Finally, Our J.J. Rawlings Is Here. The Beginning Of A Revolution: by Rufus Oteniya

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Warning: In order to understand this article fully, you would need to read the whole piece. It is about intellectual revolution!

I have no doubt in my mind just like most Nigerians that we need a revolution in order to get out of this anarchic state that has swallowed up our great nation. I also agreed with many who were calling for our own Jerry John Rawlings to come out from obscurity to slaughter all our 'public enemies' and rid the nation of the undesirable looters that are evidently all over the place pretending to be leaders but unlike most people and unknown to all, because I knew I could really change the world if I care enough, I even volunteered to be our own J. J. Rawlings with a set date in my mind to start the onslaught.

The Ghanaian full blown bloody revolution led by Jerry Rawlings' Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) on 4 June1979 led to the ousting of the Supreme Military Council from office and the executions of some former military dictators. Ignatius Kutu Acheamphong, Akwasi Afrifa, and Fred Akuffo were killed. Five other generals - Joy Amedume, Yaw Boakye, Roger Felli, Kotei, and Utuka - were also put to death. And without the involvement of the both Rawlings and AFRC, some Supreme Court Justices Kwadjo Agyei Agyepong, Frederick Sarkodie, and Cecilia Koranteng Addo, as well as two other military officers, Major Sam Acquah, and Major Dasana Nantogmah were also executed in a vengeful killing. The perpetrators were later apprehended and executed by firing squad. Rawlings also later carried out a much wider "house-cleaning exercise" aimed at purging the armed forces and society at large of corruption and graft as well as restoring a sense of moral responsibility and accountability in public life. In all less than 40 people directly or indirectly became the victims of Ghanaian bloody revolution.

As the day drew nigh, I began to plan my strategies, compiling the list of those to be eliminated and the list kept growing overwhelmingly for a lone ranger like me. I have already got over 2000 names of serving and former office holders at the federal level that I deemed in my opinion to be corrupt. This list included present and past Commander In Chief ? substantial and interim, their Deputies and First Ladies; Federal Ministers, Special/Senior Advisers, - Special/Senior Assistant, Permanent Secretaries, Director Generals, Directors, Chairmen of Parastatals, Federal Contractors and members of the National Assembly. I have also compiled over 30,000 names of equivalent officers at the State level, 40,000 at the local government level. Since I was vey serious about the cleansing of the society and I didn't want to leave any room for chance, I wondered what I should do to the over 50 million corrupt Nigerian adults especially those in the urban areas who give, demand and receive bribes, who make living through corrupt and illegitimate practices and who do not live by the rule of ethics. "They all have to go!"I said to myself.

After considering the enormity of the task ahead, not only will it take eternity for me to exterminate these unwanted citizens but I also found my name on the list, then, I knew I have to change my stratagem. Shedding of the blood of a few may have worked in Ghana but can never work in our own nation owing to the profundity and extent of corruption in the system that has caused Nigeria to be inducted by Transparent International (TI) into the Corruption Hall of Fame (CHF).

In the quest for a change of strategy, I have pondered so deeply in the last few days to diagnose the real problem with the Nigerian politics and politicians. I began to wonder why we are where we are today, what is it that others do right and we do wrongly, why are the politicians so heartless and careless about the plight of the people and why can't they change for better with the world? Why do we hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office? Why have we forgotten that a free society that cannot help the many who are poor can never save the few who are rich?

After a very long careful and deep reflection, I found out that our politicians are ok, they are rational, they are doing what the people expect them to do. The filching leaders are not the problems of Nigeria , the corrupt politicians are not to blame for the sorry state of the nation. Those siphoning the national treasures and pilfering the commonwealth are not the problems of Nigeria . The government is not the problem, the governed are. Everyone thinks of changing the people in government, but no one thinks of changing oneself. "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek "Barack Obama

We are the change that will change the status quo. We are the change that will change the political class because we are the ones failing in our capacity to use the constitutional power bestowed on us. As soon as we do, they public servants will cease to be public bosses. We have given up the right to challenge and demand accountability from the leaders who are there to serve us. We have failed to realise that we are the employer and until we stand to our responsibility, things will continue to get worse. If only we pay attention and act, we will get good government and good leadership that we desperately desire. An average Nigerian does not care to be free. He simply wants to be safe. Even to those who think they are free, I'd like to quote Goethe "none are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free."

We have failed to understand this democracy. Historically, having been subjected for too long to the authoritarian monarchs and dictatorial military rule, we have forgotten that we are under a new dispensation. First we have had the monarchs ? Obas, Igwes, Emirs etc - who were lords. The owned the land, owned everything and everyone in the land. They could do and undo. A king could take over your wife or any other possession from you at will. You were not allowed to question the legality or the authority of the king and if you did, the penalty could be as severe as a death sentence. We were also under the military regime for most part of our national life as a an independent nation. Under the military, the rulers had absolute power and we seem to have been accustomed to being under authoritarian rule.

In 1999, the same old military dictators only changed their military regalia for civilian 'kaftan and agbada' pretending to be democratic leaders. It is natural of them to make believe not to understand democracy and democratic values in the real sense, it unnatural of us to allow and watch them take away our inalienable rights unchallenged. 'A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.' Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will. We are to let them know that a democracy that cannot serve the electorate can never save the elected.

"No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to flee and fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams" Rev. Jesse Jackson

I still believe in revolution but no more bloody but intellectual. I will no longer be the lone ranger, 140 million Jerry Rawlings will be involved. Our weapons will no longer be arms but from our intellectual arsenal. It is called education. Our revolution shall be called EDUCATIONAL REVOLUTION. We shall educate the people of their rights and educate the office holders of their limits. When people know their rights, no one can easy take them away. Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change Nigeria and with it, we can overthrow the status quo.

"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the sound of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance."Jawaharlal Nehru

Democracy is certainly alien to us but having lived about 20 years in a functioning democracy, I think I will be able to be a Rawlings. I shall be making a follow up to this piece with a series called DEMOCRACY 101 where every practical thing we need to know about democracy will be exhaustively discussed. Watch out every Wednesday!

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