Post January 2012 successes of #OccupyNigeria and Lessons for the Illuminators ~ Omojuwa

Published:15 Feb, 2013


This has largely been dominated by the communal efforts of the Illuminators to shine the light within. In 2012, Nigerians raised over $200,000 to meet the medical expenses of fellow citizens in critical need of medical help. I bet you know nothing of the many #SaveCitizens drive on Nigerian social media space where at regular intervals citizens raised funds ranging from about $13,000 to as much as $40,000. I don’t know how significant this sounds to you but it is significant where I come from. I had donors send money to me personally to help contribute to the accounts of the likes of Jude Osemeke. Please Google #SaveOke, #SaveJude, #SaveMusibaudeen to mention but a few. Needless to say these activities were hardly reported in the conventional media but it does not take away the fact that Nigeria’s Illuminators came together at different times last year to solve problems other than taking on the government for its bad policies. This new order was also at the forefront of ensuring that today we do not have a five thousand naira note. The Presidential spokesperson has indeed made direct and veiled references to them in his many attack-dog mentality driven articles.

The elements of the #OccupyNigeria movement were also on hand to speak for the people of Makoko when the Lagos State Government decided to evacuate them from their Venice-esque water surface abode. More recently, it is hard to deny the influence pulled by the movement to save some 1500 children in Nigeria’s Zamfara State. Tagged #SaveBagega, a campaign to bring attention to the endangered children of Nigeria’s lead poisoned Bagega community of Zamfara State. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan had since April last year promised to make the funds for the remediation of this community available. That had not been done until the 21st of January, 2013. The Illuminators started a deafening cry on the 22nd and within a space 48 hours, via several moves beyond social media by the various personalities involved in the campaign, the President yielded ground. He released the funds for the process. When the reports came out in the conventional press, there was hardly any mention of the efforts of the several thousands of Nigerians who brought the issue to the fore but no one would care because this was all about the children in need.
This group of young people can of course do better and be better organized. They can engage better and be better refined. I am not convinced they are aware of all they have been able to accomplish in the past months but I am certainly glad they are not celebrating anything yet. For them, it appears the 2015 elections would define their essence and their generation. I have chosen to write about them as a third person because this is the view of someone who has been able to take a deep look at these activities over the months despite being a part and parcel of this movement.
The Illuminators can do a lot better than they are doing and it’d help for them to take a look at their own mirror. We want change so bad it sometimes beclouds our ability to see some things a lot more clearly. We would do better isolating issues rather than attacking persons. We will be better served defending values and principles rather than defending personalities. We must of course develop individual competences, be financially independent and know from the get go; the battle for the soul of Nigeria will not be exclusively won on social media. They must indeed build alliances and networks with conventional organisers. The quest for change in Nigeria should not be as though it is a competition between a generation and the other or between the old ways of getting things done against the new way.

We cannot excuse some mistakes on age. We are not exactly as young as our country wants us to feel. This is actually the reason was set up; to raise the bar by focusing on truly young people doing great things. Yes, we may have a geriatric class leading the youth arms of political parties and groups, but that is not for us to fall into the delusion that we are young. We are not. We must take better decisions, we must outgrow our excuses and we must do this expecting no gain whatsoever save for the opportunity to set our country on the path of true freedom, inclusive governance and everlasting prosperity.

11. Deadly Delays for Nigerian Children via @HuffPostWorld
12. Nigeria to tackle worst ever lead poisoning this week-senator via @reuters
13. Success is not enough, Greatness is everything! ~ Japheth J Omojuwa @omojuwa | Naija Teenz via @naijateenz

Being part of paper presented at the Free University, Henry Ford Bau ,Hörsaal C, Gary Str. 35, 14195 Berlin, Germany | Japheth J Omojuwa is Editor


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