Survival in Nigeria, the plan, the crack and the fix.

I Believe We Can Do Something

Being the text of the speech by the project initiator at the inauguration of the emancipation – Nigeria project

on the 28th of June, 2003 at Ota, Nigeria

Emancipation-Nigeria: The Vision

The vision is clear. It is to salvage Nigeria from the state of coma and precariousness that it has found itself due to the insecerity and selfishness of the ruling class. It is a vision to bring an end to Internal Colonialism and Tyranny (ICT), which today manifests itself in democratic dictatorship, perfectly embedded in democratic oligarchy where only a very few amasses the nation’s wealth and a very large proportion of the nation wallows in abject poverty. It is a revolutionary vision to turn things around and see to it that Nigeria stops being a reproach but begins to take its rightful place of pride among the comity of Nations. It is a vision to make the Nigerian people free, happy, realised and fulfilled and make Nigeria great – the Nigeria of our dream.

We have a common enemy in the present ruling class, which must firstly be made to deliver and ultimately be shown the way out to usher in a leadership that is just, focused, service-driven and most importantly, people-oriented.

The Nigeria of Today

The Nigerian State is greatly blessed and extensively endowed, both with Natural (both Agricultural and Mineral) and Human resources, which naturally would make any Nation an envy of the world. But it is a pity; our dear Nation is in a shambles. We have become a reproach and are not only poor but among the poorest nations of the world.

I reckon that the present-day Nigeria did not just happen. It is an accumulation of many years of waste. It is on record that to Obafemi Awolowo, even in his days, ‘the Nigerian society is for him full of various corruptions, injustices, divisions, classes, poverty and ignorance, etc. The majority of its people are unhappy; they are suffering and sad as they remain unrealised and unfulfilled.’ The situation has not improved today but has, instead, taken a worse dimension.

Recent records have it that 2/3 of the whole nation is under the grip of abject poverty. This translates to about 80 million Nigerians, going by the estimate of 120 million population. Today, ‘65% of all Nigerians are poor, while 75% of the rural population are poor (60% of all Nigerians earn less than $1 per day); life expectancy hovers around 50 & 56 years, adult literacy is 40%; while about 70% of the rural population lack potable water and basic healthcare facilities among others.’ Whereas only about ‘2% of the population controls 55% of the nation’s wealth’. This is pathetic, and what can best describe Colonialism?

The government does not in anyway protect the interest of the masses but those who have all along been entrusted with the leadership of this nation at all levels, except for a few of them, have simply used the opportunities for personal aggrandisement. On a daily basis, our government comes out with policies that do nothing but add to the untold hardship the people of the country are passing through. Those at the helm of affairs are totally detached from the people, turning themselves into tiny gods, and the government is entirely and grossly insensitive to the plights of the populace. Our government uses force against the people who of course are the essence of any governance.

Contrary to the provision of the constitution that ‘the state shall within the context of the ideals and objectives for which provisions are made in this constitution control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity’ and that ‘the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group’, the ruling class has erred that they deceive the populace to vote them in, only to get to office to loot and enrich themselves, and continue to impoverish the people and bring the Nation into a great disrepute.

In the Nigeria of today, nothing is working and every structure is collapsed. The power sector is a capital failure. In the past four years, the Federal Government claimed to have spent about N200 billion on the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) but power supply has in no way improved, it has rather deteriorated; leading to high cost of production and indeed high cost of living for the populace, thus compounding the poverty in the nation. There is gross insecurity pervading the nation. The Police are ineffective, as they are only been used by the ruling class even against the populace they are meant to protect. Our Educational system is collapsed, from the primary level to the tertiary level but this heartless ruling class sends its children and wards either to schools abroad or to private institutions owned by themselves and for themselves. Unemployment is on the increase while political office holders are earning a fortune, even for doing practically nothing. Our Health care system is sick whereas the ruling class, at the expense of the people, goes abroad for medical check-up every now and then.

The economy has been plundered so badly that the National currency is of no meaningful value any longer. Corruption has gradually become Nigeria’s second name as we appear on top in every corruption index, bringing shame on us as a people anywhere we turn in the world. Walking through our streets would reveal a people frustrated, worn-out and agitated, even in the midst of plenty, which a few ruling cabal has hijacked and used for their own personal gains.

The general well-being of the Nigerian people is pathetic while the ruling class goes about unperturbed, milking the nation and ruining our fortunes.

We need to rise up and do something

This is the high point of this address. In a time like this, something needs to be done to arrest the situation. Enough! -Of the insensitiveness of the government. Enough! -Of dictatorship in our land. Enough! –Of the suffering of our people amidst plenty. Enough! –Of the plundering of our resources. Something revolutionary must be done and be done NOW!

According to Isaac Newton in his first of Law of motion, ‘a body will continue in a state of rest or motion unless it is acted upon by a force’ and the vision of this project is to act as a force which will push us from our state of rest and of complacency, to constitute a force that would bring the body of tyrants ruling us to an halt in their present state of motion of ruining our nation. We cannot afford to continue to fold our arms and look on, as a few individuals wreck our heritage and plunge us further into great ruins. I believe we can do something. This is our country and not just some people’s country. We have a collective responsibility to salvage Nigeria and make Nigeria great.

As put up by existentialist philosophers that an individual plays the role of an actor as opposed to that of a spectator in the issues of life and existence and that it is only by acting, we bring meaning into existence, I want to state categorically clear that in the issues of this nation, you and I must now refuse to be spectators but actors, to effect the needed change and usher in a new lease of life for our people.

The truth is that history will simply be repeating itself in what we are ready to do. During the reign of terror of Louis Napoleon in France, it was the French people who rose up and proclaimed their freedom and a new republic emerged. In the days of Martin Luther King (Jnr.) when there was a great discrimination against the Blacks in America, the people rose up, spearheaded by King (Jnr.), and liberated themselves from the discriminators. During the apartheid days in South Africa, the likes of Mandela and Sisulu rose up to the challenge and won Freedom for the people. And ultimately during the rule of external colonial masters in Nigeria, the likes of Obafemi Awolowo and his compatriots rose up and sensitised the people to fight for independence.

Men & women of my generation, this is our own chance with history, to change the course of things in our Nation and bring to an end Internal Colonialism, Democratic Dictatorship & Democratic Oligarchy. One truth is that Power lies in the people, and in this case, I mean the people of Nigeria and only we, the people, can determine what happens to us. We cannot afford to leave a few insensitive people to continue to determine our fate. We can do something and do it NOW. Nigeria has the capacity to be great and it depends on you and I. Like Nehemiah of Old, who rose up to build the walls of Jerusalem from ruins, I beckon on you all most sincerely, come and let us build up NIGERIA that we be no more a reproach.

Our Mission

It is clear from the present situation of things in the country as have earlier been enumerated, we certainly now need a National Re-birth. The mission of this project is thus as clear as the vision. The task of rebuilding and remaking Nigeria is that which we will concentrate our efforts and intelligence till our aims are achieved.

It has clearly been seen that the ultimate problem of this nation is leadership and as someone has rightly said, a nation cannot rise beyond its leadership. We have a leadership that is ignorant, insensitive and self-centered. A leadership that adores mediocrity and lacks ideas of good governance, but have held us bound for years as Internal Colonial masters as it can be seen that the same set of people have been ruling for the past 37 years, only changing attires between ‘khaki’ and ‘agbada’. As such, our mission is to get rid of the present ruling class, and usher in a leadership that is idealistic, just, focused, service-driven and people-oriented in order for Nigeria to rise and its people become a happy people.

Our mission is to adopt a two-edged strategic approach, one directed to the people and the other directed to the ruling cabal. This will culminate in five action plans, which are as follows:

  1. We are to empower the people by embarking on a mass enlightenment programme for the populace. Really, it is not to empower them because power lies in the people but we are to bring the power to effect through education and enlightenment. The truth is that no force can stop a knowledgeable and determined people. Like Ronald Regan put it, ‘we must realise no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women’. And it is by knowing the truth that you can be set free. So, we are to let our people know the truth and bring the power that lies in them to effect to fight Tyranny in our land.
  2. We shall put the present ruling class on its toes to deliver. As someone said, ‘the onus is not on them to deliver, ours is the responsibility to ensure that they deliver or leave our resources and lives immediately.’ We shall fashion out strategies to box them into a corner, making sure they deliver. And as we continue in this, we will gradually work towards their extinction and usher in an egalitarian society with a leadership that has ideas, is just and has the people at heart because the people is the whole essence of the society for which the government is put in place.
  3. We shall have a think-tank arm to fashion out economic and socio-political remedies which shall be the panacea to our present predicament and the framework as well as the guiding order for the new dawn when ushered in.
  4. We shall in our own little way contribute practically to the needs of our people. This will show our sincerity to them and in a way show the present ruling cabal what governance is all about. In touching their lives, we will touch practically every area of human needs covering food, shelter, clothing, education, Information and Communication Technology, etc.
  5. Lastly and ultimately, we will embark on concerted and strategic efforts of prayer because it will ultimately take God to effect the change. He rules among the nations, He rules in the affairs of men. Only righteousness exalts a nation and no one is righteous but God and He is the only one who can impart righteousness.

I reckon that all these will not take a day to be effectual, as it will not be a day’s job to have the Nigeria of our dream; we only have to be patient but resolute and dogged. History is in our favour. From generation to generation, the people and truth have always prevailed and tyrants, with their tyranny, have always been overpowered.

Round pegs in round holes

At this juncture, I will like us to know that not just anybody can be part of this task of National remaking for it will only take a people of a different spirit to make a difference. Only a changed man can bring about a change. Many youths have imbibed the culture of ‘if I can’t beat them, I’ll join them’ and are, as such, unfit to be part of this project. Like Awolowo once said, ‘ the remaking of Nigeria is a task that calls for probity, dedication and courage of a very high order, in addition to rigorous planning, spartan discipline, and exceeding industry. In other words, the remaking of Nigeria is feasible only if we, first and foremost, remake and recreate ourselves; striving constantly to lead ourselves out of the unruly promptings of the instincts, and liberate ourselves from the “tyranny of the flesh” in all its octopoid dimensions’.

We must be ready to serve, lay our lives and write our names in gold; leaving behind us our footprints on the sands of time when we leave. Never must we allow ourselves to be bought over.

I have a dream

I have a dream when every Nigerian will be proud of this nation. I have a dream when Nigeria will be a force to reckon with in the world, when having harnessed its resources well, would have taken its rightful position among the comity of nations. I have a dream when the whites will come to Nigeria, not for official duties as diplomats but to reside in this country because of peace, tranquillity and economic vitality that would be here. I have a dream of when we will indeed have a great Nation. Just like Awolowo told the men of his time, I now say to you, men & women of my time, ‘we are not at all concerned with the past, except to learn from it. But we are very much concerned with the future; and it is to the making of that future in order thereby to remake Nigeria that we are resolved to direct all our efforts and talents’.

I strongly believe we have the capacity to do something and now is the time to ACT.

With emancipation-Nigeria Project (e-NP), the true revolution is here. Out of the ashes of our dying today, I see the breaking of a new day in which the name of the Lord alone will be glorified. It’s a new dawn! I welcome you all to the New Nigerian Nation, which is now in the making.

Thank you.

Yours in the remaking of Nigeria,

Olutosin Ogunmola

2003

Comments

  1. olanipekun babajide says:

    You have done well,i think it is high time for nigerian youth to fight for their n make the movement for change.

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