Change We Can Believe In

by Chinyere Ugomma Eze-Nliam

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure”. Thomas Jefferson

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Edmund Burke.

It may come as a surprise, even shock, to some but I have not always subscribed to the idea of one Nigeria. I have always viewed Nigeria as a mere geographical expression, a north and south joined together by an umbilical cord called United Kingdom, an umbilical cord which has since cut itself off and left us to our perils. Having since abandoned this segregated line of thinking, I seek to impose my message of change in a people so cynical, indifferent and completely inundated by the happenings in, around and out of Nigeria. The sheer magnitude of cynicism, negativity, passiveness and pessimism which unfortunately pervades the average Nigerian makes it an uphill task to pass this message across. Pessimism which engenders passiveness is a social ill that destroys the very fabric of our essence which in this context is the courage to take matters into our own hands. Our leaders have nonetheless capitalised on this mindset.

The culture of impunity which pervades our polity is not only inimical to progress, development and well being, but is also repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. And there’s just so much nature can tolerate. Thus, Nigeria is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode, and when it does, no Nigerian home or abroad will be spared the consequences. So its either we let sleeping dogs lie for fear they will bite if they awake or force them awake and brace for the bite. Either way, we’ll surely be bitten. So why don’t we get bitten doing the right thing?

According to Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it”. This mentality of “siddon dey look” has to fly out the window. We are too complacent about issues which touch and concern us as a people. Nigeria belongs to Nigerians and not to the OBJs, the Babangidas, the Dangotes, the Ubas and definitely not to Turai and her spouse. It is indeed a shame that Nigerians who are known to be enterprising in all their respective fields and endeavours are unusually lackadaisical in addressing the various issues that plague us and demand accountability from our leaders. Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (which by the way is in dire need of reform) declares that the security and welfare of the Nigerian people shall be the primary purpose of government. It is however a notorious fact that our leaders are leading us to a destination worse than hell and to a fate worse than death. The incredulity of it all lies in their atrocious commission of acts that are so egregious as to shock the conscience of a reasonable person. But as long as we do not bend our backs, no one can ride us like donkey.

Impossible is what no one can do till someone does. There is a French saying, “Impossible n’est pas francais” Impossible is not French and neither should it be Nigerian. The proverbial turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck. Unfortunately, in life, there is no elevator to success. We just have to take the stairs. The hard way is the only way out. Something within us all is revealed when we’re pressured from without. The legendary bird Eneke nti oba once told his friends, “Men of today have learnt to shoot without missing and so I have learnt to fly without perching.” Chronic diseases require drastic treatment but our people say that we do not abandon war for fear of getting shot. It took only one woman, Mary Slessor to stop the killing of twins, a feat that was considered impossible by the missionaries. Barack Obama turned the White house into the Black house. In other words, it just takes a few good men to turn around the tide no matter how massive.

I do not believe that change can only come through the political empowerment. Change does not come in big leaps and quantum. Change does not come sounding horns and blaring trumpets. Change does not come in blasting AK 47 and targeting our politicians. That scene belongs to a Rambo movie. Change will not come by looking at the other person instead of to ourselves. MJ said in man in the mirror, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change”. Change comes in our little corners, in our daily lives and activities, in our seemingly mundane tasks and in our duties and obligations as citizens. Simply put, chers amis, change comes only in doing the right things. Imagine a scenario where every Nigerian carried out their duties conscientiously and without soliciting hand outs, paid their light and water bills, went for their lectures and sat for their exams without looking for a lecturer to “sort”, spoke their minds on issues without fear or favour. That is the vision of Nigeria we should all be angling for.

The pen they say is mightier than the sword but action speaks louder than words. I am wont to believe that this generation has the potentials to usher in this wind of change, for the mere reason that we grew up in a functioning Nigeria. We have seen the before and after Nigeria, the two sides of the coin. For that to be achieved however, our mens rea and actus reus must be at par. In other words, our thought processes coupled with our movement in the right direction must be contemporaneous. Let the concept of “Igwebuike” anchor deeply into our subconsiousness for in our unity as a people, there lies our strength. We are like the Lilliputians united against Gulliver, like David before Goliath and like the Isrealites before Pharaoh. But how do we expect to win if we never try? Barrack Obama has taught us that nothing is impossible to him who not only believes but acts on it. It behoves us and indeed it is high time we passed from rhetoric to action. If not, 20 yrs from now, we’ll still be venting our frustrations and anger on Face Book and on the pages of our dailies.

Nevertheless, regardless of our location, our differences and divides, we are one Nigeria. We can decide to change our nationalities, skin colour and names but we can never change our roots. So live or die, home or abroad, good or bad, healthy or ailing, rich or poor, we are still one Nigeria for life. As usual, I rest my case.

Nigerian and proud

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