The Nigerian economy has often been described as a rent seeking one. It is more than that. It is a predatory parasitic system where dog eats dog. It is a form of capitalism unlike that practiced anywhere else and is driven by greed, corruption and nepotism. It is no longer news that corruption has eaten into all facets of our society and that the nation is groaning under its pains. What is remarkable is that almost everyone absolves himself/herself from blame in our woes. If it is true that nobody does any wrong, why are we then like this?
Most Nigerians fail to see the connection between the corruption and pervasive rot in the system, to the general poverty and lack of development in the nation. Who amongst us is ready to buck the system? When we are repressed, deprived, oppressed and dehumanized, do we fight back or we just lie back and acquiesce, believing God will do the fighting for us? For as long as we refuse to stand up for what is right, even in the face of molestation, for as long as we refuse to say, I’ve had enough, I’m no longer going to tolerate this rubbish, then nothing will change.
We may complain and talk all we want, but nothing will change. I don’t believe the elites in our society, barring a few, are going to commit class hara-kiri by truly reforming the country. They might agree to piece-meal changes but still preserve much of the status quo. And the simple reason is that they are the ones benefiting from Nigeria as it is. Whatever concessions that will guarantee profound changes can only be forced from the elites. It will not be done through negotiations but brought about through necessity or compulsion. An example to buttress this is the fact that the governor’s forum is still opposing local government autonomy even when the overwhelming majority of Nigerians want it.
In effect, the voice of millions of Nigerians counts less than that of 36 members of a select club. We must stand up for our rights, compelling the powers that be to yield ground where and when necessary. Change will not come overnight nor will it be easy, but for us to get improvement in our society and lives, we must be ready to stand up and be counted. The strategies I am proposing are quite simple and straight forward. We must refuse to give and take bribes. This is the beginning point. We must speak up and speak out against corrupt practices and all forms of injustice. As more people do this, it will embolden others to do same. Stand up for what is right at all times.
No matter whose ox is gored, no matter how it may hurt, it is essential for progress to be made. Can we do this, can i? Are we ready to say enough is enough? I don’t know! I leave us with the immortal words of the great Martin Luther King, “that there is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy”.
Piece written by Oke Okpomo
Okpomoy2k@yahoo.com Follow him on twitter@kpomskerio