Where is Your Anger?
I’d say happy Democracy day, but I wouldn’t mean it.
I really don’t want you to be happy; I want you to be angry. Burning with the kind of indignation that would make you look at what this day means with a critical eye and see the farce for what it is.
We can harp on about the historical underpinnings of this ‘public holiday’ all we like. But the fact remains that Nigeria’s democracy has so far brought us NO VISIBLE DIVIDENDS. So why are we celebrating?
Are we celebrating the fact that the dream of October 1st 1960 has become a fantasy; seemingly as real to us as a Disney story?
Are we celebrating the poor elections and the repeat drama of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea?
Are we celebrating the albatross we call a lawmaking apparatus, the various ‘houses’ that gulp an unadmittable volume of our national budget while uninformed individuals debate on how best to keep us in the dark ages?
What are we celebrating?
This is it guys: our last chance. Our chance to ensure that the quicksand of ineptitude that has so far characterized our so-called democracy does not swallow us all till there is no hope of return.
Nigeria is not a failed state. Yet.
It is, however, a lumbering mammoth losing touch with the 21st century realities we need to survive in today’s world.
Here are some harsh truths if you have the stomach for them.
Nobody cares what happened in 1914. (Big gasp). What matters is now. We can either cry some more about the amalgamation of over a hundred years ago or we can find a way to harness that diversity into some sort of growth and development.
Nigeria is ridiculously blessed! We suffer few devastating natural disasters. Even the floods we have would lose their sting if we are even a little bit proactive. We have a large enough stockpile of natural resources that we can plan almost our entire budget on revenue that is only marginally tax based.
And yet we are here.
Third world. Developing country. Poverty riddled. Corrupt.
Dear Nigerian millennial, if you weren’t angry before, you better be now. This isn’t just about to become our mess, it already is. Otherwise we are doomed to continue listening to our friends and family, dream of running away to Canada because that is now our definition of hope. If there was a Nigerian dream, it no longer seems to be about seeing this nation find its footing. The Nigerian dream of today features a green passport, a ticket and a plane ride to just about anywhere else.
And today on Democracy day, that should make you very, very angry.
It should make you angry enough to look at yourself and identify all the spots where you have already been stained with the milk and honey of dishonesty and corruption flowing through this nation. It should make you angry enough to yank off that vestment and then begin to sanitize your surroundings.
It is of no use if your anger is only directed outwards. We are all complicit. We have all turned our faces away when the shady deals were happening beside us. And then pocketed our share while insisting that it is nothing compared to how the politicians screw us over everyday. But while we keep pointing fingers towards Abuja, our own little neck of the woods is burning down as well.
It’s time not just to sit at home and watch a movie. It’s time to look at our democracy and what it has wrought and it’s time to get angry. Then, buoyed by the heat of that righteous indignation, it is time to react. To fight back against weak and divisive institutions; to demand accountability from our public institutions, to insist on promises that are actually fulfilled.
So, are you angry yet?
Fellow Nigerian Millennial