A Dream For My Fatherland
Nigeria is what it is today because we want it so, we can change it if we choose. Change requires action and it starts with changing oneself. We can change the whole world, if we all change ourselves. We need to change from being indifferent. According to Albert Einstein, “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” When good men do nothing, evil shall surely prevail.
In order to achieve a desired change, we need to move from talking to acting. A talk cannot move an object, only an action can do. An action is a finished product of a dream. We need to dream dreams, we need to plan, we need to believe and we need to act in order to have a 'change we can believe'. There can be no plan without a dream as there can never be a successful action without believing.
A dream gives a clear vision of the future. As yesterday was the birthplace of today, a dream is the birthplace of the future and a dream is the mother of an action. Benjamin Disraeli asserted that “action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
In about three months, Nigeria will 49 years old as an independent nation. Many years with very little to show economically, politically and otherwise. In these years, the landscape of our history has been dominated mostly by challenging stories like corruption, civil war, wasted resources, military coup, ethnic violence, leadership failure, lack of infrastructure, brain drain, 419, Niger Delta palaver, indolent leaders etc.
Our potential remains only a potential. Our challenges endure but fail to paralyse us, they're supposed to help us discover who we are. According to Harriet Beecher “when you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,”
Through it all, we have kept our sanity, we see life the way it should be and not the way it is. In our defeat, we dream victory. In our despair, we chose hope which make every good thing possible. Our God-given inner strength gives us courage to carry on and continue to be hopeful. Our dream is fast becoming a reality, we can see it at the corner, we can smell her fragrance, we can hear the elegant steps of her feet in quiet and we are nostalgic of the arrival. Even when all seemed bleak, we chose to overcome fear, overcome uncertainty, overcome peril, overcome injustice, overcome threat while continuing to avow to ourselves that life with all its troubles can be good hence 'suffering and smiling' that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always a bright tomorrow to cover the sad yesterday.
In the midst of these negativities, I still have positive dream for fatherland. I have a dream that my fellow countrymen will rise to defend the country of their fathers to give reasons for hope to their children as Nigeria shall stand tall, rise and be reckoned with in the comity of great nations.
I have a dream that my people shall coexist harmoniously; communal rivalry, religious intolerance and clash shall belong to the past, Niger Delta shall see peace and prosperity again and the Hausas, Ibos, Yorubas, Ijaws and all other tribes shall be one another's keepers.
I have a dream that my country shall no longer depend on what is under the feet of her people but what is up in their heads. Natural resources shall no longer be the mainstay but agriculture, industrial production and services.
I have a dream that our sons and daughters will leave the countries of their birth in Europe and America and ask after the country of their ancestors which they shall be proud to call theirs.
I have a dream that every vote of the electorate shall count; from the half-naked woman protesting in Ekiti, to the covered Purdah in Sokoto, from the powerful in Abuja to the ordinary man in Zaria, from the market man in Aba to the businessman in Yola, from the student in Ibadan to the professor in Nsukka and from the urban man in Lagos to the 'natural woman' in Koma.
I have a dream that our Moses shall lead us out of the wilderness of poverty and from the Red Sea of corruption, our David shall slain Goliath who is feeding fat on the nation's commonwealth, our Elijah will command fire on all the prophets of Baal holding the nation down and our Samson shall cause havoc in the camp of those squandering and pilfering our resources and the marauders we see today, we shall see them no more.
I have a dream that Nigeria will be ruled by men of noble character who are prepared to take us to the promised land and no more animals in human skin (apology to Fela Anikulapo Kuti), no more by the dumbest, no more by the weakest, no more by the sick and no more by the reluctant presidents. The days of the indecisive government are numbered.
I have a dream that our democracy will be democratic, our constitution will be constitutional and our Aso Rock Presidential Villa shall cease to be Ass hol* Rock Villa.
I have a dream that our leaders shall know that leadership is a call to service and not a call to be bosses, our executive will no longer be executhief, they will not only wield power but also generate power such that everyone of us can turn to the corner of our rooms and say let there be light and there shall be light.
I have a dream that the legislature shall make laws for the benefit and protection of the all and not only to increase their own salaries and allowances. The shall know the difference between constituency allowance and personal allowance.
I have a dream that the judiciary shall be judicious and no more pervert the law, they shall look unto the constitution and laws of the land to judge cases and not towards Aso Rock Villa and they shall prosecute and not persecute.
I have a dream that INEC will be truly independent of the executive, The Police shall not be agent of the oppressor but friend of the people. They shall gracefully perform their duties without asking for 'egunje.'The military shall defend and not invade our fatherland, the civil and public servants shall serve their fatherland wholeheartedly without filching the public funds and Attorney General shall no more assault the constitution.
I have a dream that the poor masses shall no more be guilty until proven innocent, they shall join the high-ranking to be innocent until proven guilty. The prisons shall no more be filled with petty offenders while the major thieves are power brokers who dine and wine in the seats of the government.
This is my dream for fatherland, it is your dream and our dream for motherland. If it is our dream, then we must sustain it to reality. This change's real! Dreaming may be easy, action may be difficult but putting a dream into an action is the most complicated thing in the world but with God on our side, our dream shall come to be.
Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime. W.E.B. Du Bois
The time to act is no other but now. We do not need to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. If we fail, our dream shall be dream and our vision shall be vision and our world shall remain the same. Certainly, the cost of our action shall be huge but the cost of inaction shall even be more. There can never be any gain without pain.
Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. Frederick Douglass
As charity starts from home, our action shall start with the people closest to us. Let us educate the people in our families, neighbourhood and grassroots of their inalienable rights. No one shall sell his voting right for a bowl of porridge.
We shall encourage and support the good people among us especially the youth to go into politics and for elective positions, if they fail, the bad ones whose affinity for power is inexhaustible will continue to dominate the political climate. Voting and being voted for; are not only our civil duties but also our constitutional rights.
"The ball is now in your court...Election is still two years away...What is wrong in identifying now your candidates and beginning to mobilise support for them...Why can't you invade your homeland...Use your mobile telephones now to mobilise the people and guard democracy... the way Barrack Obama used the Internet technology to mobilise the youths to strengthen democracy... Mobilise the youths to guard the ballot boxes from start to finish...Defend the vote, nobody is going to do it for you..." Prof. Wole Soyinka.
We shall foster the unity of all progressive groups and protect our destiny against the 'do or die' policy of the incumbent, organise mass action against any breach of our collective will. No passive people can expect a change. We have talked, we have praised, we have criticized, we have waited but we haven't acted. We must act and now is the time.
This is a call on all good people of this great Nation! A thousand words are not as effective as one action. A thousand good intentions are not as good as one action. In recent time, the power in mass action or protest has been more revolutionary than any bloody guerrilla. No government can stand against the power of the masses. Demonstrations by the nationalist group in 2006 caused the ousting of the corrupt prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand . The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests resulted in the opening up of China though much is still left to be desired especially in the area of human rights. A mass protest that started from a remote village led to the end of the repressive communist leader Nikolai Ceausescu of Romania and after the assassination of Benigno Aquino, a political opponent and a tainted presidential election The People Power Revolution in February 1986 removed the authoritarian Ferdinand Marcos of Philippines . The recent event in Madagascar and the current protest in Iran are other testimonies to the power of the people. All these shall amount to nothing compared to what shall happen in motherland.
Our dream will take us on a journey for which we do not know the end but certainly, we shall not return to the starting point. Our action shall take us to war with the enemy but our weapons shall not be guns and matchets but all from our intellectual arsenal. Our action shall be like a road in the countryside where there was never a road but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence. A change has come!
If you share the dream, spread it.
God Bless Nigeria !
Nigeria Go Better!
Rufus Kayode Oteniya ([email protected]) is the founder of Nigeria Think Tank a Facebook discussion forum created to confront problems confronting us as a people.