The present season is preparing to transform, clearing the stage for a new year and anticipating the lunar change. As the harmattan struggled to kill the ink that penned this piece, I recalled that in other places like the UK, Canada and USA, friends are paying somebody, something or some firm, to remain unfrozen. Owners of coffee cafés, tea shops and sizzling foods smile each night when a trial balance of the day’s business is drafted. It’s their season to enjoy escalating patronage. This is the time when, if they are as nice as the heater appliance companies, they offer fringe benefits to their apparently hardworking employees. But when such businesses experience a loss in a favourable season like this, the action movie effect happens. Meaning that people get fired! So there is no need for questions when you see all heat-energy-production-related firms suddenly become more innovative, offering you more than you’ve ever asked for. They are simply preparing for change. They are just maximising current opportunities and utilizing business instincts favoured by weather conditions.
Manufacturers of sweaters, suits, heaters, mugs and the likes do not usually experience idea shortage in this season. Instead, knowing which strategies to choose remains their major problem. They know that whether or not their salesmen increase their persuasion capacity, common sense will teach consumers that spaghetti wears and short body hugs are not winter and harmattan wears. They know that human sartorial needs will be mainly guided by requisite comfort rather than fashion names. They know that the current climatic conditions on the earth is offering a blank cheque to them (and their competitors) right now. But they also know something they cannot change- something that drives them to meet their set objectives this season. They are aware of the change of season that will follow the arrival of the New Year. So, they have to prepare for the oncoming tougher times, when nature will bear no prejudice towards them- a time when their consumers will go totally stylish again.
By next year, a lot of things will change globally. The world, for instance, will get greener. Maybe 2011’s Santa Claus will wear green robes tucked into green trousers, green belts, green socks and green boots. Guess what? He might just ride on a green Porsche Chariot, so start getting your kids prepared for the psychology! In accordance, I’d suggest that all Nigerian Father Christmas clowns that claim to come from (or were deported from) Rome be shopping for green white green materials. Next year is the big year for “anti-magarism” as more anti-cybercrime initiatives are already being incubated. It should be a year when Magas (duped persons) will not so pay much. So, if you have a Maga around you, tell them they are enjoying their last earnings! There’ll be a lot more seizures of yahoo merchants in 2011! All internet fraudsters will face more criticisms and punishments at a global level. It will be a war against negative creativity. We will fight it with everything we have.
Secondly, because my tea is growing cold, let me briefly say that next year, more heroes will be found in our country. To many, Mr. Lamido Sanusi is a hero. If not for exposing the underground crimes of some bank chiefs and saving many I-would-have-committed-suicide customers from irreparable financial crisis, then it would be because he dared a group of people who possess the power to dismiss him from his prime CBN job. Simply put, he advised the almighty mobocratic national assembly to reduce their salaries. Truth be told, these fortunate citizen-elected lawmakers are prompt to rebuke their critics. And just as we expected, they caballed and asked to have the Chief servant of our Central Bank before them for panel questioning. Personally, I respect their sacrificial lives and appreciate their willingness to make and amend our laws for the good of all. But I do not approve of how they compensate themselves. If you live sacrificial lives that attract overcompensation, as revealed in how much we hear you fixed as your remuneration, then your sacrifice has been hyper-sugarcoated. Now, tell us why every Nigerian should not want to vie for the positions you occupy, if such offices offer the legalised opportunity to become a rich government worker. But before I wander off the subject, let’s return to our hero list.
Prof Dora Akunyili, the iron lady, did well at a particular point in timeline. When she stepped aside from the league of Yar-Adua-is-in-perfect-health citizens, Nigeria raised an eyebrow. She verbally confirmed that as the then Minister for Information and Communication, knowledge of the president’s whereabouts had not reached her. Of course, we all suspected that Mr Musa Yar Adua was really leading us from the confines of a hospital bed but no singular government icon could articulate it. Many were afraid to say anything. And those that spoke either said something like, “Yes, I shook hands with him. He’s doing fine and recovering gradually.” Someone else, exaggerating his sorry level of acumen said, “I saw him wearing guinea brocade. He even fetched water with a bucket from a well.” Guess what? I nodded and said in agreement, “we are fools that can be spoon-fed with fables told by the fireside aren’t we? And you, you must be the leading fool too, for handshaking a sick man, wearing him a fabric and watching him fetch water from a Saudi Arabian well while in comma.” I didn’t say much anyway. But, I said more than those who didn’t say anything.
Not occupying any government offices, Uncle OBJ and Bishop Oyedepo said their piece on Newspaper. Yet, more lies flew out of Abuja to everywhere. When one landed on my doorstep, I picked it up, dusted off the fallacies and was left with nothing. Blatant lie! Even our occupational lawmakers, having adequate copies of the constitution on their house tables refused to do what it said. Instead, they waited until the former Mr President joined the list of dead-in-office presidents, big deal. This year, a few more judges did their work properly, sending some people to jail and restoring the governorship mandates of others. Raji Fasola, I fan among the governors. Not because he has made a very big difference but because the changes that have befallen Lagos in his time, no matter how little, is scarce around here. Lagos state now seems to be the yardstick for measuring the impact of governors in Nigeria.
No doubt, we have seen some unexpected changes this year. But next year, we hope to see more veteran thieves get caught by the elbow, more rigged elections exposed and more leaders replace inefficient rulers. The days of ignored injustice are gradually coming to an end. Nigeria has gone through a lot of trials and Nigerians have had a hard deal at life, enduring tough times and adapting to seemingly impossible living conditions. We have had enough. Now, we want to see a difference. We want a developing nation, a favourable habitat and not a business directed by perfect pilferers and concealed looters. We want our leaders to think about the future and if possible, change their greedy hearts. We believe that change is possible. We know we could become a better nation. And this is what we ask for, hoping that it’s not too much: dear leaders, stop the looting and start the leading!
It seems Nigerians have suffered enough. This year has witnessed more ruthless but rightful judgements. We have seen the mighty fail prey to nemesis. And regardless of what the agents of retrogression are already scheming, it seems that nothing will stop the change that must happen next year. Like I recently heard someone say, “We will fight for it. We will refuse everyone who antagonises it. We will defend our future.” Personally, the only way to remain in this country is to move it forward. Instead of watching some clowns run the business they have termed Nigeria, we will rather resign from the business. But since we know that our children’s children will question us in future, seeking to know the part we played, we will clamour for this meliorism until it delivers transformation. They say a wise mother hen will not watch the flying hawk arrive before she puts her chicks away instead; she will hide them before the abductor arrives and fight back if necessary. We must learn from the wise mother hen and strategise. And our strategy is not hard. Simply put, it is just about speaking out! In 2011, be heard! Be felt. Be real! If like me you won’t do much, just do what I’m doing. Say something about it! Our future depends on many things but mostly, it depends on us. If we don’t have any other thing, we have our voices and we will use them. Let’s sustain this ignited change until the truly new and great Nigeria emerges. God bless Nigeria. God bless the work of our hands!
These ideas were written by: James Lisandro Jnr.