2015 seems to be the ultimate target and goal for politicians and Nigerians alike. The race began a long time ago. 2015 is on everyone’s lips. 2015 is the Holy Grail, it’s what’s trending. Before one or two sentences are made about the government, 2015 always comes into the picture. If one could create a year by just saying it often, 2015 would be done and dusted by now. Even GEJ, from all indications, wants to run for presidency in 2015. Opposition parties are gearing up, the countdown has begun. For 2015, it’s all or nothing. Many have even predicted riots during that period. Judging from our history with election violence, who won’t?
Now, even young Nigerians look forward to 2015. For many, it’s one of two things: when it gets worse or when it gets better. It’s a cycle shey? We vote our candidate in for 4 years (assuming the election isn’t rigged) and then he fumbles. We then begin to rant and curse, clamouring for change. We feel powerless to do anything else. Occupy Nigeria was our only exception, our ‘almost-revolution’. This pattern is bound to repeat itself starting 2015, even if we vote in the so-called better opposition. It seems Nigeria is condemned to a cycle of failed leadership. What then is the solution?
We need a mental revolution. The way some Nigerians think, you would want to believe that we deserve this crop of leaders we have. We need new stories, people to inspire us. Poverty has eaten up the conscience of most and those who are still sane, are too scared to act. To change anybody, it starts with their thinking. To change Nigeria, we have to start from our thoughts. We need the ability to let go of old thought patterns and traditional ways that have kept us back for long. Tribalism is one of these evil thought patterns. All Nigerians need a massive mental shift.
Governance starts with you and I. Government simply is what we do together, that we can’t do alone. You and I are the government. Active citizen participation is what a nation needs to move forward. We cannot always wait for these greedy, grabbing and corrupt leaders. They are obviously not the people we can rely on for a better Nigeria. Let’s not wait for 2015. What can we do, right here, right now? Our change may come in trickles, but it shall surely come. Do not underestimate your little actions, for an accumulation of these will create our tipping point. When we go over that tipping point, a new Nigeria will emerge. So what can you do today in your area, a sector or in your local government? Get to work and accomplish it. Remember, you are the government.
Emerging leaders. Many young Nigerians still say that they will never go into politics. My question is, who then? Do want these greedy old men to rule us forever? They will if given a chance. Nigeria is left to you and I. Now is the time to start planning and strategizing. Form groups and create coalitions. Learn what true governance entails and equip yourself with leadership skills.
Knowledge. The power of knowledge should never be underestimated. Do you want to change something about Nigeria? Then get knowledge. You will need to rightly equip yourself with it’s history, it’s leadership and the right ways to go about it.
Forget 2015. The clock has started ticking. We have a huge task ahead. Let’s start now.
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#opesays is a column published every Friday on this website.