(By Timothy Ajiteru)
“One thing that is recurrent in the history of freedom is that freedom always starts by one person or a group of people voicing out their opinions about oppression. For instance, the fight for our independence started by a group of committed Nigerians speaking out, demanding freedom. Obama is a black American President today because people such as Dr. Martins Luther King Jnr. spoke. In his second-term inaugural speech, Barrack Obama said: ‘For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth’. The coming revolution will not be an exception.“
FORMER President of Nigeria, General Olusegun Obasanjo has turned himself into a prophet in the recent development in Nigerian polity. Take for instance, long before the Pandora’s box of embezzlement ravaging the oil sector was broken, he had prophesied that some of the Nigerian senators were rogues. And how do you know a true prophet? It is when what was prophesied is fulfilled. Lo and behold! What did we see? It soon came to light that even the so-called ‘Mr. Integrity’ among them has a case to answer.
Not long ago, he came out again to prophesy. This time, not about rogues but about the coming revolution. He warned the elite politicians of whom he is one. Whether he himself is afraid or not I don’t know. But one thing that is certain is that he will soon be proved right again whether these politicians like it or not. We have heard of French revolution, Industrial revolution in England, Liberian revolution, Cuban revolution etc. I think the next is Nigerian revolution. Most of these revolutions have been bloody and brutal. However, the elite politicians including Obasanjo himself can heave a sigh of relief. The coming revolution in Nigeria will neither be bloody nor brutal. It is a mental and political revolution.
As 2015 election is fast approaching— though some think it is too early to talk about it, to me it is better now or never— Nigerian youths should wake up from their slumber and care free attitude. They should get ready for 2015 election. This time, not as thugs, assassins, riggers or campaign materials, rather as decision makers, aspiring leaders and revolutionaries. It is high time we decided the kind of future we want for the coming generations and ourselves. I am rest assured that the stage is set much more today than ever.
By the way, whom can we call a youth? According to the advanced learner’s dictionary: Youth means a period of life when a person is young especially the time a child becomes an adult. Another of its definitions says the youth are young people considered as a group, for example, the nation’s youth. The youths have been up to the task in the history of mankind. They always rise to the occasion whenever the need arises. They are strong, agile and always in the forefront of battles. Look around you, even in the armies and sport circles they look out for youths. Therefore, we Nigerian youths must not shy away from our responsibilities, leadership and decisive roles in Nigerian polity. This time around we must take the bull by the horns and stand to revolutionise Nigerian politics in 2015.
The followings are thoughts on how to go about it:
We must change our orientation about Nigeria politics
People usually say politics is a dirty game. This idea has been sold to us over the years and has scared many well-meaning Nigerians from politics. I want to say politics is a good and clean game, which we have left so far in dirty hands to play it dirty and rough. Now that we have sat down and watched these dirty hands play it dirty for years to our own detriment we must rise up to show them how to play it clean. We must play according to the rules. We must avoid their corrupt practices, greed, and selfishness for a better future.
We must come up as a group in our localities
Charity they say begins at home. The youths in my community have recently been coming up as groups and clubs. They task and engage themselves in developing projects like constructing street lights and house numbering, even long before the Lagos State government decided on numbering of houses. This is commendable. Our coming together must not only be on frivolities. We must begin to take leadership position and responsibilities in our communities. And to some of us that think we are educated and highly sophisticated, we must humble ourselves enough to relate with youths of lower educational background some of whom may be okada riders, bus conductors or petty traders. Everybody has something to contribute. We must all come together to liberate our nation from the hands of bad politicians.
Involvement in local politics
The local politics at ward levels which is the focal point of politics in this country has been left for too long in the hands of old men and women in our communities many of whom are ready tools used by corrupt politicians in our nation to achieve their selfish ends. We must work skillfully and move with tact into this local party politics by joining political parties in our localities and influence decisions to our advantage.
Mobilising other youths into politics
We must begin to mobilise other youths that are non-challant about politics in our discussion one on one and as groups. We must use the modern technology of social media and other media of communication to get ready. All of us may not be politicians but at least let us begin to prepare the minds of youths towards this task. We must be actively involved as aspirants, party members, campaigners and voters. Even the electoral officers, majority of who are always youths must be mobilised to do their jobs with honesty and transparency. They should refuse to be influenced by corrupt politicians.
We must speak out
One thing that is recurrent in the history of freedom is that freedom always starts by one person or a group of people voicing out their opinions about oppression. For instance, the fight for our independence started by a group of committed Nigerians speaking out, demanding freedom. Obama is a black American President today because people such as Dr. Martins Luther King Jnr. spoke. In his second-term inaugural speech, Barrack Obama said: ‘For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth’. The coming revolution will not be an exception.
We the youths must begin to speak out about the state of the nation. We must demand a change from the norms in Nigerian politics. We must secure our freedom from the cabals and the cartels, who have turned Nigeria’s treasuries into their private kitties. We must demand our leadership roles in Nigeria polity. The future belongs to the youths. We must make our voices known and make choices count during the coming election. The earlier we started the better.
We must stay united
Another important thing we need is brotherliness. Whether you are from the North or from the South or from the East or from the West, we must see ourselves as one. Do not see an Hausa or Yoruba or Ibo or others as a threat to your life and ambition. We must forget about the past and forge ahead in unity towards a new Nigeria where everybody will be treated with equity and justice. We must not allow these selfish politicians to divide and rule us by religious, ethnic or cultural differences. Most importantly, we must not allow anybody to sell his or her ageless hatred and frustration to us. We must think differently.
We must be God-fearing
Most of the time when people misbehave, they leave God out of the equation. Check very well, when people embezzle, steal, cheat or even kill, the creator is not in the equation because he will tell you not to steal, cheat or kill. But science and modern thinking believe that you can play God in your own life. We should allow the creator to play a role in our individual and national life. It is only then that we can make a sustainable progress. The fear of God, they say, is the beginning of wisdom. We should follow Godly principles that we make us disciplined and good people. To become effective leaders, we must be disciplined and principled.
From world history, freedom has never been given to any set of people they fought for it. Leadership roles have never been given out free. They were demanded. Nigerian youths with new and progressive orientation and as vanguards must fight for the next election because it will not come on a platter of gold. This fight is not with guns, cutlasses, or bombs but with our active participation in the election and in politics in totality. We must be bold and courageous. Every Nigerian youth must see himself or herself as a revolutionary. We must believe this cause and be confident. It is only then we can see it happen. If American youths rose and demanded a change in 2008 and got it and even now for the second time yes, we too can. Political revolution in 2015, yes, it is inevitable!
• Timothy Ajiteru is a registered nurse residing in Lagos.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”