Followership in the Nigeria Society

“Once the habit of standing by and doing nothing is developed, it is difficult to break. Better, then, to get engaged early on. To withdraw is to cede to those who have more power, authority, and influence than do we the right to decide. Sometimes we’re lucky: our leaders are good. But sometimes we’re not so lucky: our leaders are bad.

When that happens, to stand and do nothing is to risk going from bad to worse.”- Barbara Kellerman

I want to look at the issue of followership in such a time as this in the history of Nigeria. We are often told that democracy is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We claim to have democracy in Nigeria, but I am yet to see that. Maybe what we have is Nigeria’s version of democracy.

Is our government of the people? What we see in Nigeria is more of selection than election; godfathers do it for them. I was very happy to see a man like the governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, boldly tell one of the godfathers that he didn’t need a godfather to succeed because he has God the Father. We are yet to see this generation of politicians who depend on their work and not a godfather to make it through.

Wait; it looks like the government of GEJ is of the people; our votes went to him. I remember that campaign song, “I can see everything turning around…” Even my grandmother fell for President Goodluck because of that song. I was all over the place campaigning for him even when I never met him. We had a man who we believed went through hardship in life and so would feel the pain of the masses. We thought he is of the new breed. But in their usual manner, he forgot our pain and sufferings the moment he got into Aso Rock.

Is our government by us the Nigerian masses? I don’t think so. Our lawmakers remember we exist only when it is time for another election. Let me accept that we elected them into power, but I will not agree with anyone who tells me they are there to represent us. If our lawmakers are there to represent us, our 1999 military constitution would have been forgotten and replaced with a people’s constitution. If they are representing us, they won’t be as rich as they are.

If our lawmakers have our interest at heart, they won’t be as rich as they are today. If they care about us, the thief who stole #23.3b won’t be let off the hook. If they care about us, they will think of our fathers and mothers who served our dear country only to collapse and die at the pension office. But I know one thing: All those who were/are part of this whole pension scam will never go unpunished by The Most High God, their generations will pay for this and all that they stole will turn to gravels in their mouth. Farouk Lawal and his likes should know that he won’t go free even if his corrupt colleagues refuse to declare him guilty. People lost their lives during the subsidy protests only for our government not to show us any of the subsidy thieves sent to jail. Dear president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is this your promise to the Nigerian youths?

Anyway, I don’t even expect them to be sent to jail because Nigeria prisons were built for the poor, never for the rich. The highest punishment the rich get is plea bargain (they pay back #250,000 and take whatever is left of the loot). The USA and UK are now the last hope of Nigerians. Our judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of the common man is as corrupt as the executive and legislative arms. A man steals one goat because he is hungry and can’t feed his children; he gets two years jail term. But the rich steals and people lose their lives as a result; he is asked to pay back two hundred and fifty thousand Nigeria. Who shall deliver us?

We have prayed endlessly. From the time I was born till this very moment, we have prayed. We have fasted only for our religious leaders to go to them at night to fill their pockets. Activists spring up daily and get innocent souls to die for a particular cause; they go behind us to enrich themselves from the same people they criticize. Our journalists are not helping us; it is now called “brown envelop journalism”. Who do we now trust?

Our dear country has gone from worse to worst. We thought our messiah is here; we were wrong. We thought it would be different; little did we know that it is going to be business as usual. Nigerian youths are disappointed. We are in pain because we have suddenly found ourselves in the middle of nowhere.

Our elders are out to kill and take Nigeria to their graves. I joined their group and wasted my fuel attending their meetings. I was disappointed when I was told to hang on with them because it was possible for us to get some crude allocation from them. In my usual manner, I stopped attending that meeting because God will not forgive me if I become one of those killing Nigeria. We were listening to them thinking they were showing us the way; they brought us here. When are they going to get tired of power? Some of them were governors thirty three years ago; they are still minsters and senators. When are they going to stop the looting?

I lost faith in Nigeria the very day an elder statesman who vowed, in my presence, never to have anything with President GEJ, launched his book only for the same president to be the special guest of honour. I was disappointed when, just two days after a former minister swore in my presence never to have any business with this present government was called to head a committee. This happened just two days after his statement. All I could do when I heard this was send him a congratulatory message. What are we getting from Oga Reuben Abati? Do we now take it that he was never interested in the Nigeria project?

How long; for how long fellow Nigerian youths? Haven’t we been deceived long enough? When are we going to rise to take our fatherland from the hand of these devourers? When are we going to wake up from our sleep and do the right thing? What is our tomorrow going to look like? How much do we now pay as school fees in federal universities that are not even equipped and conducive for learning? Their children are all schooling outside the country and so they are not bothered about us. Our parents die daily in public hospitals; just for sneezing, they fly out in private jets that were purchased with our money.

Arise Oh Compatriots. If we do nothing now, our children will have no country called Nigeria. If we don’t come together now; worse things will happen to us. Let us refuse to be deceived with religion, ethnicity, and partisan politics. It is time to break every barrier, shout with one voice, and redeem our dear country from their hands.

The time is now and if we, the youths of this country should keep quiet and do nothing, we risk going, not from bad to worse because we are already there; we shall go from worse to worst and irredeemable . We must make them to vomit all that they have stolen from us. Let us refuse to eat their money; you can take it because it is our money, but use it to fight them. Let us refuse to be used by them against their opponents. Let us refuse to carry guns, kill, and destroy for them. It is time to look at their faces and spit on them; they stink with corruption.

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