We must learn to use our supposed enemies to fight our own battles. There are times we will need them to open doors we cannot open just because we do not yet have the keys they have.
It is possible to have a country of many activists but it not possible to change a country solely on the efforts of activists. Supposedly ordinary citizens must take up the challenge if they want their destinies in their own hands. The era of depending solely on activists for the change we crave has since suffered the blow of oblivion. Activists especially in Nigeria are limited by politicization. It is easy for a government to claim activists are being sponsored by certain elements but it would be harder to claim the bulk of the citizenry is being sponsored if they all rise in demand for the change they need.
We want the best things of life for ourselves, our families and our country; we must be wiling to pay the price of building a truly democratic nation. Greatness is not offered on a platter of gold. It is a process that requires all of the good of our abilities, channeled at the right point in time and for the right purposes. We must pick our battles. We cannot afford to be distracted by every sound from the market. To do so would be to dissipate our energies over inconsequential matters.
The quest for a better Nigeria is not essentially about us but about coming generations. Many of us want quick results. Quick successes soon fade away except built on unshaken values and principles over time.
We must learn to use our supposed enemies to fight our own battles. There are times we will need them to open doors we cannot open just because we do not yet have the keys they have. If we care about the lives of our people and the people of our country, we must be prepared to work with even people we’d rather rot in jail. This is a country not a village. We cannot expect that only good people will be useful in our quest for change. If the clock is right twice a day, bad people I want to believe must have their own usefulness for good purposes. This has worked during some of our campaigns and it will work when deployed with the purpose in mind.
Active citizens are the future of Nigeria, not activists. Until we can call an army of Nigerian citizens especially its youths active citizens, we have not begun the process of truly deploying power. We may be influential today but we still do not have enough power to do a lot more good. That should be our focus. To have Nigeria in the hands of those who care, to take it away from a President like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who thinks corruption is not the problem. Today, the incentive is to steal from the national purse because there is no punishment whatsoever for corruption. Impunity is the order of the day. We all know this is not how to run a nation. Having said that we cannot just assume we will do a better job given the chance. We must try our hands at getting things done in our own little spaces. We must develop competence and capacity at the things we do. We must look to benchmark ourselves against the world because only then can we truly say we’d deliver a world class nation given the chance to lead. Whatever we do, we must never get carried away. It is indeed necessary to appreciate every step forward but we must not dwell on past successes because of a truth they are in the past.
I am speaking to myself as much as I am speaking to my fellow Nigerian citizens as much as I am speaking to you here in Berlin. If the world is a global village, a time would come when we’d come to accept the fact that as much as our cultures are vast and far apart, as much as our economies are a contrast from one another, we must as a people, as a generation answer the questions of tomorrow together. In a borderless world, our differences will not matter as much as what makes us one. Our differences at that time will only matter as much as they are useful as our source of strength. We don’t have to wait for a tomorrow we are not certain of when we can begin to build the bridges of that tomorrow today. Thank you Berlin for hosting me.