It is time to show our people that Nigeria is not operating a democracy. Our system is a heist; a platform for self-enrichment. Political life has been heavily undermined, and compromised. What we have is undemocratic liberalism, whereby individual protection and rights are ignored. Nigerian youth have on them the ultimate weapon – their cell phones and data subscriptions.
The dichotomy between the people and the elite has widened more in the last two years. The current political institutions and processes have never served the interest of the average Nigerian. Everything has been programmed and controlled by, and cater to a small elite. We have leaders who are not only fossilised in their thinking, are unable to create economic opportunity, but are also apathetic to the pathological anti-modernism of mushrooming killer militias that are betting on complicating the issues by making the safety of lives and property and free movement impossible. In addition, our socio-economic frustrations due to joblessness, rising inequalities and unmet expectations are suffocating. If we, younger Nigerians, have any intent of taking our country back, this is the time to plant the seed. Political ascendancy is not child’s play. No one hands over power to the other on a platter. Like freedom, power is hard fought for and won. This is the time to take advantage of the tarnished politics of the multiplication of poverty, stagnation and the crisis of political legitimacy, stemming from a visionless leadership that is determined to make the present unpleasant and the future a pain. It is time to take advantage of the political discontent shared by many Nigerians.
“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress”. Those were the words of Frederick Douglas, in a “West India Emancipation” speech delivered on August 3, 1857, at Canandaigua, New York, on the twenty-third anniversary of the event. Indeed, power concedes nothing!
To take Nigeria back, to gain and hold political power, younger Nigerians whose lives are being played like a poker game should not wait to be invited to lead; they should wrestle for power by advocating and running on a populist agenda. Given our circumstances, Nigeria is ripe for the picking. If we unite, we can prevail against mainstream political, social, economic, and cultural elites, holding Nigeria hostage. There are definitely no quick fixes for a system that is designed to let crooks and scum game it. The political Mafiosi are not going to stand by, arms akinbo. They are going to strip the political cathedrals, the financial citadels and the main street until nothing but the pavement remains. If you think it will be an easy fight or a smooth ride, there is not a chance of that happening! The egalitarian Nigeria will not emerge until we are ready to do the grunt work, develop innovative organisational strategies and make direct appeal to the people, while discrediting these professional politicians, regardless of their political parties. The proliferation of youth candidates for the presidency alone will not cut it. We need to bury individual ambitions and find the charistmatic leader that can mobilise, galvanise, organise and execute. We must employ the use of old messaging tools and combine it with unprecedented capability to use the Internet and social networks to mobilise.
We must be ready to play hardball and educate our people. We must play differently. The politics that can ensure freedom, survival and dignity of our people must highlight the image of a corrupted and self-interested political class. We must expose, in simple language, the incestuous relationship between politicians and the judiciary.
We must be ready to play hardball and educate our people. We must play differently. The politics that can ensure freedom, survival and dignity of our people must highlight the image of a corrupted and self-interested political class. We must expose, in simple language, the incestuous relationship between politicians and the judiciary. The institutional weaknesses in our polity yield to political personalisation. We must take advantage of that and seek to carve and outline contemporary facets of populism in Nigerian politics, knowing that populism follows and it is interwoven with democracy. Since the fall of the Shagari-led government in 1983, political parties have abandoned all pretences to ideological politics and identities. This is good for the creation of a populist currency where the struggle for political power will be between leaders, instead of political parties. We can tap into the prevailing lack of electoral legitimisation of the political elite and the resentment of Nigerian citizens.
It is time to show our people that Nigeria is not operating a democracy. Our system is a heist; a platform for self-enrichment. Political life has been heavily undermined, and compromised. What we have is undemocratic liberalism, whereby individual protection and rights are ignored. Nigerian youth have on them the ultimate weapon – their cell phones and data subscriptions. They should show the opportunistic elite that our world is close knit now. Whatever happens in one part of the world is immediately communicated to other parts of the world via cable television or the social media. Let the elite know that information is democratised! They should show them that they are more acutely aware of other people in different countries and their situations. They should make it known that digital technology gives people the tools to compare their lives with the lives of others, especially in countries with infrastructure and higher standards of living. With information, anyone can compare themselves with their peers and get resentful and angry. What we need now is politics of truth, politics of sincerity, politics of opportunity and politics of transparency, responsibility and accountability. Organise! Don’t agonise!! Take charge!!!