I must apologise for writing on this cliché in Nigeria called change but it’s too ubiquitous too ignore; it’s on the radio, we see it in the newspaper and when PHCN eventfully supply our sockets with electricity, we dust our TV sets and turn them on and still hear change being talked about. It’s unavoidable. It’s like World Cup matches. And nobody has really attempted to explain it to Nigerians, so I thought I will be the messenger and convey its meaning as peculiar to our nation (Nigeria). But remember don’t shoot the messenger.
This will not start with an Oxford definition of change, or Webster or Macmillan or what Wikipedia has to say about it. It will present change in its most relatable and practicable form.
Picture a change from an ‘I pass my neighbour generator to a mikano generator’. A change that shows progress. A change from rags to riches like the bread seller turn model -Olajumoke ; change from riding Okadas to one door starlet ; from drinking pure water from a cooler to nestle water arranged in rows in a fridge; from a China phone to one of the top brands; from selling recharge card to supplying recharge cards(alhaji dan cardi). A change from star times to DSTV; from a cube of meat to fresh fish in a pot of soup. An era of change from umbrellas to brooms. Yes, yes ,yes ! A change with a positive theme. A change that when it hits you it leaves you feeling better like an inspirational music. This was the change on the minds of millions of Nigerians when they casted their votes March last year (2015) – it was a historical moment with the brooms sweeping away the umbrella- pun intended
365 days into the year of the broom, and everybody is acting like victims of the famous yahoo boys. Nigerians feel they were deceived and given utopian promises that is unreflective of the dystopian reality they live in.
So if you love strolling, walking past newspaper vendors you hear comments like “this was not the change we voted for” or a cynical critic may lament to another (whose is probably giving justifications on behalf the Government in power ) in typical Nigerian-speak “Shebi na the change you vote for? You never see anything ! Or on Twitter, hashtags like #fromchangetochains trended to an overwhelming propensity.
This gave armour to the PDP supporters. And their I told you so arguments became rampant. And to make matters worse, life and property couldn’t be guaranteed ,the fuel queue became persistent; electricity supply did not improve in spite of the increase in tariff, revenues dwindled; salaries couldn’t be paid (and still can’t paid) in most states. And the opposers of the APC became somewhat like soothsayers or fortune tellers rubbing crystal balls with whirl winds swirling broken brooms in them.
But this doesn’t really explain change, does it?
To understand change, the past cannot be ignored. Because changes necessitates an improved condition or otherwise from a state of fact(s). In other words change is a deviation or alleviation from a point of reference. The past now becomes relevant as the yard stick to accept or denounce the condition in lieu of the change about to take place, or to justify or criticise the processes involved or to determine what kind of change has taken place.
Obviously a little flash back is needed here.
1999- 2015, the PDP held this country to ransom. One wonders if we were still in our multi party recognised polity Nigeria. The scenery was like God stamped PDP on our ballot boxes before they were even produced. This is not to say there were not improvements within that time; telecommunications amongst other boomed from this era.
But this era immediately after the military rule is supposedly the foundation for our democracy? If affirmative, then it’s a foundation on wobbly legs, a foundation were corruption became bureaucratic and institutionalised; a foundation were privatisation was used to deplete the common assets of the people and enrich a selected few; a foundation with bloated contracts, and unmerited appointments; a foundation where nepotism and Godfatherism stretched and became as apparent as the blue sky; a foundation where the common wealth funded political activities and self overthrew public interest on occasions upon end, a foundation where social contract was abused at its tender stage of implementation. If indeed it is a foundation then it is the foundation of the ugly, repulsive head of misrule.
The theme of this article might sound overly “Buharified”, but that’s not the template. The truth is this country needed change and whether it came in the form of a broom or umbrella or even a four leaf clover we would have accepted it. We were set on course heading for destruction like titanic , and we needed a captain to steer us away from such a cold annihilation.
Changing to the desired direction and arriving at the desired direction are two different but correlative things. Nigerians might not really like the condition they are in now, some might even prefer going back to days before this change campaign started. But like the Israelites on their journey to the promise-land, they complained bitterly in the wilderness.May be we are in the wilderness heading for the promise-land. And just like Abraham, may be President Buhari might not be the person to take us there. But what is important is that we have been set on the course.
So no matter the analogy, simile, metaphor or figure of sheep, sorry speech used to define change (for the better of course!). When it is all said and done, only you can define it as it fits your respective lives. And if it is incongruous with your own definition; your own personal dictionary in your heart , you wait for the tenure to end and cast your vote on the platform you feel appeals to your heart; that’s your right.
But it maybe too soon to judge this regime harshly. Yes they were off to a slow start; it took centuries to appoint ministers,and other poor choices made thereof, but in politics there’s a popular saying: the end shall justify the means.
Disclaimer: Opinions by authors are the views of the writer and not those of Eureka Magazine.