I was watching the movie ‘Black November’ again today and I couldn’t help but shed tears.
I shed tears for the nation Nigeria;
I shed tears for my people;
I shed tears for the continuous cycle of grief we find ourselves in;
I shed tears for our leaders who don’t mind trading us in just to line their pockets with money that can never last forever;
What happened to virtue, truth, love, service?
Going through Nigerian history, we seem to always go through the same things, the same endless issues, the same hurt, anger, abuse. The same disservice.
Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed in ’95 and till date the issues he died for; the war he fought, is not even close to being won.
The truth he upheld has been mingled with our greed, twists and mindless selfishness. We’ve twisted the truth, turned it to suit ourselves. We’ve shut our eyes to the truth and convinced ourselves we are doing the right thing.
Watching this movie again brought to mind a book I read last year, ‘How to be a Nigerian’ by Peter Enahoro. For those who don’t know, this book was first published in 1966. The book is mostly a humorous writing of the characteristics of the typical Nigerian and it remains as relevant as ever. What breaks my heart however, is the fact that the ‘issues’ are also still relevant.
We are still a people ruled by greed, this desire to be greater than everyone else, the desire to be served and ‘worshiped’.
Why else would the government fix a bad road and make so much noise about it? What’s your job? Do you need to be reminded why you spent months campaigning, spending millions of Naira that could very well have eased the plight of the ordinary people?
How many of our leaders realise that a vast majority of Nigerians can’t afford ₦500 to feed a day (And yes, I’m talking about families)? How many of them think of the number of children going to bed hungry every night because their parents can’t afford food. While they cart away millions of $ do they think of the children who have to run through traffic to sell stuff in order to eat? Do they think of that while they fly private jets and relax in their comfortable homes? Do they think about the thousands of young children or pregnant women who die as a result of the useless and defunct health system we have? People with illnesses that would be termed ‘mild’ elsewhere die every day in Nigeria. We are constantly affected by lack of power, lack of security. No emergency security service, no emergency health service.
Why do we have a government??????
How long will the same issues keep coming up? When will these ‘old goons’ leave us alone? When will they leave office? Leave completely! And I mean leave with all their mini goons-in-the-making.
It’s disheartening that years later we still face the same issues; the problems and there doesn’t seem to be a respite in sight.
My position has been and still remains simple – a revolution. We need a complete revolution of mind set and believes. As Nigerians, we need to understand and accept that we deserve better and we CAN have better. This is not the best. We can work for better. We can FIGHT for better. We can PRAY for better. We need to understand how insignificant ethnicity and tribe is when we’re being cheated, used and traded in exchange for money! They steal from us and then give us a pinch of the money in form of a school, hospital or road project and we applaud. Why would one handicapped person be given a scholarship, her family’s rent paid, food for a year supplied and the government is cheered. What about the thousands of handicapped people everywhere?
Why do we allow ourselves be deceived and every time we lift up our voices to speak, we are placated with a few words and a measly sum in the form of a project that would probably never be sustained?
I’ll end with Ebiere’s speech from a scene from the movie Black November. Believe it or not, it is very relevant to us, each and every one of us. We’ve been walked on, abused and used…
“…enriching yourselves from the spoils of our land… wiping out families and generations… what they do is give us sickness and then treat us, they make us hungry and then feed us. They kill our loved ones and then offer us money for burials. It is high time you start to think more of the people rather than your selfish fat pockets. If you do not change your ways, the people will rise.”
©Oreoluwa Matemilola 2017
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