Can Nigeria ever be better? Can the country I was birthed into many years ago improve from where it is now to a better state? Will there ever be a time when her most promising ones find refuge in her and make her great instead of finding the way out of the hell of a country? Will there ever be a time when we would not remember what it was like not to have electricity, like my dear friend Joseph Adeosun once predicted?
These questions and many more pour into my mind every day, making me stare into the open, numb with consciousness at the happenings in my immediate environment. Two years ago, the school management of Obafemi Awolowo University (my Alma Mata) gave the students the ultimate shocker: they hiked the school fees of fresh students by over 300 percent and then went later on to increase that of her returning students.
For a few days, the student body stood up and in the best way they could, fought valiantly against this act of “oppression”. They staged a few days of protest until the management yet again did it; they shut down the university after just a day of protest (such a drastic action is only supposed to be taken after 72 hours of protest).
But the valiant students would not be dismayed as they stood still yet and fought and such they did until…things started to fall apart. In the heat of the struggle, they could not with a singular decision come against their “oppressor”. Instead, a good majority of students only wanted out and to go home. They did not want any part in the struggle. Months later, everyone sat at home, been more like conquered men than champions.
The act of selfishness and self-centeredness displayed from that experience only made me wonder if ever we would prevail over the forces of corruption in Nigeria. If at a small scale like in the university environment, we could not stand as one, as a united force to demolish the gates of the stronghold of oppression from the management, how then would we surmount the evil forces in our dear country?
If majority of Nigerians continue to exhibit a nonchalant, I-don’t-care attitude to issues, we would continue to have a ticking time bomb of a country. How much more shall we continue to be shoved, beaten, tricked and dribbled? Will we continue to look on while our motherland is laid to waste by political bigots, terrorists and a corrupt cabal? I don’t know how much longer we would continue to fold our arms and wait for a supposed saviour to come and deliver us from ourselves.
Until a few years ago, I had an unswaying belief in a better Nigeria, these days, that belief is far becoming a mirage. Instead of taking up a cause and pursing its fulfilment with all our hearts, Nigerians only prefer to ‘settle it in the place of prayer’; praying against demons, spirits and witches that have stood on the way to their breakthrough and financial prosperity like the Goliath of Gath.
A little digression here though, not that I don’t believe in the power of prayer to change the nation, I also believe in the active engagement of ourselves to make a change. Where is the fighter spirit in us? Where are the Nigerians I saw that took on the Federal Government in January 2012? Where are the Nigerians that hold their leaders accountable for their actions with government funding? Where are the Nigerians that say no to corruption, injustice and political and religious bigotry?
I use this as an opportunity to awaken us to come alive and arise to be all God wants us to be. We can be more than this. In us is the potential to be the most desirable nation to live in and transact business, in Nigeria we can realize the dream of our founding fathers, in Nigeria I believe. So I say to all Nigerians, arise and fight!