If the men, our leaders and heads of our homes, refuse to take the responsibility to right the wrongs and bring about a positive change in our nation, then this is a clarion call to all young women and women of Nigeria the Beautiful… It is time to look in the mirror and deal with truths, on personal, family and national levels. This is no time to live in denial or cover up but a time for a turn around.
As we begin a new year, it is with mixed emotions that I share these thoughts and long overdue highlights of things every family should address in this time of opportuned change in our beloved country, Nigeria.
We are an amazingly unique nation with our peculiarities and so much has happened in the past few months to exhibit the beautiful, humorous, fun, bright, excellent, the bad, ugly and downright evil in our country too. As a result, we must be open and honest in our wishes, desires and prayers for 2021 and beyond. We need to examine our conscience and commit to our consciousness the following questions and thoughts for action:
• Are our leaders really the only problem or everyone? You’ve probably experienced people (including your family and friends) defrauding you/others, and making extortionate profit therefrom or lying to provide a service or help that you need, but blaming the leaders for it, whilst committing the crime. Is this innate wickedness or greed? If newer people were made leaders, will they be different? Who and what is responsible for this pattern that needs to be broken? What do the led people accommodate, encourage or tolerate in the name of tribe, faith, nepotism or affinity?
• Why are monies, including returned looted monies, stolen again? What would you do differently if you were in office or will you be waiting for your turn to loot? What choice will you make? To be called a fool if you don’t loot or a hero if you loot by the same people who blame the government, forgetting that they’re the government?
• Why do our leaders delight in taking loans as if they’re determined to keep us and our children in debt or as slaves? When they take the loans, why do they not read the terms and conditions or get lawyers to look at them if they, themselves are appointed illiterates in office? Why put incompetent people in office because of a ridiculous zoning system that engages inept people in leadership? The same people the government spends incredible amounts of money to send abroad to train but who choose to disappear on arrival there, only to reappear for their return trips, claiming ill health or something else to avoid the sessions.
If these officials cannot be trained, why won’t they send younger bright staff to build capacity in their departments/ministries? How is it possible that in 2021 our leaders are so criminally-minded that ministries refuse to use emails, so that they can burn evidence of unlawful acts because emails can be tracked? Nigeria has incredible potentials with some of the brightest minds, yet with poor governance and development. Isn’t it time to move from potential to fulfilment?
• Besides some management positions, why do the workforce of contracted countries have to do the work when there’s huge unemployment in Nigeria, leaving Nigerians perpetually underdeveloped and dependent on foreign countries? There are skilled people and businesses in Nigeria that just need a little support, instead of making Nigeria a Guinea pig nation or dumping ground.
• Why do we have a poor healthcare system, even though we produce top medical practitioners in the world? Have our leaders not prioritised this perhaps because they and their families can fly anywhere for treatment, making other countries rich? Why hasn’t every state invested in at least one world class hospital, since ‘health is wealth’? Shouldn’t this have been prioritised with the COVID-19 donated monies, especially as international travelling can easily get restricted and future pandemics are now on the cards?
• Why is the educational system broken like the electricity, gas and telephone systems, which are clearly being taken advantage of and sabotaged by gangsters, keeping the country poor and non-progressive? Does it not matter that the country’s potential for economic growth is being marginalised for/by a few rich people? Why are parents doing nothing about their children being sexually molested and raped by their teachers, leaders, etc.? When other countries are moving forward, why are we regressing, with not being mindful of what we censor and wanting the age of consent to be reduced? I wish I could say that people may feel differently if it was their child but sadly, a lot of children are being physically, verbally, emotionally, economically and sexually abused, even by their parents or family members, so it might not be relevant.
• Why are most youths without vision and no longer interested in studying/working hard – because honest success is possible even with poor education? People (including youths), no longer want to work but want to be paid or want quick money at all costs. People are inclined to having no values, and compromising or indulging in every/anything for money. Are people OK with murder and diabolical ways? Are we returning to the dark days when there was no self-worth/esteem?
• Why is there nothing in place to ensure that women are educated, or bills passed to have compulsory numbers in place for women in the political parties and in office? Similarly, why is there nothing in place for youths in politics?
• Why are people, politicians and our leaders (including faith-based ones) being selective about our security and behaving like ostriches about the killings in our society? The games and the lack of honesty are shocking and if we keep tolerating these, nothing will change.
• Why is our legal system not fit for purpose? Anyone can change any law to suit themselves and their purposes. People are languishing in jail in our unequal, unfair and unjust society. Why can we not agree to disagree and still work/walk together? Our law enforcement agencies are not fit for purpose, as they have the penchant for pursuing the wrong people/things, alongside being renown for bribery and corruption.
• Why do we not have social services to deal with the massive dysfunctions, alongside identity, cultural and heritage crises in our nation? This is despite the suffering cash cows and drama of various registrations of the National ID, Biometric Verification Number (BVN), SIM cards, etc.? We were not the only colonised country, yet we seem to have added to the negatives that we inherited from the colonial masters because of what we’re choosing to retain. We seem to be a rudderless, leaderless, directionless, compassionless nation without a maintenance culture, integrity and accountability, despite our so-called status/potential.
These are inexhaustive highlights but they are enough to start us off with thoughts and actions.
If the men, our leaders and heads of our homes, refuse to take the responsibility to right the wrongs and bring about a positive change in our nation, then this is a clarion call to all young women and women of Nigeria the Beautiful. You are the heart-beat of our homes and society. This is not a ‘Girl or Bottom Power’ call but “The Hands That Rock the Cradle” call. It is time to look in the mirror and deal with truths, on personal, family and national levels. This is no time to live in denial or cover up but a time for a turn around.
Without going to other African nations or other parts of the world, our history is full of women positively rising to the need and the call, as we’ve seen from the Aba Riot to the Abeokuta Women’s Revolt, alongside incredible women like Moremi Ajasoro, Nana Asmaʼu, Magajiya Daurama, Magaret Ekpo, Id-ia, Ooni Luwoo, Orompoto, Flora Nwapa, Omu Okwei, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Zulu Sofola. For the life, pain, loss, health, wealth, survival, for your family and your future, ARISE, UNITE and KEEP WORKING until peace, freedom and the rights of your children/family and the poor are no longer a dream but a reality. Tell each other, to ARISE in and for love, NOW!
Angela Morah is the CEO of Arts-A-Light/Eyukamba Foundation based in the United Kingdom.