Monday, 16 May 2016

Opinion: We Say We Want Change Yet…



By Mathias Orhero (literarymathy@gmail.com)

I do not know what to call this. Some may argue that I have written poetry below. To me, it is not poetry but an article written in verse form. I used parallelisms and repetitions to emphasise my message. I have tried to make it as simple as possible so that everyone can access the import of my message. This work is written against the background of recent happenings in Nigeria today. On May 29th 2015, the All Progressives Congress candidates were sworn in at different levels after winning the 2015 general elections in landslide victories.


 APC was able to boot out the incumbent PDP party across all levels due to the perceived dearth of society, corruption, insecurity and other endemic issues that plagued the Nigerian society. Nigerians were fed up! We knew there were problems but we did not know what to do about them. We made a choice between the devil and the blue sea and we chose our perceived blue sea.


President Buhari entered into power on the APC mantra of “CHANGE”! This mantra was accepted by every Nigerian who was fed up with the status quo. We did not know what to expect and or what we were doing. We only wanted Goodluck Jonathan to GO! This was the perception of the bulk of the masses. We turned the 2015 election into a tribal feud between the North/West and the South! In any case, APC’s Buhari won the historic election which has been dubbed Nigeria’s freest and fairest election so far.
Post-election reality was anticipated with much hope but to our chagrin, things were moving quite slow. Most of us were waiting for some sort of magic to happen. Magic that would instantaneously change Nigeria! We want corruption to be eliminated, we want corrupt officers to go on trial, we want good roads, we want electricity, and so much more. 

The government has been slow; too slow but the government cannot perform magic. Buhari hit the ground running by fighting the Boko Haram menace that has taken a lot of lives and properties in the North East. He started to prosecute corrupt officers, although he was tagged as being biased! He started to revolutionise Nigerian mind but has all these been successful and appraised? Buhari is working like any president who has the good of the country at heart. Jonathan would have done better if not for the corruption in his government. However, this is not a political affair as our youths make it seem.

We all want change! We want things to change but the irony is that the government is not up to 5% as corrupt as ourselves; the ordinary people. The government is not up to 5% destructive as the people. The government can only do its best but NOTHING WILL HAPPEN unless we CHANGE our MINDSET. In lieu of this, I have scribbled the following verses. Let us look at these verses without cloaking our minds with APC/PDP politics because they will come and go and Nigeria remains ours. Even if Nigeria disintegrates today, these problems will not miraculously vanish. They will still be there. So let us examine these verses and understand their import. This is the first step!!!

We say we want change yet we give bribes to universities to gain admission We say we want change yet we pay money and sleep with lecturers to get marks We say we want change yet we empty our waste bins by the roadside We say we want change yet we inflate the price of goods and services at every opportunity.

We say we want change yet we tell people to pay us money in other to help them
We say we want change yet we blow up pipelines and destroy our environment
We say we want change yet we take up arms and rob innocent civilians
We say we want change yet we pay money and sleep with people to get jobs and keep them
We say we want change yet we steal wires and other properties mean for electrification
We say we want change yet we look for ways to cheat network providers and browse for free
We say we want change yet we disobey orders and sell by the roadside
We say we want change yet we cannot stand in and maintain a simple queue
We say we want change yet if we find money or property not belonging to us, we steal it instead of returning it
We say we want change yet bribe immigration officers to import contraband goods
We say we want change yet we bribe police officers after committing crimes
We say we want change yet we won’t participate in politics and challenge the thieves
We say we want change yet we celebrate the looters of our collective wealth and burn those who steal things as trivial as fufu
We say we want change yet we cause noise pollution and play songs that disturb the peace without considering others
We say we want change yet churches spring up at every corner each day to deceive gullible people and cause noise commotion everywhere
We say we want change yet we organise, sponsor and partake in examination malpractice at all levels
We say we want change yet we celebrate the destroyers of the nation and the looters and call them “mentors”
We say we want change yet we tribalise everything and anything and make it an Igbo-Yoruba-Hausa affair
We say we want change yet we are nepotistic and consider only those from our ethnic extraction as humans
We say we want change yet we move around the country with cows, killing, raping and maiming innocent people
We say we want change yet we steal people’s cows and spite them
We say we want change yet we strap bombs to our bodies and kill people
We say we want change yet we we keep silent while militants and criminals are paid monthly from the national coffers
We say we want change yet those of us in the civil service have lackadaisical attitudes to work and sometimes, don’t even show up at all
We say we want change yet we insult our President and his Office
We say we want change yet we sell foreign currency as exorbitant rates
We say we want change yet we cannot exercise patience for change to come
We say we want change yet those of us given contracts to construct social
amenities, roads, etc, eat the money
We say we want change yet we bribe judges
We say we want change yet we attack the effort of the president at curbing corruption
We say we want change yet we are happy when our gallant soldiers are killed up north
We say we want change yet we are vengeful and think the failure of the President is a thing to be happy about. Only if we knew better…
We say we want change yet we kidnap children, wives and women for unspeakable things
We say we want change yet we say Aba made is fake. We’d rather buy from China
We say we want change yet we can’t even sweep our own surroundings and streets
We say we want change yet we task the government to settle us when roads, bridges, etc, are constructed
We say we want change yet we don’t know the name of our LGA chairman, councillors, HoA member, HoR member & Senator
We say we want change yet we build illegal refineries, destroy the ecosystem and say the government is incompetent
We say we want change yet we hunt and poach rare almost extinct animals and call them bushmeat
We say we want change yet we sing panegyrics to those persons against progress and change
We say we want change yet we are the first to scoop free fuel & diesel from a tanker that had an accident
We say we want change yet we hit innocent people with our cars and run away.
 We say we want change yet we snap accident victims and put them on video instead of helping them
We say we want change yet we spread rumours, propaganda and outright lies
We say we want change yet we chase companies away from the country by our actions
We say we want change yet we cannot query our local chiefs that eat community money
We say we want change yet we cannot even come together with one voice without calamity befalling us
We say we want change yet we are self-centred, deluded and greedy
We say we want change yet we are the first to run away from the country rather than be patriotic
We say we want change yet we harass women, rape them, victimise them and assault them
We say we want change yet we can’t even air our intentions without partisanship and personal/ethnic colouration
We say we want change yet our only language is violence
We say we want change yet our neighbours are suffering in penury without succour. What have we done to ameliorate their plight?
We say we want change yet we hoard fuel and create artificial scarcity
We say we want change yet we engage in activities that negatively affect the economy and make the poor, poorer
We say we want change yet we do not think that the things we do only come back to haunt us and not the people we try to spite
We say we want change yet we enter the internet, even on ground, and dupe people of their hard-earned money without conscience
We say we want change yet we cannot even wash our own public toilets
We say we want change and we steal properties meant for our collective use
We say we want change and we can’t even maintain the little infrastructure
we have left
We say we want change and we can’t think of business ideas to develop the
economy. We’d rather attack the president in power
We say we want change yet we call the president clueless
We say we want change yet we know we cannot rule the country better and
even lack any progressive idea whatsoever
We say we want change yet we are filled with hate
We say we want change yet we cannot practise the virtues of our religions
We say we want change yet we insult the president whenever he travels
abroad for our own good
We say we want change yet we are pessimistic about the nation
We say we want change yet we want to create our own country. Do we really
think problems vanish overnight? Or are the new leaders saints?
We say we want change yet we embrace Westernisation over our own African roots! How silly this is
We say we want change yet we cannot change our ways! How ironic change is!
We say we want change yet some will read this and move on with their evil
ways. Some may even attack me and call me a zombie!
We say we want change yet we are blind to the change going on without our intervention
We say we want change yet we drink and drive
We say we want change yet we break traffic rules
We say we want change yet we drug girls and molest them
We say we want change yet we are pretentious about ourselves
We say we want change yet we cannot maintain our environment
We say we want change yet we use the guise of protest to loot and cause
wanton destruction of other people’s businesses and shops
We say we want change yet student union governments steal money from accounts
We say we want change yet bank managers steal money and some go scot free
We say we want change yet WE KNOW WHAT TO DO TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT AND
EFFECT THE CHANGE WE NEED!
We say we want change yet…
This list is endless, virtually all our us and every part of life is concerned in this change affair. The government, whether APC or PDP; GEJ or PMB, can only do so much but without our collective cooperation, government effort will be futile and things shall remain the same.
Nigeria’s situation is like the quip of “soldier go, soldier come but barrack remain”. Presidents and parties will go and come but our problems will remain with us. Look at GEJ today whom we called clueless and corrupt, he is enjoying his retirement and has peace of mind! Fuel crises
won’t affect him, nothing he may be laid the foundation for will affect him. So also with PMB!
 When he leaves, he’ll enjoy his life! We’ll be the ones to live with the consequences of our actions. This is not a political issue! I am trying to conscientise us about the effects of our actions! We alone shall face environmental degradation, loss of lives, properties, mass havoc, unrest, etc. When the civil war was fought in Nigeria, Ojukwu and Gowon were in hallowed enclaves and it was innocent people that fought the war. Let us learn from that. Let us CHANGE NIGERIA one day at a time.
CHANGE is a state of the mind. Let us be patriotic and learn from Americans on what it means to be proud of one’s nation.
Mathias Orhero is a postgraduate student who writes from Warri, Nigeria.

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