Friday, September 17, 2010

First Impression: “Excuse me brother, your rejection in showing”

What has not changed in Nigeria since my return home? The nonchalant attitude of some Nigerians towards things, the way they are and loosing faith on reformation.

The young man that drove me home from the Airport didn’t hide his disdain for the condition in Nigeria. He didn’t hide his helplessness or lack of interest to do anything to change it either. He said he was not interested in voting in the upcoming election. And added that he does not think he will ever vote. He does not trust the Nigerian politicians. What is making him so bitter?

Last election, he watched politicians brainwash his neighbors and other voters with a plate of rice, bottle of drink and N500. That was the entire manifesto for change they offered and his neighbors aggressively accepted it, wiped their mouth and cast their vote into a leaking box.

How will such leaders not take us for a ride after they get into office? He asked too many questions, but I had no answer to offer because I think it bizarre that we should all still feel detached and powerless to do anything but nag about everything In Nigeria.

The young Taxi driver made up his mind- not to vote in the next election because none of the politicians catch his eyes or his heart. My advice? If you do not like the leading parties contesting in the election, vote against them. But whatever you do, just cast that vote.

Like the young Taxi driver, there are other Nigerians overwhelmed with the same level of nonchalant attitude. Some have settled to sitting on their hands and watching things happen. Ignoring how possible it is for their action or inaction to changed things- doubting their ability to be and re-orientate others on the change we would like to see in the world.

What other impression have I experienced since my return home? Change is sometimes very slow…Electricity is still epileptic. That is a normal thing, the driver said. The potholes in the drive from Ikeja to my house are still as I left them. Has the government leaders been sleeping or the roads are beyond their repair? The driver travels on the route every time, and like many others he just shrugs his shoulders and drive through.

Nothing will change in Nigeria, unless ordinary boys, girls, men and women rise up to tackle the different challenges of our time. Not by nagging but by the simple art of taking practical actions to provide solutions, by helping one another and by daring to do things in extra-ordinary ways. Waiting for the government leaders in Nigeria, is useless.

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