The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was right in his assertion that there is more to the protests than just SARS. This is particularly true, as the Nigerian citizens, especially the youths, have endured and stomached years of misgovernance, misplacement of priorities, truncation of the future of the youths and decay in the system. These, no doubt have pushed the youths into the streets to protest both the excesses of the governing class and the long silence of the governed class.
Nigeria, though the giant of Africa, has been at the bottom of development. She has continually retrogressed from fair to bad; bad to worst and may eventually delve into dungeon and oblivion, if urgent steps are not taken. The youths are fed up with the lousy ineptitude of the leaders, who have made themselves “sabre toothed tigers”, as opined by Gbemisola Adeoti, in his poem: “Ambush”.
Come to think of it, why do we pay attention to shadows, while leaving out substances? Why do our leaders and law enforcement agents pay more attention to the result of actions, instead of the causes? Why do we banter more on mere rhetorics, instead of making concerted honest efforts and engaging more of actions? How long shall we continue to grapple with such trivial things as food, shelter, security, roads and electricity, when sane climes have gone beyond mere developmental engagements? Why do we keep electing and reelecting people whose leadership prowls have been tested severally without matching results; thereby recycling errors?
A philosophical maxim has it that: “it is only a mad man that does the same thing severally and be expecting a different result”. It’s time for change. I mean, the real change for good.
In as much as one may want to blame the present federal government for most of the current anomalies, methinks that our problem is far from that. Some grammarians may want to call it “systemic” problem; hence, I ask: who and who are the components of the system?
Apart from SARS and the NPF, the entire political class has failed woefully and should cover their faces in shame. I will not be exaggerating to assert that Nigerian politicians travel more to the western countries than the politicians of any other country; yet, they learn nothing good other than how to keep their families abroad and loot the nation dry. They are only champions in stashing our collective resources in foreign banks; building gigantic houses all over the cities, emersing wealth for their generations yet unborn and moving about with high-powered security. Yet, they use SARS and other security operatives to intimidate, maim and kill innocent citizens that they are meant to protect and plead their courses.
Have you ever wondered why youths engage in crimes? Don’t you think that the “street life” phenomenon we experience in Nigeria, which is charatized by cybercrime and other vices can reduce to the berest minimum, if the government become more responsive, responsible and proactive in its objectives?
There are certain basic things we are not supposed to be talking about by now. Things like housing, food, roads, electricity, security, etc are supposed to be foregone issues by now. Instead, what do we get? Lies, deceits, politicizing of everything by the so called elected officials.
Sometimes, I wonder what our legislators do with the jumbo allowances they take home on monthly basis, when their respective constituencies are in ruins. Can’t each legislator embark on a constituency project that can better the lots of the constituency and even create employment for the youths of the constituency? What about the security votes of our dear governors? Yet, we have insecurity beyond measure. The challenges are enormous and have been highlighted by many right thinking individuals in different fora.
At this period that our youths are waking up, it is my wish that they never go back to slumber. In fact, the protests should be taken to the next level until they become a revolution. We must begin to hold our leaders accountable. We must not give them breathing space again. Let the youths stop settling for less, by taking peanuts from these corrupt and selfish leaders during electioneering periods. We must identify those selfless and development driven personalities and empower them politically; that way, we will be able to have responsive, responsible and proactive governance.
Is a media expert & educationist