an initial foreplay that got us all aroused. It appears our strength has since waned or is it a case of retreating? Whatever the case is, it is time to get ready to re-order the course of this nation. The time is now and Behind the Cloud will focus on this path hereon.

This is @omojuwa 

   Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


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  1. This is an article I wrote on my blog:

    Dear Friend

    A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine floated a poser on Facebook. He was canvassing for a State Police in Nigeria, just like in the USA. My take on his poser went beyond the idea, but the fact that Naija is a peculiar creation, where things that seem innocuous at conception becomes a behemoth in creation and administration! Why, I cannot fathom. I lay it bear in my thoughts, and I come to the conclusion that it is a leadership/followership problem that has become endemic within our psyche and it would take more than mere simplistic poser to cure.

    I have lived in the UK for going to 22yrs now and I have met all sort of people from all sort of nations …our people(Nigerians-both leaders and followers(if there is any)either by some force of generational curse, extra-terrestial factors, self inflicted, wicked, selfish and corrupt leadership or for whatever reasons, have shown a surprise resistance to change. Its a case of 'wont change,cant change syndrome' I cannot see change for now, or for another 'not-in-my-life-time' generation.

    I lay the fault 'majorly' at the doorsteps of the unfortunate leaders that have occupied the very zenith of our Nation!

    Take a cursory sample of the various 'rulers'…dead and 'undead' (allow me to use this word, cause the ones that are alive, are not really alive to the people's needs and aspirations, so I call them the undead), their mentees, their children, and those who are being set in motion to be in the corridors of power. You will see how unfortunate we have been. It is as if fate has conspired against our Nation State. However, in some other nations of this world, you will see an evolvement of potential leaders who even by stealth are coming up slowly and nearing and or certain of taking over the mantle of power. You would see leaders coming up at defining periods of the nation state or re-building of the nation, leaders who somehow are probably 'fate-born', rising up to affect and effect the emancipation of their people. The Churchill in war, the Abraham Lincoln in the abolition of slavery, in the efforcement of human rights and dignity of man, even if by war, the Charles 'de Gaulle in dogged fighting Nazism, Nelson Mandela in standing against Apathied, Mahatma Ghandi in freeing India, Martin Luther King Jnr in setting the prophetic pace of black 'de-segregation' with his 'I have a dream' classic. Somehow, those people in those nations, by blood and sweat. have taken by the scruff of the neck their destinies in their own hands.

    However, finding such a figure in our country, especially at this time in our history, where a strong, benevolent, insightful, leader with integrity, compassionate and confident character has become frustratingly evasive. Alas, I can say here with great sadness 'with regards to leadership, our prayers have not been answered in Nigeria…simple'

    Even though, I have been living in the UK for this long, I have been travelling to Nigeria every year and in the last 3 years, I have been travelling on a rate of twice a month. My friend, I won't lie to you, for now, and with the kind of 'leaders' we have, I make bold to declare that this ship is still at the port, and it has been so for 52 years At times it seems she is sailing but somehow a God-forsaken character from somewhere nowhere will just pop up by one unexplainable arrangement and take the wheel of the ship and 'sail-reverse' us back to the port. Nowadays, I feel the ship has been abandoned at the port and the Captain is taking a holiday in Acapulco, sipping a glass of margaritas of amnesia!. Our leaders have refused to lead and the followers have refused to follow. We simply have no captain and the passengers have jumped out of the ship for dear life, and those who cannot jump are listening with stoic grim Sir Arthur Sullivan's Propior Deo 'Nearer to thee my God…! Our leaders just need to take time to look back, and they will be amazed that no one is actually following them.

    What I cannot understand is, why is it that we Nigerians, at least a majority, cannot just mange power and authority? For example, try and put ordinary people in uniforms, you would be amazed the un-manageable transformational mess. A classic example is LASTMA. I used to be one of the supporters of a state police(even though I know that even in the US there are short comings). However, for now I am having a re-think. My view is that in Naija…it would bring doomsday closer to an apocalypse! Its a world's end scenario without the 'rapture' We would all be in a place called 'purgatory' without either being in hell or heaven! Take the closest example to a state police- in Lagos, they call them Lastma(Check them out on Youtube). Some of them are the most corrupt, unruly, uncouth, thieving, wicked thugs I have ever seen that would parade the streets of Lagos. These people are just miscreants in uniform. You need to see them fully 'manifest' . They will take bribe, force okada/motorists off the road for the most trivial of all excuses and their actions and inactions have contributed to many undeserved injury and premature death. This is despite the fact that the legislation setting them up was in good faith, they are more or less a pain in the bums of the citizenry. They are simply asses! You would have taught that if everyone is calling you an ass, you would take time to check your bum! I pity the Governor, who is really doing his best against all the odds. That is just one minuscule example of abuse of authority.

    It now seems weird that anyone who dares to think, that he can think(pardon my tautology) about this 'Nigeria' experiment/project to a logical conclusion will develop a state of social, political and economic migraine. Today, that project/experiment can only work if we go back to the table…some call it National Conference, Round Table etc, 'I don't give a damn', (a la wink wink) we must go back and talk and redraw and rethink the basis of our leadership. There must be a re-negotiation with our leaders, and the essence of leadership must be looked at again. I do not see any thing wrong with our laws, constitution, and the system of government. My take is that we need to look at ourselves, everyone. We must consider the leader and the led, the Government and the governed. We must teach the philosophy of change and the antecedent factors that led us to where we are, and embark on training on human sensibilities.The training of the mind set.

    I desire a strong Nigeria with a leader who is capable, not ceremonial (not one that only takes joy in reading budget speeches that were written for him(and he just reads out), who goes around cutting tapes, strolling down a parade of guards, grinning from teeth to teeth, junketing the world with baseless pomposity and engaging in sycophantic samba with no music.

    I desire a Nigeria where everyone has an equal right, where everyone can speak up, where everyone has basic human rights and everyone is confident that his hard work will be rewarded. I am sorry to paint a picture of doom, but in a state where you cannot predict what would happen in your neighbourhood in the next second, I am right to say that we must quickly jaw jaw or else we will war war. We are on a quick sand and no one is throwing the rope. The critics have shouted and their voices are shouted down. We are in a hole, we must stop digging. If the foundations be wrong, what can the righteous do! Our prayers, with regards to leadership in this Nation State is not being answered.(to be cont'd)

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