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Amaechi's warning- The Nation

By The Citizen

The Rivers governor's statement that Nigerians were too docile to be revolutionary is a battle cry for positive change. Should a governor openly say Nigerians are too docile for a revolution to take place in this country? To the extent that it could easily be misconstrued as people-baiting, it is clearly impolitic. But that is about the only negative thing about the statement Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi made in Ado Ekiti, at the second Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders.

The governor, in his presentation at the symposium, had decried the seeming endless elasticity of Nigerians and their penchant to resign themselves to suffering, instead of girding their loins to challenge bad governance and its myriad of injustices.

He said Nigerians would rather pray, and expect God to come down and perform a miracle over what God had given the people the power and the intellect to change. It was in this context that he said revolutions could not happen in Nigeria, given that less serious cases had caused great catastrophes elsewhere.

Two things are clear from Governor Amaechi's submission: that Nigerians could be better governed by their leaders; and that Nigerians could more vigorously call their leaders to question and account, given their penchant for peaceful change.

That Nigerians appear timid and docile is no lie. But that does not mean their temper is eternally elastic. No people's temper is. But then, why should any government, democratic or monarchy, rise to the occasion of exemplary governance and development if the people make a fetish of docility? If that happens, the people themselves would have thrown into the Atlantic Ocean their God-given and constitutionally sanctioned power to challenge their leaders to do better - and by so doing, get the people's lives better transformed.

Therefore, given that the governor was speaking to young Nigerians and emerging leaders, it was as good a place as any to call for the people's change of strategy; and for Nigerians to deliberately and consistently challenge for better governance. The youth must champion this crusade. And Nigeria, near-dysfunctional as it is, can certainly use such attitudinal change.

On the government's side, Amaechi's call should sound as a timely alarm that our governments must put their acts together. Mr. Amaechi is a sitting governor. If despite his assured comfort zone, his political antenna is still socially acute enough to pick out the great suffering in the land, while the government does little or nothing, then he ought to be praised for telling his co-rulers to brace up to the business of improving the people's lives, rather than being nailed - as quite many of his colleagues would blissfully hold - of goading the people to rebellion.

Indeed, Mr. Amaechi has shown great courage to have consistently held that Nigerian leaders should not just sit back and do near-nothing, just because they have the impression that the Nigerian people are no agitators. Such a glum attitude, erected on what could prove an attitudinal mirage, may well be cause of future but needless agony.

So, let everyone, leaders and people alike, use the Ameachi comment as a wake-up call. That Nigerians do not exactly love agitation does not mean the government should abandon its very essence: adding value to the life of the citizen. That would be courting needless danger.

On the other hand, the people must cultivate the culture of constant challenge and healthy demands to push the government to do its duties and perform its obligations towards citizens.

Both parties doing their own bits would create the healthy tension that ensures democracy is deepened; with its resultant development and prosperity. With that assured, any talk of revolution would sound patently asinine.