“Elections have consequences”, as Barrack Obama, former U.S President once warned his people. We are living through the consequences in Nigeria. But it seems to many that we still don’t understand the implications (of elections). Yes, elections that have been producing dealers rather than leaders. Dealers who care less about the country they lead as long as next election is guaranteed.
Despite the multi-party system a legal luminary, Gani Fawehinmi fought for us, the country seems fixated on a pendulum of two-party system. If the legendary Cicero of Esa Oke were to describe the two dominant political parties in power and opposition now, the APC and the PDP, he would have described them as two fingers of one leprous hand. They both offer no glimmer of hope of a better tomorrow, which Ngugi Wa Thiong’o says “is the only hope you can give a weeping child”. Now the nation is apprehensive that the change the governing party, the APC, promised since 2015 has become a mirage, after all. Yet, no one would like to pray for the opposition, the PDP to return to power; the power they wielded for sixteen years the locusts ate.
Certainly, we are not making progress. It is still a celebration of mediocrity and an audacity of cluelessness and incompetence in an age of disruptive social technologies that now shape the wealth of nations.
That is why I would like to join concerned citizens in encouraging the young ones, who are angry with the present ruling class and the power elite in the country to ORGANISE instead of AGONISING. I have been reading some views of some young Nigerians who daily organise and haul insults at some elders who dare to accuse them of emptiness and lack of organizational ability in their quest for change. Therefore, I would like to appeal to the angry elders on the need to spare our rods against the youth at this time for some specific reasons.
One, I am persuaded that the youth too have been remarkably inspired by so many unethical behaviours they have found in us, (their elders). There are young ones who have found wealth without work in numerous parents and relations. Many young students know they did not pass their post-primary final examinations used for dubious admissions into the universities and polytechnics. They know the elders who arranged their admissions. They knew how much some parents paid for their dissertations too. Some old lawyers have been caught while helping some young lawyers to sit for final Bar Examinations. In this country where we condemn the young ones for too many unethical behaviours, there are so many elders and even unethical professors who assist candidates to enrol for doctorate degrees and arrange theses to be artfully ‘defended’ in some strange universities.
Many young ones and wards of political leaders know how much their fathers paid some unethical senior ministers in the Temple of Justice (lawyers) to settle judges for even gubernatorial mandates. I know so many (retired) directors and permanent secretaries who knew about how much some colleagues paid some cabals in the federal bureaucracy to pass promotion examinations to be directors and permanent secretaries.
In this new world that innovative technologies daily disrupt, our children keep their ears close to the walls that they now know have more digital ears. They know us. It is curious therefore, how we expect them to be better than us, ethically. It is hypocritical too to expect them to prepare to take over and do better when we too have failed to organise significant succession arrangements on our various beats.
How do we expect them to register to vote when daddies and mummies too have never educated them about the consequences of elections? How do we inspire our offspring to value and embrace democratic recruitments and change processes? What do we teach our children when we continue to tell them at home that politics is a dirty game but we will support an old man who was a leader 35 years ago to be a ‘New Sheriff in Town’ whose integrity is an open body language that can produce electricity without investment?
And so, I would like the Office of the Citizen now being activated everywhere to encourage the youth to ORGANISE instead of AGONISING as Nancy Pelosi, former U.S Speaker, House of Representatives once advised on preparation, strategy and organisation. Instead of condemning the young whose teeth are set on edge because we their fathers have eaten sour grapes, we should tell them some harsh truths. But the elderly mentors should be more resourceful in meeting them at the points of their needs, even in the social media where they spend most of their time.
Instead of castigating them as efulefu (worthless), we should advise them to come out of the social media cocoon, seek registration centres where they can get permanent voter cards (PVCs). We need to tell them about the power they have to change their present condition through their PVCs.
The young unemployed graduates need to know that poor and clueless political leadership that enhances poverty in the land begins with election processes. And the only specific exercise that can change that is participation in the processes. They also need to know that the current dominant political parties that should encourage them to register to vote, especially in the South, would not care a hoot about possession of PVCs. They know how they win elections without the organic balloting.
Behold, the young ones in the North who are always made to register en masse require a different kind of political awareness about the power they possess to vote out those who have always impoverished them. The elite in the North register the poor as voters to retain the status quo. But the ones they always vote for after collecting paltry N100 to N1000 for four years tenure will never plan education for them. They keep the poor perpetually while as was said before here, they (the elite) dispatch their children to the best schools in the West even as the poor millions are made to promote books as haram (abomination) (Boko Haram).
It is time to mobilise all the good people of Nigeria now who have not been spoilt by the sustainable prejudices – to adopt many young Nigerians into collecting data, yes, facts and figures about this country that needs urgent redemption songs nurtured by actions that should put the Locusts Generation to shame.
And the only way to put them to shame is to ORGANISE young and passionate Nigerians to embrace what Senator Saidu Dansadau (Zamfara) noted last week as Good People’s Party that would know no zone.
Yes, it is time to chase away these dealers, these election riggers who have underdeveloped an oil-producing nation into an oil-importing nation. These leaders who are not ashamed of rushing their sick children into emergency wards of private hospitals even in the nation’s capital where they claim there is a national apex hospital should be voted out of office.
That is again why the youth should come out of their shell, register their ‘weapons of mass destruction’ called PVCs to vote out all these workers of iniquity including most of the audacious scoundrels in the nation’s parliament.
Granted that it is not going to be easy to displace a ruthless political class in a country whose oil(y) corporation has produced so many wealthy men without work. But it is possible to overthrow them as long as good and God-fearing men and women are involved. The clarion call is: Oh Ye Youth, lend me your ears: don’t be afraid of their ‘war chest’ (their big election budget). Your PVCs, which are more powerful, shall make a way for you.
There are cogent reasons why we must mobilise our young ones to be involved in the electoral processes at the moment. Most of us belong to what Wole Soyinka once described as a “wasted generation”. I mean a generation that now remembers only the “good old days” our dealers have ruined.
So, we should not allow the bad elders who underdeveloped Nigeria to confuse us with their shenanigan that Fela Durotoye, for instance, is only mobilizing the youth because he wants to be president. No, that is not the point at issue today. They will always demonise young town criers because of the few, unprepared young mediocrities they have tested and have failed under their so-called watch.
I believe we should organize the youth to deepen their understanding of what the alternative political actors are repeating daily that Nigeria can indeed be a significant world power if we are rightly led. We need to emphasise to the youth in Nigeria that Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth. And she is the only glimmer of hope of the black race. Even the iconic Nelson Mandela, once quoted here, reminded us about this before he joined his ancestors. Mandela said to us:
“The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence”.
But the young and good but complacent people should note that unless we get involved in the political recruitment/electoral process, Nigeria will forever remain a reference point in teaching and sermonising on potentiality. This is not a time to denounce the country and its electoral processes that have discouraged millions. This is why the locusts always return to loot our future.
Consistent data analysis always shows that there are about 90 million Nigerians who are of voting age. And so specifically from the 90 million, we already have about 70 million registered as voters. Sadly, only 28 million votes were counted in 2015. Fela once asked pointedly, “What happened to the other 40 million votes?”
Some have noted, they were protest votes of those who did not see what they wanted in the two average candidates then. Therefore, here is the real thing: those who have not obtained their permanent voter cards should stop AGONISING: They should obtain their PVCs today as the bombs we need to blast these wicked dealers out of office and power.
So, student and youth organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals should get involved in mobilizing the wailing graduates and skilled people who have no jobs that they should stop reading (from) the book of Lamentation. The restive youths should get involved, go out and acquire the weapons called PVCs: they will make a way for all of us – for a new Nigeria that even the Trumps will respect as a source of pride and confidence for the black people of the world.
But what we should wear as a badge of honour this week is the nugget below that has been trending across platforms. God bless the author I don’t know.
“Your PVC is not just a means of identity to open new bank account. It is actually a priceless weapon that you must use to fight for your life. Therefore, create time to visit the INEC office in your location and register. Hurry now, obtain your PVC today and begin to see it as a powerful tool that must be used. If you are too busy to register or too big to vote, just remember that you are not too big to be ruled by thugs…” Can you beat that?
First Published on “The Guardian Newspaper” on Sunday January 14, 2018.