Who Will Change Nigeria?

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I have read several articles, opinions, suggestions, and views about the state of our nation. Regardless of the diversity of these views, everyone is or appears to be in perfect harmony with one fact: Nigeria is corrupt and in desperate need of change.

Not just any change, but a positive change that will enhance the life of everyone. Change that will usher in equal opportunity for every Nigerian.  Many also agreed that Nigeria has more than it would take to improve the life of the greatest number of her citizens. Everyone agreed that the bane on our nation is corruption; from corrupt citizens to corrupt government officials. Everyone unequivocally agreed that Nigeria is corrupt and needs a change.

However, in all these, the answer to one fundamental question appears misdirected: who will do the changing? In what seems to be an answer, everyone echoes… the government.  Like the picture of the witnesses on that balcony the day Martin Luther King was shot, everyone is pointed directly to one direction. Everyone says: The government must change the nation. Most authors, experts, even retired looters all say the government should change our country. But wait a minute, the government to change the government? Has it ever happened before?

Maybe, a brief history of nations and world politics will give us a hint. The great wall of segregation stood firm in America for over a hundred years. Did the segregationist change and reinvent themselves for good?  Adolf Hitler in his deranged mind soaked his hand with the blood of millions. Did he suddenly change his mind and stopped?  Did Idi Amin end his reign of horror because Ugandan’s complained about it?  Oh! May be, if not death, whether natural or hatched, Abacha would have broken down in tears one day and change Nigeria for good. What do we say about Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, what about Mobutu? What about the apartheid regime in South Africa? May be these people would have read a commentary on the newspaper, weep their hearts out, confess their sins, and change their reign of selfishness. No, it never happened. If history is right, there must be an energy applied to either change power or change those in power –the will of the people, or the will of nations who support freedom. Oh, and that unstoppable force of change that those in power seems to always forget. The unexpected visitor whose cold hand grips and drags a soul to the land of oblivion unexpectedly.

The wall of segregation in America stood until a single woman refused to give up her seat for a white passenger. Who knows, we would have all ended up in concentration camps if the world sat and hoped that Hitler would repent. If not the death of Abacha, Sgt Rogers like the Washington DC area snipers, would still be cruising the streets of Lagos hunting us with bullets bought with our own money. If not death, while some of our fathers ended up in jail, others wasted in their bedrooms, the rest would have escaped for their lives via Cotonou while we waited for Abacha to repent and change Nigeria.

In the case of Nigeria, what are our options? Death can not wipe away every corrupt government official and every corrupt citizen; unless God decides to rain down fire and brimstone. This I am very sure He will not do. Do we hope for a foreign nation to evade us into a change? Nay, that will threaten our sovereignty. Then, who will bring this much needed change since those in power will not change themselves. Answer: me, you, and we. Even if you disagree with me, you will agree that there is absolutely nothing corrupt about the noun, or the physical location called Nigeria; corruption was manufactured and instituted from the heart of citizens; it will also take Nigerian citizens to bring about a positive change. Change that will start within us, to the way we think, to the way we see others; up to pulling down the walls of selfishness, destroying the appetite to acquiring wealth and power at the detriment of everyone else. If truth be told, only changed Nigerians, can change Nigeria. A new Nigeria can only emerge out of New Nigerians.

Could it be that we have not witnessed true change because we hope on everyone else but us? Change cannot happen unless we apply a soul force. We must rise up as a people to labor, suffer, and bring about change in Nigeria.  It’s been my experience that as passionate as Nigerians discuss our state of affairs, they suddenly turn cold when there is a suggestion to take responsibility. Everyone imagines a perfect Nigeria brought by other people. May be that is why change has been elusive. The question should not be: who can change Nigeria, rather every one of us ought to ask, how can I change Nigeria? What is that mustard seed faith of mine that can bring a positive change?

At this point, you may have looked at yourself and puzzled – what can I do? I wondered as well, then suddenly, I realized that “the people are the power”, until I realized that there is no force on earth that can crush a soul force. The will of a few might be bent, but no one can bend the will of all, unless the “all” allows it. Everyone and almost everything can enjoy a ride on your back until you decide to stand and not bend. Every Nigerian must stand up to say “enough is enough”. We do not need arms, we do not need nor do we encourage any form of violence; -far be it from us. No one achieves a just cause by an unjust means. All we need to enforce change is already in our hands. It is our will married with democracy. We have the right to choose our leaders and the right to refuse any leader imposed upon us by false hood, by roguery, rigging and violence. How can someone win re-election without any single project that enhanced the life of the people? How can someone run for the presidency of a nation immediately after running down a state? The reason our politicians do not care about us is because they do not need our approval to win elections. If we want to be cared for, then we need to be involved with the choice of our leaders.

Dear reader, for the sake of our generation, and that of our children, you must change your perception, and take responsibility to change Nigeria. There is a wind on the horizon; it is called a wind of change. This wind is exploding from the will of the people. Get ready to jump in with everything you have, because no one can stop this wind; it is the emergence of “New Nigerians”

Chidi Jacob

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