Ohimai Amaize: Like toy soldiers (Y! Politico)

by Ohimai Amaize

United

If you want to find young Nigerians who are bitter and angry with the Nigerian “system, Twitter is the place. I am, equally, on Twitter and I am an angry young Nigerian too. But I’m doing something different about my anger.

Nothing unites Nigerians like football. The patriot is easily awakened – in any Nigerian – the moment any of our national teams is locked in a battle of supremacy with another country. From the cadets to the senior teams, the fervour is the same.

When Nigeria’s national teams are on the field of play, Nigerians are united behind them in prayers.

Nobody cares how the players were selected. It doesn’t matter if the goalkeeper is Hausa or the captain of the team is Igbo. Nobody wants to know how many players are Muslims or Christians. Nigerians just want to watch a good game and see their beloved team win.

Some weeks back, the widespread joy and celebration that heralded the emergence of our Super Eagles as Champions of Africa is a clear pointer to the fact that the idea of Nigeria as one united happy nation is not a myth. It is indeed, a reality.

Nigerians love Nigeria. You know how passionate Nigerians are about this country when it’s Kenya against Nigeria on Twitter.

In the run-up to the Nigeria versus Kenya 2014 Brazil Qualifier, there was a humorous – and, not so humorous – tug-of-war on Twitter between citizens of both nations.

Nigerians brushed aside their political, religious or ethnic affiliation and, together as one united army, unleashed fire and brimstone on our friendly Kenyans. It was one salvo the Kenyans will not forget in a hurry.

The Nigeria-Kenya saga reflects the power of the Nigerian spirit when we come together united as one in pursuit of a common ideal.

But why is this impossible in politics? Why do we turn against ourselves with bombs, guns and daggers when it comes to the politics of how we should build a new Nigeria?

Let me focus on the youth space, which in the next six years will remain my primary constituency, as according to the National Youth Policy, I am still a youth until I’m above 35.

More than ever before in the history of our nation, there has been an awakening of youth consciousness in politics especially through the social media revolution.

If you want to find young Nigerians who are bitter and angry with the Nigerian “system, Twitter is the place. I am, equally, on Twitter and I am an angry young Nigerian too. But I’m doing something different about my anger.

While some of my friends have chosen to channel their anger at insulting politicians and everybody in government, I am striving very hard to make a difference in my little sphere of influence.

As young Nigerians who love this country, there is so much we can do working across party lines and reaching out to people who share different political views, different religious beliefs and, diverse, ethnic affiliation. We can do so much to impact this country not by the volume of our anti-government tweets per second but the value of ideas we constantly bring to the table of constructive engagement.

Today, it is impossible for anyone in government to engage our generation on social media without getting abused or insulted. If truly we are the turning-point generation, our ability to intellectually engage our governance systems on issues ought to be one of our greatest assets. Unfortunately, gossips, insults, cheap sleaze and rumour-mongering have taken the place of intellectual debates on social media.

We vent our anger at anything or anyone that disagrees with us. We demonise people we do not even know based on our worldview of what we think is the ideal. We condemn and fight systems we do not even understand in the name of freedom of expression. How can we be the generation that thrives in the age of so much information and yet exhibit such little knowledge?

How can we construct a new nation when we occupy ourselves with the business of tearing down people we dislike on social media? What really do we hope to achieve with ours Masters and PhD degrees in Destructive Criticism?

Eminem must have been referring to us when he observes in Like Toy Soldiers: “It ain’t just words no more is it? It’s a different ball game, calling names.”

How do I convince one brother that the time he spends on Twitter “subbing” the ruling PDP government could be spent building strategic alliances with young Nigerians who are equally passionate about this nation?

How do I get my rejoinder-loving friends across the blogs to understand that Mr. Fix Nigeria is not their problem but also a young Nigerian who loves Nigeria just as much as they profess?

Barack Obama said: “We can disagree without being disagreeable.” Is it too tall a moral?

How does one pass across the message that we are soldiers on the same mission but when we turn against ourselves in our journey to rebuild a new Nigeria, we are on our way to crumbling like a pack of Eminem’s toy soldiers?

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Ohimai Godwin Amaize is popularly known as Mr. Fix Nigeria, Amaize was born on September 9, 1984. He is an alumnus of the premier University of Ibadan, Nigeria with a post-graduate certificate in “Managing for Integrity”, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. He is a registered member, People’s Democratic Party. He tweets @MrFixNigeria.

 

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

Comments (6)

  1. I agree essentially with Henry. I follow Mr Fix Nigeria on twitter and i honestly find in him a true passion for Nigeria. I however dont trust him because his party is everything wrong with our country.

    Criticism constructive or otherwise is common in all developed countries of the world. People abuse Obama all the time, Kanye West even just did. What our leaders in Nigeria fail to understand is that their lives immediately they step into office have become public property. Every action must pass not only the legal test but the moral test as well. To give state PDP governors one million each for lunch might be legal but the morality of it stinks to the high heavens. Same also goes to the pardon of Alameysia

    In essence, our duty is to talk and that we shall continue to do in whatever way we can (though am not a party to destructive or vane talks that serves no purpose). Majority of Nigerians are angry with your party and very disappointed with the President of our country for his very many school boy decisions that makes you even question the PHD he has.

    We Nigerians and me particular argued passionately that he should be installed as president when the late Yaradua was sick; nobody accused us of criticism then but crticising his actions now and that of his ruling party has suddenly turned destructive

    If our leaders start doing well, we will also stop talking ill of them, it is as simple as that. We are angry and disappointed and an angry man doesn’t talk nicely.

    @mrfixnigeria,i only see your tweets when something is done well by the government. For all other misdeeds, looting, corruption and very bad polices the government and by extension your party has either condoned or taken, your normally mute

    To show your integrity youngman, you must speak up against your party in the vast majority of occasions where the government (your party) to put mildly has been down right insensitive to the flight of the populace

    1. Whoa! Such witty comments from Mr Arinze and Henry! There’s really nothing more to add. I’m not an advocate of destructive criticism but what has constructive criticism fetched us? NOTHING! Ohimai u always tout about how u have joined the PDP to make a difference as against those who aren’t doing anything but hurling insults. But I dare 2 ask u ‘what values do d PDP uphold as a political party that portrays any genuine motive’? Probably u are one of those that hope to reposition the party in the future. I wish u all d best, but till then.. Nigerians won’t just sit back with folded arms and watch the country disappear b4 their very eyes.

      As a true patriot u claim to be, you’ve got to speak up when the leadership (PDP) makes ill-informed decisions. But I guess u would rather keep mum or risk losing ur political appointment from ‘ ur PDP.’

  2. Good article to a very large extent.

    Something worries me in this one-sided article, which was developed from a one-sided thought process.

    You, and the rest of your friends in the ruling party, are quick to spot the “insults”, “abuse” and “anger” thrown at the people in position that we all expect good governance from. You have strategically and methodically refused to for a second push the spotlight on the reason why these “Children of Anger” ( a phrase that our mutual friend, but sympathizer of the ruling party, Uche Chuta loves to use as description at every available opportunity).

    Let us take for example the Presidential pardon granted the impeached fugitive ex-Governor of Bayelsa State, and the arrogant manner in which the Presidency waved off the concerns shown by the people. If you are as honest as I believe you are, don’t you think that particular example is enough reason for the “Children of Anger” to take out their anger in any legit manner that comes their way?

    Food for thought. Don’t expend so much energy on the reaction, push some of it in the direction of the action that birthed it. Under normal circumstances, you find a solution by tackling the problem, you stop a reaction by taking out the action. Tackle the problem first and see if you won’t get a positive result.

    1. You have said it all bro, am still waiting for when I will see the energy of those giving good advice to the government being utilized, all we have had so far is a cry for us not to insult but constructively criticize, but yet to see any positive action from the ruling party apart from their propaganda, like some people are just tired of talking and nothing changes.

  3. Well said bro! Like I have often said, the easiest job in Nigeria is to be a social/political critic, a job that hiolds no value especially if it is been done sentimentally, and with bias without offering solutions.

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