…are the only things that can stop conspirators from stealing victory from the people – again. Some words below on the upcoming elections in Nigeria:
By January 08, 2011, there will be approximately 35 million Nigerians between the ages of 18-35. We will embody the hopes of another generation, a generation neither touched by the civil war nor old enough to have enjoyed the brief period of prosperity that followed the oil boom.
We will represent a generation that cannot remember any cross country journey we undertook without encountering craters in the middle of the road. A generation that inherited broken down schools, discouraged teachers and a confused education system. A generation, forced to compete in a world they were not adequately prepared for.
We, 35 million of us, are an advance guard for a generation of Nigerians who grew up drinking from boreholes, streams and ponds, who lit their way at night, and in the early mornings with lanterns, candles or torches. To whom luxury meant to sleep in your own bed with the, ironically, comforting noise of a personal generator providing the assurance that your home appliances will be useful, for a little longer.
Our generation has been unfortunate to emerge in a time when the HIV/AIDS pandemic is at its peak. Gripping fatally at the lives of our contemporaries, cutting them down at their prime. To make matters worse, we have the added misfortune of being born in a place where the healthcare and social welfare systems either do not exist or are incapable of protecting us from the fate imposed by this or any other ill of its nature.
We remember the police for bribery, politicians for corruption and the public utilities for ineptitude. We will insist that we have survived so far in spite of, not because of, the contributions of these people or institutions.
For our generation, a great Nigeria is a dream or a collection of stories and doctrines handed down by our fathers, read in textbooks or chorused out in the National Anthem. It has never been our experience. We have experienced no greatness from which we can weave stories to inspire our children or grandchildren. Our memories will be of malnourishment in boarding schools; violence debauchery and strikes in University; robbery, rape and death at home and in our neighborhoods.
We have never voted in an election considered to be free, fair or credible. We have never controlled our fate.
But we can rewrite our own story.
We can respond to our challenges together, like the great Nigerians we so desperately want to be. We can shake off complacency and embrace collective action. We can become the heroes of the great stories we will tell our children.
We are doctors, lawyers, engineers, planners, musicians, actors, models, handymen, builders, cleaners and students. We are the minds that will imagine a new dawn. We are the hands that will make it happen. 35 million of us. We can tell a better story than our fathers told. Our children can inherit a greater Nigeria than we were born into.
Yes we can!
And we must!
For none of our individual brilliance, or industry will amount to anything if the collective wellbeing continues to be at peril. For even if we attain our individual dreams, our marble palaces will be surrounded by slum, and stagnant gutters. Our walls and shadows will be hounded by robbers, and hoodlums who – having been denied existence by society – will seek to prey on our success. For survival is a basic natural instinct, and when it is not guaranteed, it expresses itself in vice.
Our standing in the world will continue to plummet. We will continue to be treated as lepers – the butt of cheap jokes and scathing satire. And we will not have a better story to tell, to balance any of these.
Unless we say Enough is Enough!
So come October, 2010, just as our nation celebrates 50 year of little or nothing after independence, we will come together as the most numerous political force in its history. We will take the opportunity of this unique anniversary to start a quiet revolution that will spin this country on its head.
We will find the nearest INEC registration center, gather our friends, colleagues and family and go Register. Then we will spend the next few weeks (after registration) scrutinizing the field to Select credible candidates who speak to our issues. During the elections in January, we will come out (with our friends, colleagues and family) – in the rain, sun or sandstorm – and Vote for those whom we have selected. Beyond casting our votes, we will stand firm and together to Protect our vote. Ensuring that it counts for whom we have cast it for.
This RSVP will be the start of our quiet revolution.
For when we have shown our numbers at the polls, we can now collectively demand that our issues be addressed. We would have shown that our generation cannot be ignored. We would have started a journey to take back Nigeria from the mischievous minority that has held her hostage.
And if we succeed, we would be the ones who our children will be singing about in the 5th line of the national anthem: “…the labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain”.
So if you agree with me that “yes we can”, you must forward/share this message to 100 more people within the next 24 hrs. (LOL)
If you are interested in leading the RSVP effort in your neighborhood or vicinity, you can register here:
http://www.enoughisenoughnigeria.com/register/ (Even if you don’t live in Nigeria, you can donate, or you can help motivate – by phone, email or text – those you know at home to RSVP)
If you want to find out where your INEC registration center might be, check here:
http://www.inecnigeria.org/election/find_polling_station.php (polling stations are used for registration too)
Start expressing your opinion by partaking in this poll: “What attributes would determine your choice of a President?”
To learn more about the campaign focused on one of the major issues going into the 2011 elections (electricity) visit:
The price seemed reasonable, location Indifferent.
The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey–I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully.
“HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK?” Button B, Button A.* Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis–
“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?” Revelation came.
“You mean–like plain or milk chocolate?”
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted,
I chose. “West African sepia”–and as afterthought,
“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT’S THAT?” conceding
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.” “Like brunette.”
“THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether.
Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused–
Foolishly, madam–by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black–One moment, madam!”–sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears–”Madam,” I pleaded, “wouldn’t you rather
See for yourself?”
We must do what we can do, and fortify and save each other—we are not drowning in an apathetic self-contempt, we do feel ourselves sufficiently worthwhile to contend even with the inexorable forces in order to change our fate and the fate of our children and the condition of the world! We know that a man is not a thing and is not to be placed at the mercy of things. We know that air and water belong to all mankind and not merely to industrialists. We know that a baby does not come into the world merely to be the instrument of someone else’s profit. We know that a democracy does not mean the coercion of all into a deadly—and, finally, wicked— mediocrity but the liberty for all to aspire to the best that is in him, or that has ever been. ~ James Baldwin